With the worldwide release of the seventh and last Harry Potter book on Saturday, the fear of the boy wizard dying is matched by another dread: will the streets get their hands on the book before the fans do?
As security tightens, pirates and spoilers — those who give the plot away on the Internet — worldwide are trying their best to get their hands on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows before July 21. On Tuesday, digital images of what was purportedly the entire text of the book were on the web, as were links (http://www.zendurl.com/h/hallows, http://spoilerboy.googlepages.com/home) revealing the story.
But can India — where piracy is rampant — ensure that the Potter book reaches book lovers and fans safely?
“It is almost impossible to completely do away with piracy,” says Thomas Abraham, president, Penguin Books India, the distributors of the Harry Potter series in the country.
“However, we are trying our best to ensure that pirates do not reproduce the book till at least one week has passed after the official worldwide release,” he adds.
Bloomsbury, the publishers of the book, has ensured a stringent anti-piracy drive. And piracy in India, and in China, is being looked into with extra concern. Copyright infringement can lead to a jail term of up to three years and a fine of Rs 200,000, and allows a sub-inspector to conduct a raid without a warrant.
A legal team has been commissioned by Penguin India, ACA-Law, which is working with IP-Boutique, an IP investigation team, to ensure that this time no one is let off easily.
Head of ACA-Law, Akash Chittranshi, says that Bloomsbury has already sent a notification to police commissioners across the country — especially to cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore — about the anti-piracy law. “Barely 72 hours after Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released (in 2005), we recovered 8,600 pirated copies from Delhi alone,” he says. “This time, Harry Potter has become even more popular, and since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the last book, they (the pirates) will also be putting their best foot forward. Our team is already at work and we are trying to ensure that pirated copies don’t surface.”