Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Subpoena to Protect "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"

Various newspapers report that Scholastic Corp., the publisher of the forthcoming book"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," needed to obtain a subpoena to find the source of leaks of the upcoming book.  (For details see, e.g., Chicago Tribune (Bloomberg), Washington Post and Wall Street Jrl).  But whether the material allegedly posted online is the true version remains unknown (see Newsday).  EWeek.com discusses whether the leak resulted from a phishing scheme.

With the book being released at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, many anxiously await the arrival of this Seventh Harry Potter book. The blogs are a frenzy of who will live and who will die. Although leak incidents may remain a civil matter, one has to wonder if the use of computers to either obtain the material and/or disseminate it warrant criminal scrutiny.  It is not uncommon for fads to be a source for federal and state fraud prosecutions. For example, during the 90's there were fraud prosecutions related to improper distribution of "Beanie Babies." (See Do We Need A "Beanie Baby" Fraud Statute?") 



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