Where’s the Line Between Fandom and Studio Rights?

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The long arm of Warner Bros. law strikes again. For many years now, the studio has been known for being quite strict with their projects. I'm not sure if any property felt that quite so much as the television world of Buffy; numerous fan sites were shut down during the run of the show, and post-finale, the uber popular Musical events were nixed. Now it's happening to fans of our favorite young, big-screen wizards.

The BBC reports that a woman planning a couple Harry Potter supper club nights for Halloween has been told to stop infringing on the studio's rights. Ms. Marmite Lover runs a small restaurant of sorts out of her home -- selling tickets and then making food for her guests, sometimes themed. For Halloween, she chose to make a Harry Potter-themed meal with a Diagon Alley entrance with password, a sorting hat, and food that includes butterbear and Fizzpop chocolate frogs. As part of their letter, Warner Bros. says: "We would therefore ask that you refrain from holding and/or offering for sale any tickets to the Harry Potter Nights and confirm to me by return email that the Harry Potter Nights will not go ahead as planned. Warner does not, of course, object to you holding a generic wizard/Halloween night at the Underground Restaurant."

She's since changed the name of the event, which is going on as planned, although I imagine Warner Bros. was probably expecting a little less Pottermania through the whole event (the Alley, hat, etc.). But how far should studios stretch their rights in cases like this?

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