Lawyers for Harry Potter author JK Rowling are hard at work by planning cases in Chinese local courts and talking to the national authorities about having bogus Potter novels taken off the streets in China.
The bogus book Harry Potter And The Chinese Empire, the work of Chinese conmen, appeared on the streets shortly after the publication of the official JK Rowling book in July. The fake book has extracts from other fantasy works such as Lord Of The Rings, martial arts epics and random characters from Chinese literature with the Hogwarts characters.
Neil Blair, Rowling's legal adviser, said:
We are aware of this one and we are taking action both through the local courts and by negotiating with the authorities in China to prevent violation of copyright. We are very pleased with the co-operation we are receiving from the authorities there.
Mark Lambert, the chief executive officer of the Scottish Book Trust, commented:
It's not actually an issue of money, in this case, but it's an issue of intellectual copyright and theft of the idea and using JK Rowling's name in this way. And she is right to be concerned about this and to be taking action.
This kind of thing, unauthorised sequels, has been happening before now. For example Star Trek fans write their own episodes online, as a tribute to the series. But this is very different, these volumes are being sold on the streets in order to profit from the name.
Meanwhile John McGowan, a consultant with the Federation Against Copyright Theft, added:
It's clear that the Chinese government need to do a lot more to crack down on piracy and on breaches in copyright law. They need to take it much more seriously. And it's very interesting that they seem to be able to crack down when they want to. They are being very vigorous all of a sudden in protecting the copyright and the symbols of the Beijing Olympics, as they should be.