Potter author worried about translation networks

Bookstore staff stack copies of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" as fans line up outside the store in Singapore, July 21, 2007. REUTERS/Nicky Loh

PARIS (Reuters) - J.K. Rowling and her French publisher said on Thursday they were worried about organized groups of translators, not individuals, after a boy was arrested for posting a translation of the last Harry Potter book online.

Gallimard, whose official French translation of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is due out on October 26, said on Wednesday police had arrested a teenager suspected of posting his own translation of the new Potter novel on the Internet.

The 16-year-old schoolboy, from the Aix-en-Provence area in southern France, was taken into custody by a police anti-counterfeiting unit but later released.

Britain’s Rowling and Gallimard Jeunesse filed an official complaint, but on Thursday Gallimard spokeswoman Marie Leroy-Lena stressed that their concern was organized networks of translators seeking to profit from the huge interest generated by the books.

“This complaint in no way concerns isolated translations published on the Internet ... by disinterested fans not fully aware of the illegal nature of their action,” she said in a statement.

Leroy-Lena said neither Gallimard nor Rowling were involved in the case and had not filed for damages.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” was published in English last month, selling millions of copies in a matter of hours to become the fastest-selling book on record. But as in France, authorized translations can take months to appear.

Many French stores are selling the English-language version.

More than 335 million copies of the seven Potter books have been sold worldwide.