Harry Potter and the Chinese Knockoffs

Culture of piracy leads to illegal copying, unrelated spin-offs
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2007 10:02 AM CDT
New Installment Of Harry Potter Released In China   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 5 more images

(Newser) – The titles are unintentionally hilarious—Harry Potter and the Big Funnel, Harry Potter and the Chinese Porcelain Doll—but China's thriving piracy industry is no laughing matter. The Times looks at the phenomenon of "Harry" knockoffs, a problem so widespread that one estimate puts the percentage of illegal books for sale at 40%.

Although the government tries to combat the rip-offs, its priority is books banned for political reasons—not to mention tainted food and drugs. And the counterfeits, written by Chinese authors and released by reputable publishers, have their own fans. "I wonder if Rowling would bother to continue to write" if she read one copycat's work, says an online reviewer.