Harry Potter Online Spoilers – The Race is On!!! Danger!!

Posted on Jul 18, 2007 in Celebrity Justice, National Issues

hpdhcover.jpgSeveral BitTorrent sites claim to have  Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows online.  Some are offering juicy tidbits; others, the entire book (like PirateBay).

Someone has taken the time to take photos of each and every page, posting images of the text online – along with a part of his hand …. Someone else has taken the time to read the images, and then type them out, in a version also available at PirateBay.   There’s a veritable smorgesborg of Deathly Hallows at PirateBay today.

Spoilers can be found at Zendrul (synopsis) and Insecure while SpoilerBoy’s site has been taken down.   Add to this that the spoilers don’t agree – what happened to Ron, for example, differs from site to site.  Some of this stuff is fake.

Meanwhile, all of this is copyright infringement — read that, theft.  At Pirate Bay, people are encouraged to download the document rather than buy it.  That’s theft.

Potter fans are responding by discounting the downloads as fakes or fanfiction (Insecure’s spoilers have been shown to be un-Rowling); encouraging folk to buy the book even if they do download; and finally, reporting the sites to various authorities.

Scholastic, Inc. (US publisher) is zipping along, sending out tons of take-down notices.  And, getting subpoenas: Monday, Scholastic got a subpoena to force a California social-networking site to reveal the identity of someone who’s been posting some of these images … even though Scholastic isn’t saying that the posted images are accurate.

Today, Rowling’s attorney issued a statement that some of the online stuff is fake, but admits that some of it is real.

The problem for authorities?  For sites like PirateBay, it’s their location.  US and UK copyright laws do not protect the book from Pirate Bay, because it’s a Swedish venture.  Authorities in Sweden have to do that – just like they did in 2004.

There’s also the number of sites to deal with — until the real book is available in a few days, this stuff is going to keep popping up, and they’re dealing with a Caddyshack approach to this gopher.

But, there’s a problem for readers, too.  If you download this stuff, you’re stealing from JK Rowling.  Remember that.  And, if you’re writing fanfic versions, that’s still stealing from JK Rowling unless she okays otherwise.

Sounds like Scholastic and Rowling’s set of attorneys are serious here.   Wait for the real thing, go to the library or borrow a copy if you don’t have the cash.

Because, if the authorities really want to stop this stuff, and they don’t have jurisdiction over Swedish Pirate Bay, they’ll look to those that they do have the ability to sue:  those who’ve downloaded in the US and the UK.

Think there’s safety in numbers?  Think again.  Remember Napster.  �

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