Forty-two hours. That’s how long it took for the first pirated copies of the official Pottermore Harry Potter ebooks to show up on a pirate site.
A reader tipped me to the story this afternoon. One not terribly intelligent pirate uploaded a complete set of the Pottermore ebooks, in Epub, last night. I looked them over, and they are clearly not one of the earlier sets of pirated ebooks.
Now, I’m not being rude in calling the pirate stupid; he didn’t put all that much effort into anonymizing the Epubs before he pirated them. All he did was remove the warning statement from the copyright page. He didn’t do anything to remove the digital watermarks I reported on yesterday. I found the serial numbers in the title elements of the images, right where Booxtream put them.
And BTW, now that I have a second copy of HP1, I can see that the files inside that Epub have different file names than in the Epub I bought. This tells me that the file names might be another watermark added by Booxtream. Good. That means that the DRM embedded in the Epub is more subtle than I thought.
Frankly, I’m surprised this took this long. I recall that the later additions to the Harry Potter series were pirated within a day of hitting the bookstore shelves. In fact, I believe it was HP7 that was pirated before the print edition officially shipped.
I’m also surprised that someone would pirate these ebooks at all, given the widely known DRM buried inside. I mean, there already were pirated copies of these ebooks available, if you know where to look. Posting a new set doesn’t make much sense, given the risks involved.
If anything, this act of piracy tells me that I don’t understand pirates as well as I thought I did. The risk is too high and the need too low, and yet someone still pirated these ebooks. If anyone happens to think that increasing the penalty for piracy is going to have an effect, think again. This pirate is almost certain to get caught and yet he did it anyway.