Ted Striphas has a great account in The Late Age of Print of the legal battles surrounding unauthorized adaptations of the Harry Potter novels. All the usual “Media Piracy” elements are in play here: “windowing” practices for massive global hits that make them unavailable for months or years in developing countries. Extensive local adaptations and commercializations at lower prices. The zero point of originality determined by who has the most lawyers. Among the nice touches: a Dutch court splitting hairs over whether Harry Potter was itself a derivative work.
Despite Rowling, Warner Bros., and other authorities’ intensive global efforts to police their coveted Harry Potter copyrights and trademarks, fakery has proven to be endemic to the book series. Consider what China Today calls “The Chinese Harry Potter Epidemic,” or a spate of “Harry Potter read-alikes” circulating in and around the country. These include books like Harry Potter’s Sister, author Serge Brussolo’s book Girl Wizard Peggy Sue, which Chinese publishers retitled and repackaged—apparently without the author’s consent—hoping to cash in on China’s Pottermania. Then there’s The Magic Violin, a novel purportedly written by nine-year-old Bian Jinyang. As with Harry Potter’s Sister, Bian’s publisher attempted to capitalize on the explosive popularity of the Harry Potter series by reissuing the book under the title China’s Harry Potter. Continue reading “The Curse of Tanya Grotter”