‘Harry Potter 6 e-book already being pirated!’
July 16, 2005 | 12:27 pm
Just a few days ago, I suggested that J.K. Rowling could make more money if she authorized legal e-books rather than create a vast market for pirates. Guess what. As reported by Colin in MobileRead, the inevitable is happening with Rowling’s latest novel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:
“Bookstores across the globe simultaneously flung open their doors at GMT 2301 on Friday night to allow Harry Potter fans all over the world to snatch up the latest volume of the boy-wizard’s adventures. Some of them didn’t start reading the paper book right away; instead, they went to the next scanning device and started running their OCR software on little Potter.
“In a joint-effort the pirates are now meeting in dedicated IRC channels with imaginative names such as #pottermania or #potterwork to spread the work of scanning and proofreading. As of right now, at least chapters 1-6, 8 and 12-13 have been scanned and proofread, and are already available for download on multiple (mostly Russia-based) web-server (txt and html). My guess is that it will take at most another 24 hours for the entire e-book to leak to the Net.”
The pirates finished the job in half a day or so. Now people are turning to both the MobileRead folks and the TeleBlog for URLs to the illegal editions. Sorry, both Colin and I are against piracy, so we won’t post any addresses. Fighting piracy is one way in which well-stocked national digital library systems could help–by reducing the incentive.
Not in this case but in others, shorter copyright terms would also be good. Why doesn’t John Edwards, the great “populist” who sat on the copyright-related judiciary committee, care about repealing the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act so literacy is less associated with criminality?
Both Rowling and Prof. Edwards, son of a textile worker, might pay a lot less attention to greedy copyright lawyers and a lot more to writer Mike Cane: “Someone shove JK into the twenty-first century…you’d think someone who started out as poor as she did, handwriting the first on paper in a pub, would see the light… someone must have put a spell on her!” The heavy demand for pirated books without DRM shows that reasonably priced e-books have a future internationally. India alone has a middle-class of several hundred million and is increasingly net.savvy. In this Internet era, what if Rowling could reach the Indian markets right away–amid the excitement of the first days of publication?
Update, July 17: This, of course, is not the first pirating of Harry Potter. Here’s an item about an earlier edition going on the Net.
Update, July 19, 5:30: For the curious, the text files I found were in ASCII, Word and PDF.
(MobileRead via Mike Cane.)