July 31, 2007

Why yes, I DID illegally download the new Harry Potter book this morning.

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So did you hear? Within 48 hours of the release of the final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, famed political hacker group The Pirate Bay had already managed to post an illegal electronic version of the nearly-700-page book. CCLaP favorite Teleread.org, a website dedicated to the subject of electronic books, has all the details at their blog today for those who are curious, including information on how such a thing was done so head-spinningly fast, and why this is such an important topic right now in the world of electronic literature in the first place. (In a nutshell, because JK Rowling refuses to let an eBook version of the Harry Potter tales be published, because she's afraid of it leading to rampant piracy; that's part of why this pirated copy was made so quickly in the first place, as a political act by The Pirate Bay to show how ridiculous it is to refuse to publish electronically for fear of theft. Such books are going to be published electronically, the group argues, whether the author and publisher like it or not, and much more quickly than they ever thought possible; the only logical response, they argue, is for the publishers to put out an "official" electronic version that they can both control and generate revenue from, not pretend like the medium doesn't exist in the first place as is Rowling and Scholastic's attitude right now.)

Anyway, I thought I'd see for myself just how easy or difficult it would be to actually track down this pirated PDF, and it turns out to be so effortless to be almost a joke; simply search on the book's title at Google and add the word "torrent," then wade through the hits on fake books until finding the real one. (I myself had to go through three false downloads until I found the correct version.) Of course, don't forget that you'll need a BitTorrent client in order to actually download it (for example, like Azureus, the one I use); plus of course you'll...uh, need to understand how BitTorrent actually works, a feat that's easier said than done. And of course let's not forget that if you do end up downloading a copy yourself, you will have at that point committed a crime, and CCLaP assumes no responsibility for whatever legal, ethical, spiritual or parental trouble you might get into for doing such a thing.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 10:16 AM, July 31, 2007. Filed under: Arts news | Literature | Literature:Fiction |