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Harry Potter's 'Half Blood Prince' Leaked 784

darkonc writes "The CBC is reporting that about 15 copies of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" were accidently sold at a 'Great Canadien Superstore' in a suburb of Vancouver BC. The Canadian Distributor, Raincoast Books managed to get an injunction prohibiting the people who recieved the books from talking about them and demanding that they return the books to Raincoast until Friday. To add a carrot to the stick, raincoast is offering various goodies including a signed bookplate."
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Harry Potter's 'Half Blood Prince' Leaked

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  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @12:56AM (#13039437) Journal

    Raincoast Books managed to get an injunction prohibiting the people who recieved the books from talking about them and demanding that they return the books to Raincoast until Friday. To add a carrot to the stick, raincoast is offering various goodies including a signed bookplate.

    Are they actually tracking people down or is this just a protective injection? TFI says "The Court Order also requires anyone who has a copy or copies of the book to return them to Raincoast immediately." That doesn't seem very enforceable.

    Of course I'd return my copy for a signed bookplate in a heartbeat. Still the paranoid part of me thinks this is yet another reason to pay for everything with cash and ditch the debit card. I wonder what the legal/financial repercussions for the store will be? TFI/TFA didn't dwell on that. Will the store be sued for breach of contract or will Raincoast consider it an honest mistake? How many poor bastards will be fired by the store in an attempt to cover managements ass?

    • by mobets ( 101759 ) * on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:05AM (#13039488) Journal
      Looks like a publisity stunt to me. They are making a show of protecting the reliece date, while at the same time demonstrating how genorous they are. They look nice and fair and get their names and the date plastered all over the media and web for little to no money.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:43AM (#13039665)


        That took my breath away.
      • by Strokke ( 772031 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @03:37AM (#13040049)
        Regardless of whether or not this was done on purpose, the publishers are going to milk this as long as they can. They are the publishers after all. That means that it is their profession to make as much money as they can on books. This book, although having amazing presale numbers, has had a lot of its marketing power stolen by the recent bombings in London. Such a tragic event has taken away any idle news coverage which would have instead been directed at Harry Potter. The people in charge of marketing are doing whatever they can do get the public's attention back on the books.
        Its pretty simple psychology they are using. Humans desire that which cannot be had, and if this book is being protected by the CIA, FBI, and Mafia, then it must be the greatest book ever.

        Oh and I'll be @ my local barnes and noble 10 pm friday night waiting in line, and then will have a contest with a few friends to see who can finish it first. No joke. People who make fun of the books as childish simply cannot appreciate a simple fun story
        • I can appreciate a good story, but I appreciate a well-written one more. Harry Potter is a guilty pleasure, like the trashy cyberpunk novels I sometimes read. A book which expands your vocabulary, makes good use of metaphor, and so on, while having a good story, is far more enjoyable than a simple good story alone.

          At the moment I'd very much recommend China Mièville (sp?). Fantasy races, but a dark, industrial, almost post-apocalyptic setting. Very very good.

          • Why be guilty? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by titzandkunt ( 623280 ) *

            "I can appreciate a good story, but I appreciate a well-written one more. Harry Potter is a guilty pleasure, like the trashy cyberpunk novels I sometimes read..."

            There's a time and a place (in my diet) for fillet steak and another time and place for a hotdog.

            Why should reading matter be any different?

    • Very well said. That first paragraph you quoted caught my attention too. I guess it isn't just American courts who care more about corporate rights (see last weeks eminent domain decision) than anything else.
    • The court instructed "... anyone who has directly or indirectly received a copy or any other form of disclosure of Harry Potter 6 from John/Jane Does to deliver to the plaintiff Raincoast Books Distribution Ltd. forthwith any and all copies of Harry Potter 6 in their possession ..."

      So the BC Supreme Court seizes private property now, just because the seller wants it back? Three words for that:

      It will be interesting to see how far they are willing to go to enforce this decree. If I had one of tho
    • by outsider007 ( 115534 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @03:00AM (#13039934)
      Of course I'd return my copy for a signed bookplate in a heartbeat.

      I'd try to trade mine for sex first, and if that didn't pan out, I'd take the bookplate.
    • Personally, if I had a copy (assuming that there really were copies sold, which I doubt) I'd be sorely tempted to skim through the damn thing to glean the plot, then write and publish a review of the book. What's the government going to do? Arrest me for free speech? I purchased the book legitimately and I'm writing a legitimate review. It's not as if this is a stolen item -- the fact that it was sold early is a contractual dispute between the publisher and the retailer and is absolutely no concern to me.

      If someone really wanted to, they could give the book to a friend in the US where they're free to publish all the plot details. Let's see the BC Supreme Court enforce its rights-bashing injunction on a US citizen.

      Of course, I probably wouldn't do that myself -- the legal bills would be quite hefty and I wouldn't relish the ensuing hassle. Plus selling that signed copy and t-shirt on eBay would net a small fortune! :)
    • by patio11 ( 857072 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @03:22AM (#13040010)
      "More Questions then Answers" needs a comma in the middle, and indicates narration of events in time (first more questions, then answers). "More Questions than Answers" means the number of questions was greater than the number of answers. Always use than for comparisons, kids. Incidentally, you probably meant "preliminary injunction" rather than "protective injection".
  • by jerw134 ( 409531 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @12:57AM (#13039442)
    Scholastic won't be very happy about this...
  • Stupidity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tymbow ( 725036 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @12:58AM (#13039455)
    This stuff is starting to get ridiculous. It's a book FFS, not an issue of national security!
    • Yep, agreed. I know of folks who had the last book Fedex'ed to them Saturday morning (it was released Fri night at midnight), and then proceeded to spend the *entire* weekend reading the book. Why? Just in case anyone talked about it on Monday morning at work. *sigh*

      It was months before I read the book; I didn't find out a thing before I read it either. Yeah, yeah, I read Harry Potter. ;-)

    • Comment removed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by account_deleted ( 4530225 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:14AM (#13039536)
      Comment removed based on user account deletion
      • Re:Spoilers! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Kaboom13 ( 235759 ) <kaboom108@NOsPam.bellsouth.net> on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:35AM (#13039639)
        Distributors used to hold shiping books until the release, so store got their copies and could sell them the same day. The problem is shipping problems/delays meant some stores go their copies early and some got theirs late. The stores that got them late lost out on a lot of sales, and stores that got them early quickly sold out. So the solution is the stores enter into a voluntary agreement (if they do not agree the books arent shipped until after the release date) that they recieve it early, so shipping problems/delays can be fixed before release, and they hold the books until the release date. The arrangement benefits the store more then the publisher (the publisher generally makes the same amount of money no matter which particular store sells it) and customers who can depend on their favorite store having it on release day. Of course some people break the agreement through greed or just by accident and the publisher does it's best to minimize the damage. These agreements aren't oppressive schemes by the publishers, they actually benefit everyone. Stores that don't like it can take their chances.
      • Re:Spoilers! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gregbaker ( 22648 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @02:48AM (#13039898) Homepage
        I have a hard time understanding why this is such a big deal. The book is written. It's published. It's largely distributed.

        I can't fathom why anyone would think these are the first 15 copies that have been taken.

        These books are sitting in the back of thousands of stores across the world. Does anybody seriously believe that not a single stockboy managed to get into the box? No bookstore owners or managers thought they'd get a head start on the book?

        Yeah, I know steps were taken [slashdot.org], but come on. Nothing described there was magic.

  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @12:59AM (#13039458) Homepage
    ...to publish the first and last chapters.

    Using ROT13 encoding.
  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:00AM (#13039462)
    Somebody at the GameFAQs.com forum claims to already have the book, and has supposedly posted content from it.

    http://boards.gamefaqs.com/gfaqs/genmessage.php?bo ard=245&topic=22104343&page=0 [gamefaqs.com]

    This leak would lend credence to his claims that he does already have access to the book.
  • by SpaceAdmiral ( 869318 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:00AM (#13039464) Homepage
    So "Real Canadian Superstore" (CBC article) is the same as "Great Canadien Superstore" (/. submission)? No, really. I'm not being sarcastic. I'm curious.
  • by waynelorentz ( 662271 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:01AM (#13039467) Homepage
    Raincoast Books managed to get an injunction prohibiting the people who recieved the books from talking about them

    O.K., so from now on I'm no longer going to listen to any more crap from any of you Canadian Slashdotters criticizing free speech in America.

    (Now watch the Kanucks and Newfies mod me into oblivion!)
    • yeah but the Canucks are offering signed bookplates if you return it.

      On this side, the most you could hope for is they let you keep your pants when they ship you off to Gitmo...

  • by nate nice ( 672391 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:03AM (#13039475) Journal
    Literature for 10 year olds is "leaked"! Now the kids will have no interest in reading! When I was 10, I never read a book that was older than 3 days. Someone has to pay for this.
  • by venicebeach ( 702856 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:04AM (#13039481) Homepage Journal

    Hermione grows up. [veritaserum.com]

  • Um... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ibanez ( 37490 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:05AM (#13039484)
    I'm sorry, but how do you prohibit the sale or providing information about a book that you PURCHASED, regardless of the date it's supposed to be released?

    Am I missing something, or does that seem even more retarded than something our court systems would do?

    • Not that retarded... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:15AM (#13039545) Homepage
      ...let us say I (A) have an unpublished work, and someone (B) gets hold of a copy of my work, then sells it to a third party (C). While C might have acted in good faith, A can still use the courts to make sure his unpublished work isn't de facto published without consent.

      Replace A with Mrs. Rowling, B with the bookstore and C with the lucky buyer. I imagine the bookstore does not have authorization to sell it until the release date, and so the book is in legal terms still considered unpublished. Unpublished works have great protection in copyright law, as they should have.

    • Re:Um... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cperciva ( 102828 )
      how do you prohibit the sale or providing information about a book that you PURCHASED

      Technically, nobody purchased those books. A sale only takes place if all parties involved intend for a sale to take place, and this was clearly a mistake on the part of the store in question.
      • Re:Um... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Thanatopsis ( 29786 ) <despain DOT brian AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:45AM (#13039674) Homepage
        Um sorry that's not quite right. By selling the book, receiving funds for it and providing the goods for the funds, a sale has taken place. By its actions clearly the bookstore intended a sale to take place. The customers didn't steal the books. The goods are the consumers. The publisher can certainly sue the retailer for breaking the street date but that's something entirely different.
        • Re:Um... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by servognome ( 738846 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @02:17AM (#13039795)
          By its actions clearly the bookstore intended a sale to take place. The customers didn't steal the books.

          It's a stretch, but by breaching the contract, it could be argued the store sold "stolen" goods. The consumer then would have no right to such goods even if purchased in good faith. The publisher can require the book to be returned, or at least have a temporary injunction issued until the legal status of the books can be determined.

          Of course there is absolutely no argument for the courts to prevent somebody from talking about the book. I'm a believer in copyrights, but there are limits when it comes to restricting free speech. The court should not be in a position of prior restriant. At best the publisher can sue for libel later on and have the burden of proof to show that the person's words had a quantifiable and unfounded (almost impossible to prove) impact on sales.
          • Re:Um... (Score:3, Informative)

            by cperciva ( 102828 )
            The court should not be in a position of prior restriant (sic).

            That's a difference between US and Canadian courts. Canadian courts have no concerns about imposing publication bans -- most obviously, while US courts hold preliminary criminal hearings in secret in order to avoid tainting the jury pool, Canadian courts allow the public into those hearings but impose a ban on publication of the details.

            We just do things a bit differently on this side of the border, that's all. :-)
    • Re:Um... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zurab ( 188064 )

      I'm sorry, but how do you prohibit the sale or providing information about a book that you PURCHASED, regardless of the date it's supposed to be released?

      IANAL, but nobody can - at least in the U.S. - if the buyer completed the transaction in good faith (e.g. didn't steal it or purchased a book that he/she knew in advance was stolen). It's all in the UCC [cornell.edu]. However, I don't know if Canada has a similar law.

  • by colton cummings ( 887877 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:05AM (#13039489)
    How do you think a book store "accidentally" sold 15 copies of a book that was widely publicized to be released at a later date? And if they accidentally released it early, why did only 15 copies sell?
  • by dominion ( 3153 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:07AM (#13039496) Homepage

    Seriously, if I were the employee who screwed this up, I'd sleep with a pistol underneath my pillow. Everybody knows the big boss man isn't too forgiving of fuck ups like this.

    Oh, wait... Harry Potter books? I thought we were talking about an international shipment of premium grade heroin.

    Who the fuck cares about some Harry Potter books coming out a little early?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:30AM (#13039618)
      Harry Potter's coming out? About freakin' time! I mean, it's been pretty obvious since day one that he's got a thing for Ron, so it's now a big deal anyways... Oh wait, "Harry Potter books"!
      • Harry Potter's coming out? About freakin' time! I mean, it's been pretty obvious since day one that he's got a thing for Ron, so it's now a big deal anyways.

        Certainly puts a different spin on the topic title of "Harry Potter's 'Half Blood Prince' Leaked".
  • so... (Score:3, Funny)

    by RompeRatones ( 898219 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:07AM (#13039503)
    They should have used magic ink
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:14AM (#13039537)
    "Harry Potter's 'Half Blood Prince' Leaked"

    Which explains why he had only half his blood....

    Yes, yes I'll be here all week...

  • At least (Score:5, Funny)

    by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:21AM (#13039579)
    this one wasn't listed under IT and Security
  • by gulfan ( 524955 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:25AM (#13039593)
    This comment contained copyrighted text and was removed at the request of the copyright owner under the terms of the DMCA.
  • Oooh (Score:3, Funny)

    by blincoln ( 592401 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:28AM (#13039612) Homepage Journal
    Is a 'Great Canadien Superstore' kind of like Costco, only their shelves are lined with female Canadians of every type imaginable? Or would those be "Canadiennes"?
  • Disturbing Much (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:45AM (#13039676)
    Does this strike anybody else as more than a bit creepy? Ok, fine, the kiddies don't get to hang on to their precious prerelease copies, whatever. But, a court imposed gag order? They sell me something, in error. They then have an injunction put out ordering me to return it and forbidding me to talk about any part of it, presumably under some sort of penalty? WTF?

    It'll be a lovely day indeed when the DRM enthusiasts we know and love from the electronics world start doing this. Hey kid, is that PSP hackable? Report to the distribution center for immediate impound of noncompliant device; a compliance officer(courtesy of Uncle Sam) will be along to assist you shortly.
  • To bad.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by alfrin ( 858861 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @01:56AM (#13039720)
    Its a real shame, there doesn't seem to be a bittorrent for physical objects...
  • Harry Potter Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by miyako ( 632510 ) <miyakoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @02:54AM (#13039917) Homepage Journal
    I've read a lot of negative comments about the Harry Potter series here, and even more 12 hours ago when the story was on fark, but for all of you who haven't had a chance or desire to read one of the books, stop by the local library and give one a chance.
    The stories are not high-brow literature, nor are they intended to be. They are, however, good fantasy. The storylines are entertaining, and they have a fair bit of depth to them. The world is also deep, and pretty self-consistent. The books are humerous on many levels, and also at times a bit more insiteful than they are perhaps given credit for. A lot of the themes that started to emerge in Order of the Phoenix, and that will likely escellate in Half-blood Prince are especially pertinent today. (Although perhaps the death-eater/nazi comparison is more obvious, there are subtle but interesting parallels between the situation with voldamot and his followers and more modern things such as terrorism.) The books contain interesting moral delimas and gray areas (the position of the house elves, S.P.E.W and the take of the other characters offers interesting parallels to the philosophy of neitzsche for example) and are also just plain a lot of fun.
    I think the biggest problem with the Harry Potter series is that a lot of people will overlook it BECAUSE it's so popular. I know that I avoid things that are fairly popular because I think that in general the masses have terrible taste, and if most people like something, then I'll probably think it's crap. Luckily I did check out Harry Potter and found that in this case, the public was right, the books are good, and maybe other people who have avoided it for the same reason might find that they too enjoy the stories.
    • True 'nuff.

      Just because something is popular, doesn't necessarily mean it sucks.

      It took me many years to learn that lesson. My favorite saying in response to something being deemed "popular" or widely acclaimed was "Yeah, and the Big Mac is the best selling meal in America."

      • Add to that: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tony ( 765 )
        "Yeah, and the Big Mac is the best selling meal in America."

        My favorite: "Budweiser is the best-selling beer in America, by a long shot."

        Harry Potter is more like Guinness. Not necessarily the best, but damned good.
  • Market Magic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @03:21AM (#13040005) Homepage Journal
    Witness the other side of the coin of free markets. While they create wealth and provide incentives for creativity and business sense, they also create some artifical and nonsensical rules. Time-to-market is one of those. We've seen it in the warez scene 15 years ago, when 0-day cracks were magically more valued even though the usual communication channels (disks copied on the school yard) were too slow to make an actual difference between a 0-day and a +3-day. And due to availability and timezones, it wasn't much of an indicator for skill, either (not to mention that a good portion of the 0-day cracks sucked and needed to be fixed with a later release).

    Forward to 2005. Movie release dates have been crucial for a few years already, even though for all practical purposes it makes no difference. Now book release dates enter the picture. Again, no difference except for the marketing pressure that the free market has created, where immediacy is somehow a value, even where it has no actual usefulness.

    So why does it matter? Because the market says it does. No other reason at all. If the king doesn't like red then you don't dress in red. If the market says (via marketing people, its inofficial spokespersons) that it's important, then you obey and the ridiculousness of it all will not become aparent until the king has fallen and our children all wonder why their ancestors didn't see that he wasn't really a god.
  • Spoiler... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Zog The Undeniable ( 632031 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @04:14AM (#13040155)
    During a long wand fight, VOLDEMORT severs HARRY's hand and he loses his wand.

    VOLDEMORT: Dumbledore never told you about your father, did he?

    HARRY: Nooooooo! It's not true!

    HARRY leaps from the battlements of Hogwarts but is rescued by a passing Quidditch player. After having his hand magically regrown by MADAME POMFREY, he tries to get it on with CHO CHANG, not realising at this point that she is in fact his twin sister.

  • Publicity Stunt (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PhotoGuy ( 189467 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @06:55AM (#13040619) Homepage
    I agree the security around the release of a children's book is inane. It seems solely designed to create hype about the security itself.

    And doesn't anyone think that the small "leak" might itself be a publicity stunt, to get another few front page articles on CNN? That is far more valuable monetarily than the cost of any supposed leak. And showing the publishers doing good by offering signed copies, also adds to the PR.
  • by spicydragonz ( 837027 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @07:44AM (#13040836)
    I was perusing bit torrent and found the 6th book in pdf form. However, I think it was just some fan fiction posing under the real title. As the book was only half as long as the real book and contained a lot of toilet humor.
    "Gotta go to the bathroom... gotta go to the bathroom..." Harry Potter repeated over and over in his mind until the words lost all meaning. He and Dudley had just spent the past two hours celebrating their graduation from their fifth years at school by having a soda drinking contest, which Harry won. Sadly, it was a pyrrhic victory. Harry had set a personal record by chugging down fifty-three cans of soda, and now he had to let it out... but where?
  • Inconceivable... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by argent ( 18001 ) <peter.slashdot@2006@taronga@com> on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:00AM (#13040911) Homepage Journal
    I know, that word doesn't mean what I think it means, but still... what legal theory supports preventing someone who bought a book in good faith without engaging in any agreement (or even reading a notice) to keep the details of the book secret from talking about what they read?
  • injunction? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:29AM (#13041082) Homepage Journal
    I don't see how they can possibly do anything to the people who bought the book. (besides attempt to bribe them) It was legally sold to them, in good faith, with no agreement of any kind, other than "you give me book, I give you money." Even if they did have your name from a credit card recipt, they shouldn't be able to to jack about it, and if they tried, they should be on the receiving end of a harassment lawsuit.

    The only ones legally liable are the stores that sold copies early, who have broken a written agreement with the publisher. (they should...er... get the book thrown at them?)
    • Re:injunction? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Detritus ( 11846 )
      That's assuming that the book store owned the books that they sold. The publisher could have written a contract that said that they owned the books until the official retail distribution date, at which point ownership transfers to the retailer.
      • Re:injunction? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Thanatopsis ( 29786 )
        Sorry but that doesn't change the fact that the current book buyers bought the books in good faith. They rendered payment and recieved the goods. The relationship between the book store and the distributor has no effect on the transaction. Let's take a hypothetical.

        Book Seller A goes bankrupt. The distributor is owed hundred of thousands of dollars. Can they go after the customers? No. Because the customers acted in good faith and purchased the items.

        Read the Uniform Commercial Code [cornell.edu] to understand what con
  • by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @09:20AM (#13041374) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't anyone see this as particularly fascist? Businesses are supposed to be our SERVANTS, not the other way around. We PAY THEM for goods and services and they bend over backwards to earn their pay. Sadly, this dynamic has been damaged. Capitalism has failed in exactly the same way that communism did. (Note: I'm not a communist) Communism fell apart because some "pigs were more equal than others". It would appear that this same rot has happened within the capitalist system. Some "pigs (Bill Gates, Dick Cheney, Darl McBride, Martha Stewart, the Walton/Wal-mart family) are more equal than others (YOU)". Wake up people. You're being screwed by the bouncing smiley face at Wal-mart.
  • by sacrilicious ( 316896 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @09:25AM (#13041409) Homepage
    Despite the tremendous lockdown effots, these books got into the wild. To quote one of the people in Jurassic Park: "Life found a way."

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_