Nimrod, Bluster and ... Blair?

Publisher’s Weekly, whose managing editor bought my now-infamous copy of the new Harry Potter book, contacted the Christopher Little Literary Agency regarding their laughable demand that eBay pull an auction that had long since been completed:

While the item Collier posted on eBay was a genuine, legally obtained copy of the book, the agency defended its actions in an e-mail sent to PW. “The publication date for our client’s work Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is 21 July 2007 and we have not authorised any prior release or sale. Any such release and/or sale of said work would be an infringement of our client’s rights,” wrote Neil Blair, an attorney for the agency. “Without our client’s consent or approval Mr. Collier included a copy of our client’s work on his EBay advertisement and this amounts to an unlawful copying thereby entitling us to send the VERO take down notice which we in fact did.”

Blair goes on to say that it, “is not clear to us that this book was obtained through lawful means.” But Scholastic has accused DeepDiscount of the very snafu by which Collier said he unexpectedly got his copy early.

If Mr. Blair likes, I’d be happy to provide him with a fax of (a) my original order with DeepDiscount, (b) the email notice I received from DeepDiscount last week informing me that the book had been shipped, and (c) the packing receipt that came with the book. I’m sure Robin Lenz at Publisher’s Weekly would also be glad to produce the original shipping box, which was return-addressed to “DD,” or DeepDiscount.

I’ve sent the following for-quotation statement to Publisher’s Weekly regarding Blair’s statement:

“Mr. Blair’s argument, if you can dignify it with that term, is risible on its face, and I would refer him to the very basic legal principle of First Sale Doctrine. Having completed a sale though entirely legal means–I am not a party to any contracts between Christopher Little, Scholastic, DeepDiscount or any other distributor–I was the legal owner of the book, and had every right to do with it as I saw fit. I have no more violated J.K. Rowling’s copyright than I’ve flown around downtown Atlanta on a broomstick, and Mr. Blair knows it. I would advise him to limit his threats to people who are actually afraid of legal bullies.”

I don’t take kindly to bullying, Mr. Blair, or to slanderous accusations. I suggest that you apologize posthaste for accusing me of theft.