The Price of Popularity

By Mark Pesce on July 18, 2007 | Permalink

Both the New York Times and the Sydney Morning Herald are reporting that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the series, has been released widely online – and is avaiable both on the Web and through the various peer-to-peer file sharing resources.
I’ve done my own investigation, and on The Pirate Bay it was quite easy to find.

Are we really surprised by this? Everyone involved in the whole Harry Potter project – the writer, the publishers, the film studio – have all been banging the drum, stiring up the hype. And now that audiences are fully empowered to distribute their own materials – “hyperdistribution“, or audience driven-distribution – there is now an outlet for this hype which exists entirely outside the established commerical channels of distribution. Because this channel exists, it will be used – and it will be used in direct proportion to the popularity of the material. In other words, popularity invites piracy.