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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 March, 2003, 13:22 GMT
Grotter author defends 'satire'
JK Rowling
Rowling's lawyers want to stop Yemets' work being printed
A Russian writer being sued for plagiarism by Harry Potter author JK Rowling has denied the charge.

Rowling asked a Dutch court to block the sale of Dmitry Yemets' The Magic Double Bass, saying it copies her work.

Her lawyers said the book, featuring a young sorceress called Tanya Grotter, steals from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

But Yemets, 29, told journalists at the launch of his fourth book: "I greatly respect Jan Rowling, but I am not violating her author's rights."

It seems that the publishers of Harry Potter are afraid of Tanya Grotter
Dmitry Yemets

The case, against Dutch distributor Byblos, is being heard in a court in Amsterdam.

Rowling's lawyers want to block 7,000 copies being published next month in the first proposed Western print run of the fourth book in Yemets' series.

Warner Bros, which owns rights to the Potter film, merchandising, trademarks and copyrights, is also involved in the lawsuit.

It alleges "unscrupulous writing and plagiarism".

Yemets' Tanya Grotter
The book is a parody of Potter, says Yemets
"This will set a precedent to dissuade people from dishonest competition," said Natalia Dolgova, of Rosmen publishers, copyright holders of the Russian edition of Potter.

Yemets and his Russian publishers, Eksmo, say that the Grotter tales are merely a parody of Harry Potter.

"Like with all parodies, there are common elements, but this is a literary satire," said Yemets.

He added: "It seems that the publishers of Harry Potter are afraid of Tanya Grotter.

"In Russia, my books are becoming as popular as Harry Potter, and they fear this will be repeated in Europe."

Eksmo has sold 500,000 copies of the Grotter books, and Yemets plans to publish eight in the series by the middle of next year.

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