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Don't Pay For Harry Potter Books, Movies, Gear


(Why have this campaign?)

On July 13, 2005, Ms Rowling got an injunction ordering various Canadians not to read Harry Potter books that were sold to them through a mistake by the publisher. Read that article, then don't buy any Harry Potter books (or pay for anything from the Rowling business empire).

It's even nastier; see further information.

I don't say you shouldn't read these books. That I leave to the author. I only urge you not to pay for them. If you wish to read one, be patient; you will meet someone that has a copy you can borrow. You can also read it in the public library. Even better, read something else—there are plenty of other books just as good, some (dare one suggest) even better.

Ebooks make the danger of such injunctions even more sinister. In 2009, Amazon remotely erased thousands of ebooks which were copies of the book 1984, by George Orwell. (They were authorized copies, obtained directly from Amazon.) Later Amazon said it would never do this again unless ordered by the state. Suppose that the mistakenly sold Harry Potter books had been ebooks: then instead of ordering her fans not to read her books, Rowling could have ordered them erased. Don't use ebooks if they take away the rights you have with paper books. (Or see the html version of that article.)

On what conditions should we end this boycott? Forgiveness is called for when someone recognizes what he did wrong and acts accordingly. I think we should forgive Rowling (or her publisher) when she (or it)

  1. Recognizes that this injunction was wrong.
  2. Promises not to do anything like it again.
  3. Calls for changes in the law so that nobody can get such an injunction again, and to establish a clear and firm "human right to read".

When I say "the publisher" I mean the principal publisher, the one that licenses out the rights for other countries such as Canada. It clearly is in a position to control what the others do, so the responsibility falls there.

Attacking Parodies

Another nasty action by Rowling: suppressing parodies of Harry Potter books in many countries via copyright lawsuits. This shows that JK Rowling is not content with her riches, but remains greedy for every last possible additional penny.

One reader said that the above article gave him the impression that the Tania Grotter books were simply copies of Harry Potter books, with a few names changed. If so, the article was misleading. The person who told me about the Tania Grotter books says they are quite different from the Harry Potter books. They started as parody, which can be seen in the article, and then went off in an independent direction involving Russian folklore.

A law professor argues that these take-offs should be regarded as lawful.

Suppressing Reference Work

Rowling and her publisher got another injunction to stop someone else from publishing a reference work about Harry Potter's world.

The outcome of the case is here.


There was one good thing one could say about Ms Rowling: she did not allow Hollywood to butcher the stories; instead, she took the pains to make sure they were transferred properly to the screen. However, the link above shows she has decided to let a theme park exploit them crassly.

According to movie studios' creative accounting, the latest Harry Potter movie "lost money" despite being a big success.

Make sure it doesn't get any of your money! Boycott Harry Potter books, and films too!

In 2018, the Warner media conglonerate that owns Harry Potter crushed fan conventions with legal threats.

The company was not legally compelled to do this: it was a choice, and Warner chose to be nasty, motivated by greed. In moral terms, greed is not an excuse for an action that is nasty. Morally, Warner has no excuse.

Copyright (c) 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012 Richard Stallman
Verbatim copying and redistribution of this entire page are permitted provided this notice is preserved.