Warner Brothers appears to have extended the olive branch to the operators of all Harry Potter fan sites, following its decision to withdraw from legal action against 15-year-old Claire says it regrets "any misunderstandings resulting from Warner Bros.' recent actions".
In recent months, fan sites which incorporated the name Harry Potter into their URL have received a standard legal letter insisting they hand over their domain names to the corporation.
Warner Brothers, the owner of film and merchandising rights to the Harry Potter books, at first claimed the sites were infringing its trademark but has subsequently recognised that the sites do not infringe its own rules on trademarks and has rescinded the legal threats.
The Claire Field case, and a number of others, have received significant press attention in the run-up to the Harry Potter film - to which Warner Brothers has the rights.
The news that legal action will be stopped has been received from a large number of those sites - and the letters have been greeted with enthusiasm by Webmasters who contacted us. (But we have been unable so far to get official confirmation from Warner Brothers that all sites have received such notice.)
Warner Brothers has set up a Harry Potter team for dealing with all queries and inquiries dealing with the Harry Potter film and related-matters. The multi-billion corporation has also set up a Harry Potter Web ring, inviting fan sites to join.
Individuals writing to Warner Brothers over the saga have been receiving the same letter. It reads: ®
"Thank you for your message regarding Harry Potter fan sites. We appreciate your concerns about the many wonderful sites run by Harry Potter fans, and we regret any misunderstandings resulting from Warner Bros.' recent actions.
"We want to assure you that at no time has Warner Bros. proposed or threatened to take over or shut down any fan sites. Also, no legal action to take over or shut down sites has been or will be taken against webmasters who are determined to be enthusiastic fans who simply want to pay homage to Harry Potter. To protect supporters of Harry Potter, though, Warner Bros. has pursued and will continue to pursue sites that contain inappropriate content (such as obscene pictures) or are mostly commercial in nature, but only after a careful review of the site.
We are committed to producing a quality entertainment experience for all fans of Harry Potter. As part of this commitment, we have recently started building the "Official Harry Potter Webmaster Community". Webmasters who join will receive early news about the upcoming Harry Potter movie, as well as special graphics and content that can be posted to their fan sites. Also, HarryPotter.com will feature fan sites from the Official Harry Potter Webmaster Community on a regular basis. If you or someone you know might be interested in this program, please visit: http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/webring/webmasterprog.html.
Thanks again for your feedback and if we can be of any further assistance, please let us know.
The Harry Potter Team" ®