Scholastic Loses It Over Harry Potter/BitTorent Story

harrypotter.jpgIt didn’t take long for Scholastic, the U.S. publisher of the Harry Potter books, to send us a takedown notice for our post “The Latest Harry Potter Book Hits BitTorrent.”

In an email yesterday, Mark S. Seidenfeld, an attorney for Scholastic, demanded that we “act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the material or items claimed to be infringing” and referred to the post. The full text of the notice is below. A print article in USA Today says that they are contacting every site that has mentioned this story and demanding it be taken down.

There is a vague possibility that we could be found liable of contributory infringement, our attorney says. As could USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and CNN who, among many others, mentioned that the book was available on The Pirate Bay (but without linking).

But really this is just a bullying (albeit very polite bullying) tactic by the publisher to try to stop word spreading that the book, like almost all popular media today, is available free on BitTorrent for those who choose to steal it. They’re trying to shoot the messenger, and this kind of stuff has a chilling effect on free speech. If they want to bring legal action against us, ok. But we’ll fight back, and the entire drama will be posted for everyone to follow.

From: “Seidenfeld, Mark”
Date: July 17, 2007 6:20:15 PM PDT
To: Michael Arrington
Cc: “Chatillon, Dev”
Subject: Notice of Infringement/Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling – 1 posting

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I, the undersigned, certify under penalty of perjury that the information in this notification is accurate and that I am authorized to act on behalf of J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books and owner of copyright rights therein, and Scholastic Inc., exclusive U.S. publisher of the Harry Potter books, including without limitation the cover and all other art incorporated therein (collectively, the “IP Owner”). I have a good faith belief that the materials identified below are not authorized by the IP Owner, its agent, or the law and therefore infringe the IP Owner’s rights according to state and federal law. Please act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the material or items claimed to be infringing.

I may be contacted at the below address/phone/email. Thank you in advance for your immediate attention to this matter.

Mark S. Seidenfeld
Scholastic Inc.

Infringing Materials (infringement of copyright, including publication, duplication and distribution rights):