Movie studios are big on protecting their intellectual property, which is certainly understandable -- but sometimes they come down too hard. Take this new case. Warner Bros. is suing to stop the Indian release of a domestic film called Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors. Why? Because Hari Puttar is close to Harry Potter, obviously, and Warners damn well owns the film rights to Harry Potter.

Sounds fair enough -- except that the movie has nothing to do with Harry Potter, and doesn't even appear to be an attempt to capitalize on the Potter brand name. As best I can determine, "Hari Puttar" is the endearing nickname of a 10 year-old character named Hari Prasad Dhoonda. The movie itself appears to be an action-adventure fantasy, about a resourceful kid who saves his dad's top secret computer chip from some burglars -- sort of like a modern, Indian Home Alone. The title references Harry Potter, but there's no theft here; the closest parallel is Son of Rambow, which managed to avoid a lawsuit (reportedly by adding the "w" to the end of "Rambo").

Warners, of course, has to fight this battle in Indian courts, so it's hard to predict what's going to happen. But Harry Potter is such a prominent part of the zeitgeist all over the world, that the company may have a lot of battles on its hands if it chooses to go after every incident such as this.
categories Movies, Cinematical