Harry Potter and the Chinese Pirates

Posted on August 9, 2007

The ink was barely dry on the print runs of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when the Chinese began cranking out unauthorized, incredibly bizarre stories which illegally use J.K. Rowling's beloved characters. The New York Times reports that some of the authors of these unauthorized Potter novels even end up having their unauthorized novels copied by underground publishers.
As in some other countries, there are the unauthorized translations of real Harry Potter books, as well as books published under the imprint of major Chinese publishing houses, about which the publishers themselves say they have no knowledge. And there are the novels by budding Chinese writers hoping to piggyback on the success of the series - sometimes only to have their fake Potters copied by underground publishers who, naturally, pay them no royalties.
The Times says that in China "the global Harry Potter publishing phenomenon has mutated into something altogether Chinese: a combination of remarkable imagination and startling industriousness, all placed in the service of counterfeiting, literary fraud and copyright violation."

The Times story also lists some of the bizarre titles: Some of the novels use Harry Potter characters but involve them in plots stolen from other famous authors like Tolkien or from kung-fu epics. A kung-fu fighting Harry Potter and the Big Funnel? It's enough to drive any author to drink. Or at least into the arms of a good international copyright lawyer.
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