August 01, 2007

Plea to the Chinese-English Translators of the World

Many of us were amazed to read of the rampant copyright violation in China, with millions of Harry Potter fakes by different anonymous authors. Harry Potter and the Half Blooded Relative Prince, Harry Potter and the Hiking Dragon, Harry Potter and the Chinese Empire, Harry Potter and the Young Heroes, Harry Potter and the Big Funnel, Harry Potter and the Chinese Porcelain Doll, Harry Potter and the Leopard-Walk-Up-To-Dragon. Mr Quill told me of a series of Wizarding School books in Russia called "Gharry Potter", defended by Russians because of Rowling's "plagiarism of Russian mythology" (like dragons & unicorns & other specifically Russian folklore.) There has also been fan-generated spin-off short stories on-line galore, including competitions. Well, now that we're all done with the real stuff - for those of us who have been crying for days about what eleven-year-old Albus's middle name is - let's bring on the fakes!

This is rather like issues involving music copyrighting, the integrity of our Republic's Congressmen defending what order people use the twelve notes in. A lot of creativity cannot be expressed today because of legal hangups, composers like Charles Ives or Copland could not have freely adapted American tunes under today's laws. And hip-hop djs, who have to pay royally if they adapt more than a fraction of a second of recored material. And for folk musicians, thank god no one has not copyrighted G major, D major, & C major, or there'd be no new music in the library of congress.

Today's New York Times reported about one of the Crème-de-la-Crème of Rowling's plagiarists, actually motivated by paternal motives, & approved by fans:

One such writer is a manager at a Shanghai textile factory named Li Jingsheng. “I bought Harry Potter 1 through 6 for my son a couple of years ago, and when he finished reading them, he kept asking me to tell him what happens next,” he explained. “We couldn’t wait, so I began making up my own story and in May last year, I typed it up on my computer. I had to get up early and go to bed late to write this novel, usually spending one hour, from 6 to 7 in the morning and 10 to 11 in the evening to write it.”

The result was “Harry Potter and the Showdown,” a 250,000-word novel, the final version of which he placed recently on Web sites, followed by a notice saying he was looking for publishers. The book quickly logged 150,000 readers on a popular Chinese site,’s Harry Potter fan Web page.

“This is fantastic,” Gu Guaiguai, an admiring reader, wrote online about “Showdown.” “I wonder if Rowling would bother to continue to write if she had read it.”

Another reader was even more breathless. “You are the pride of our Harry Potter fans,” he wrote, adding, “We expect you to go on and write Harry Potter number eight,” which Mr. Li has in fact already begun.

Alas, no English translation exists of "the Showdown"... but I'm dying to know! Get to work, friends!

"If Voldemort had never heard of the prophecy, would it have been fulfilled? Would it have meant anything? Of course not! Do you think every prophecy in the Hall of Prophecy has been fulfilled?"

-Prof. Dumbledore, from "Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince" (2005)

"Were you there the night they lost the lightning
Were you there the day the earth stood still
Did you see the famous and the fighting
Did you hear the prophet tell his tale"

-John Denver, "Dancing With the Mountains" (1980)

Also, as a related observation, today marks the failure of April's Prophecy, which predicted the duel fall of Voldemort & Mr Cheney. A way a lone a last a loved a long the riverun.

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