Chinese students have cast their magic on Harry Potter by translating the latest instalment just moments after release of the English version.
The official Chinese version of the book will hit bookstores late in October, but eager fans can already download dozens of translations of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The first full-length translated version is believed to have appeared on the Internet on July 21, the day when the book released worldwide, reports China Daily.
Reports say that teenagers on their summer holidays started translating the minute the English copies hit the bookstores. <b1>
According to messages left by these teens on the internet, they worked in teams continuously, eating nothing but instant noodles.
The most famous teams include the Hogwarts Institute of Translation and the International Wizard Alliance.
To dissuade charges of copyright infringement, the students put in the following notice in their translations: “We translated the book because we love Harry, and we do not intend to use it for commercial purposes."
However, the Chinese People's Publishing House, authorized to publish official Chinese versions of all the seven books, reportedly said that it may "take legal measures" to handle illegal translations.
Pirated book versions based on online translations can be found in some places for 10 yuan or less a copy.
But Frank Zhang, a lawyer at the Beijing office of the New York-based firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene and MacRae, said the Chinese boys and girls who translated the book and put on the translations online were not disobeying any copyright law if they didn't do it for commercial purposes.
Zhang added that it is the websites that will bear legal responsibility if they make revenues by using the translations.