French police investigated teenager for unofficial translation
A French high school student was arrested and interrogated by the police for
having posted online his translation of the first three chapters of the
latest Harry Potter volume, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, only a
few days after the official launching of the English version in July 2007.
He was however immediately released and no civil charges were made by the
pubisher and the author.
The action was the result of a complaint made by J.K. Rowling’s and
Gallimard’s lawyer in France meant to stop industrial counterfeits, but the
complaint was targeting organised networks of translators looking for direct
or indirect profit from the successful saga and not individuals. The concern
was related to organized networks that achieve counterfeited works and edit
them with the same cover as the originals and commercialize them, which was
not the case of the arrested teen.
The young man had indeed created a forum called Hptrad for Harry Potter’s
fans and wanted to make available “a true and beautiful translation” of the
last volume. The forum gathered about 500 people and included translators
and proof-readers that would ensure a correct and coherent translation of
the text. However, the forum had not been meant for any commercial profit.
A Gallimard spokeswoman stated: “This complaint in no way concerns isolated
translations published on the internet (…) by disinterested fans not fully
aware of the illegal nature of their action.”
The official release of the Harry Potter French version is scheduled for 29
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