back to article French teen held over online Potter translation

French police have arrested a 16-year-old accused of posting an unauthorised translation of the final Harry Potter book onto the net before the official translation comes out. The unnamed high school student, from Aix-en-Provence in southern France, was taken in for questioning by police following a complaint from French …

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Anonymous Coward

quality of translation

The police said they were astounded by how good the translation was. They said it was very professional.

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Dam

And it's just the beginning

Next up:

"Man sued for unauthorized translation of a subway advert to his foreign mate"

Hopefully laws don't get *that* stupid.

Hey wait a minute...

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Ed

Organised networks?

What "organised networks" - are we talking about p2p networks here? The Mafia? Al Qaeda?

I suspect the former, which is hardly sinister!

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Anonymous Coward

sacré bleu !!!!

"...the fifth Harry Potter book was the first English book to top the best-seller list in France"

WOW! I bet the French were really pissed off at this! An ENGLISH book topping their best seller list! I'm surprised they didn't get a court injunction to stop it. Maybe they tried?

I'm so pleased I'm not French - I would have to do some extra special sticking-out of my bottom lip and shrugging of my shoulders for this one!

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Anonymous Coward

I don't think is a bad thing translating in advance

I'm not a native english speaker, nor is my wife.

As both my wife and me are avid readers, and on top of it, have developed a fondness of the harry potter books, we find very disgusting having to wait an additional 6-10 months to get the last H.P. book translated into our language.

As a result, we do the following things:

1 - I activley search the net for an english text version of the book, usually found in 1 week time, which I download, read on a PDA, and make a verbal resume to my non english fluent wife.

2 - In about 2/3 weeks time, there is a group of people which translates the book ( usually assigning one o more chapters to each), and proof read it in that time.

3 - My wife is, at last, able to read the book, and enjoy it, albeit in a less than perfect way.

4 - As soon as the book is printed in a language of our convenience ( the aforementioned 6-10 months ), we purchase it, read it and keep it, next to all its siblings.

I know that i could make the money needed book industry, and the starved author more happy if we part with our hard earned cash buying _both_ the english and the localized version, but it won't be fair for us.

So far, as we don't make money of it, and the translators are all voluntreers, which make it as a service to the other net users, and (and most important) we STILL purchase the book when it gets on sale, we don't think we're doing any harm.

Of course, all of this would be moot if the localized versions were on sale _on the same day_ as the english one.

On the other side, there are also great Fan-Fiction e-books, some of them better than the JKR ones, which are FREE, and can give you hours of fun reading also.

Best wishes.

Anonymous Coward.

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hmm

Maybe he's been arrested because he translated harry potter not because of copyright infringement

Translating harry potter definitely funds terrorism

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Copyright infringment?

Lets see, it's been my experience as an author that you need to have an actual text to copyright the material. If the publisher has a text, then we should be seeing the book come out forthwith. If not, then the lad in question didn't violate copyright, since one didn't exist. As far as forgery is concerned, that only applies when you claim that an item is genuine. From the other articles I've read, he made no such claims. Sounds like another case of money over rights.

IANAL. I am a copyright holder.

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Anonymous Coward

What copyright ?!

In France, we don't have copyright but we use the "droit d'auteur" instead. While closely related, this is absolutely not the same kind of legal protection. The main difference being that an author can never be stripped of some rights on his work, even if he were willing to do so (while, as I understand it, a copyright holder can be pretty much anybody once the author has stripped himself of all his rights).

This said, a translation would be protected on its own as an 'original' artwork while being at the same time constitutive of a civil tort against the contractual licencee (Gallimard), because it's a derivative work based on an original creation. This has the potential, if the translation is truly of professionnal grade, to create an inextricable legal entanglement between the unauthorised translator and Gallimard, because while Gallimard could seek a financial fine for the unlawful distribution of the first translation, the translator could fight back against Gallimard on the ground that Gallimard's translation infringes on his own creation ; to avoid that, Gallimard's translator would have to be really careful not to come too close to the first translation, which seems quite an impossible feat without destroying the substantial qualities of the book.

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crappola

I would these morons would stop making victims no

I don't see any organized crime in translating bloody

harry potter to french it's just not a mob type of crime

if the stinking publisher would get on the stick and get

the translations done in a timely manner this wouldn't

be an issue bunch of crap.

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Re: sacré bleu !!!!

"WOW! I bet the French were really pissed off at this! An ENGLISH book topping their best seller list! I'm surprised they didn't get a court injunction to stop it. Maybe they tried?"

Pay attention: it was the French who bought the book so it could be a bestseller. Do you think they got pissed off and tried to get a court injunction against themselves?

On topic, JK Rowling has the worst attitude towards her fans of any writer I know of.

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Rowling

"On topic, JK Rowling has the worst attitude towards her fans of any writer I know of."

Yeah. As a Harry Potter fan I feel cheated that she didn't confirm that Snape was Harry's father.

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Re: Anonymous Coward

For a non native English speaker, you have a far better grasp of the language than many English people I know!

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Hmm...

That can't really be good for publicity can it ?

J.K.Rowling, beloved by children the world over, pushing for prosecution of a 16-year old ?

Tsk tsk tsk...

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fansubs/translations

this is the first time I've seen something like this in popular media, well of late anyway.

The suggestion that criminal organisations have anything to do with it is utter bullshit. But we accept such crap from modern media and authorities.

With modern communiation you either release everywhere more or less at the same time or you sacrifice your first distribution rights.

Take anime, it takes generally takes at least a year for a title to go to the US (2 years is more common) that's if something gets translated atall. Then another year or two to get to the UK.

Fansubbers can have episodes released a day after it's aired on TV in Japan depending on how fast they can get a "RAW" how many groups are working on it and the kind of outfit they are (speedsubbers or qualitysubbers) these folk translate it so a: we don't have to spend years waiting for shows and b: so we don't have to put up with lame commercial subs.

These hardworking chaps don't get cash, infact often they end up spending alot of cash on maintaining central distro servers, I think they're crazy to be honest, but I love them all lol. They're normally ignored until a yank licenses a title, which is still a pain for us brits as it still wont come out over here but soucing it becomes a real pain.

This lad should be praised for providing a service that the official companies couldn't be bothered doing.

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Anonymous Coward

Tough merde

So he breached someone's copyright and in so doing potentially reduced their income when they finally pull their finger out with a translation. Probably should nto have done, but no it won't bring down Civilisation As We Know It (TM).

I agree that he should not have done this and that an injunction to take it down would be sensible but any substantial punishment is unlikely to be merited unless he was selling this for commercial gain.

As for a group of volunteers in a local book club translating it for one another that is probably technically illegal but morally most people would let it go. The promise that you also buy the book when it comes out is very noble, but you shoot yourself down when you say this is "a service to the other net users" - do you think that making this translation publicly available is an honourable thing? that every single person who downloads it is going to also buy the book?

As for whingeing about how long it takes to translate and release, if ALL the books are published 6 months later than in English then the length of time you wait between books is exactly the same as everyone else, just we get to gossip sooner (in calendar terms) about whether Rupert is secretly Harry's father or whether Hermione should have died in chapter 15.

If your withdrawal symptoms are that bad in between then I suggest you go find more than one author to put on your shelves.

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Them being French...

"Do you think they got pissed off and tried to get a court injunction against themselves?"

..I'd probably say yes. :-) Not because they're crazy but because there are some very sharp divides in French society regarding the purity of the language etc. Elite vs. mundanes sort-of-thing. This poor feller clearly committed some sort of crime against the elite by providing the mundanes with foreign entertainment in the Holy Language. And demonic literature at that...

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pirate

also, by UK standards he isn't a pirate as he isn't selling copies or producing copies for sale. Infringing copyright probably though.

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Translation quality?

"The police said they were astounded by how good the translation was. They said it was very professional."

As I am a professional translator, does that mean that you will be seeking my opinions of police work? I assume that they mean that it had been spellchecked and didn't contain any gross grammatical errors. It's not clear how much he had actually translated (if it was only the first three chapters I guess that's a plausible 10000 words or so) but if - as suggested elsewhere - http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/08/arts/EU-A-E-BKS-France-Harry-Potter.php - he'd translated the whole thing he must have been working at a staggeringly impressive speed (a professional translator will normally be looking at doing something 2-3000 words a day, and although JKR's prose is not desperately challenging, spotting and reinventing made-up words and phrases in a foreign language is likely to slow anyone down), and is probably largely the product of some MT system, gawd help us (or the francophones at any rate).

There is, as far as I am aware, no law in France or anywhere else much against trying to translate anything you like for your own entertainment and/or edification, merely against distributing it. Of course it's obviously all about money, and the publishers' decision not to allow translation work to be started before the EN publication date is rather silly - although paranoia about the story getting out before the Big Day is just part of the highly successful hype around the whole Potter series - but even translators have to eat...

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