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JK Rowling Sues EBay Over Auctions Selling Pirated Books

JK Rowling is suing eBay for allowing the sale of pirated ebook versions of her books from the Indian version of the auction site. An injunction was awarded in favor of Rowling prohibiting eBay from listing any illegal auctions. This requires eBay to police the auctions proactively instead of waiting for a notice from the rights holder of a copyright infringing sale. Via Times UK.

I certainly don’t condone any illegal sales of ebooks but I do wonder if JK Rowling could deter some illegal sales by authorizing legitimate e versions of her Potter books for sale. Clearly there is a segment of the market who would not only like such a thing but be willing to pay for it.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Angie
    Feb 26, 2007 @ 18:34:16

    I wonder why she has never done so? I admit to owning bootleg ebook copies of her books, though I’ve never read them and can’t for the life of me think of where I got them from, since Harry Potter wouldn’t be my first choice in downloading free reading material, which I tend to frown on anyhow, lol. I also bought and own all of the books in paper format, and I’ve never read those either. But if I’m ever going to read them, I’m much more likely to read them in electronic format, despite owning all of the paper copies. So you’re right, the market is there because i doubt I’m the only one.

  2. Jane
    Feb 26, 2007 @ 21:12:35

    I don’t know why. Some have argued that it is her disinclination toward all things technical – ie she writes in long hand.

  3. Angelle
    Feb 26, 2007 @ 23:05:41

    It could be the contract. Or maybe her publishers are afraid of pirated ebooks being more readily available if they release e-version of her books. It’s a big deal. If you look at there are sites that offer eversion of print books for free. That’s just awful for everyone. It’s terrible that the writer loses sales, and it may very well mean her series or books will be dropped by her publisher. And it’s entirely different from buying used or library borrowing because in order for you to buy something used, someone had to buy it new once. But with illegal copies nobody has to buy it new at least once.

  4. Firemeg
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 09:02:08

    While this lawsuit certainly is big news, the bigger story on eBay is the recent spate of hacker attacks by Romanian hacker, Vladuz, and the associated hundreds of thousands of scam listings and hijacked accounts (including those of eBay personnel) over the past week.

  5. Jane
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 09:16:37

    I am pretty sure that I read that Rowling herself has nixed the ebook so if it is in the contract, it’s her idea. As for pirated ebooks being more readily available if they are released in ebook format, that’s just her publishers being a bit blind. reported that the ebook was created in under 12 hours of the release of the last Potter book. The fact that people are willing to BUY illegal copies tells me that Rowling is losing sales that she would have had if there were ebooks available.

    It is terrible for authors to lose sales based on illegal eversions which is why I am such a huge proponent of getting every one digitized. Obviously, not being put out in ebook form isn’t stopping anying from making eforms and exchanging them.

    Why not have a legitimate eform and sell it?

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    Feb 27, 2007 @ 15:02:59

    […] JK Rowling Sues EBay Over Auctions Selling Pirated BooksJK Rowling is suing eBay for allowing the sale of pirated ebook versions of her books from the Indian version of the auction site. An injunction was awarded in favor of Rowling prohibiting eBay from listing any illegal auctions. … […]

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    […] JK Rowling Sues EBay Over Auctions Selling Pirated Books Harry Potter Publishing Date AnnouncedHarry Potter Finale Has A TitleHarry Potter Is Killing the Kids […]

  8. pocnib
    Mar 06, 2007 @ 00:22:51

    It is Rowling and her own opinion why the books are not digitized and I have to agree with her. What you all are failing to understand is that real writers do not write for the money or for the fans, they write for themselves, fame and fortune is just a bonus. Writing is not a business, it is a passion. I too am an author, though no where near the level of Rowling, and whole-heartedly agree with her refusal to sell ebooks. There is so much more to writing, to having a completed manuscript bound and on a shelf. I do not expect anybody else to fully understand this sentiment but it is out there. Computers are a great thing, but some things are just better left to the old ways.

  9. Navpreet Panjrath
    Jun 04, 2007 @ 20:22:31

    Ebay, is having tough time and is facing litigation from round the corners of the world on almost same contentious issues. Similar complaints have been filed by Tiffany in New York and Christian Dior Couture in Paris, and top of it in Delhi High Court by JK Rowling (author of world famous Harry Potter collections). The Delhi High Court by reaffirming the injunction order dated November 16, 2004 on January 24, 2007 has instead of tying the loose ends has led to controversial issues on interpretation. Justice Sikri by making the order absolute against the defendants until conclusion of the proceedings sends out the signal that law will take its recourse. So any order passed by the Delhi High Court could set a precedent. The result of the said litigations has compelled eBay to take measures to prevent sale of e-books or pirated versions.What makes this case all the more interesting is that it really demonstrates the phenomenal challenge of policing the digital world.

  10. Jim Mirkalami
    Feb 06, 2008 @ 14:06:02

    I have been reading this blog for a while now, and I thought it would be proper to leave a note of appreciation here.

    Many Thanks,
    Jim Mirkalami

  11. Bed Guard
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 00:35:59

    i love auctions, i think joining an auction and bidding is also an addictive habit .’~

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