eBay Hexed By Harry Potter

    February 27, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Unauthorized electronic copies of books in J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ series have appeared in auctions on eBay’s India site; the author has won an unprecedented injunction against eBay that will require the company to look for those works in its auctions and remove them.

Although fans of the Harry Potter phenomenon may want to have electronic versions of those books available, Rowling has never approved them for publication in e-book format. The US hardcover version of ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ weighs in at a hefty 870 pages, and doesn’t fit in a carry-on as neatly as a PDA or smartphone.

Whether the active trading of Potter e-books on eBay’s site in India, once known as Baazee.com, is crass commercialism or simply serving an unfulfilled need isn’t material. Rowling and her attorneys have been fighting this issue since 2004.

The Times Online reported on the latest events in the case in India, and the potential bombshell dropped right into eBay’s lap. An injunction from the court requires eBay to do the unprecedented. They must actively prevent illegal copies of Rowling’s work from appearing on the site.

The impact of that decision may be felt well beyond India:

The injunction presents difficulties for eBay, whether it succeeds or fails in policing its users