Harry Potter's New Nemesis: Pirates

updated 07/14/2003 at 12:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/14/2003 11:16AM

Johnny Depp isn't the only one battling pirates these days.

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the latest published adventure of J.K. Rowling's teen wizard, is becoming a popular download -- all 870 pages of it -- among Internet pirates, reports The New York Times.

Last week, the entire book was offered in versions that were translated into German and Czech, though they were quickly removed once publishers in their respective countries threatened legal action.

But, according to Monday's Times, the book is still available online in English -- and in more than one format. Neither the American nor British publishers of "Order of the Phoenix" commented for the story, and no number of downloads was reported.

Rowling's agent, Neil Blair, however, informs The Times that Internet service providers are being contacted and asked to remove the illicit texts. He also said that the availability of the book online was not expected to have a business impact on the hardbound copies, which at the moment owns the No. 1 spot on the children's book bestseller lists.

(The first four books were translated into 55 languages and sold a cumulative 200 million copies.)

As for how the lengthy "Order of the Phoenix," got online to begin with, The Times credits high-speed scanners that now come free with many PCs. It also notes that some publishing executives noted, perversely, that perhaps E-books have finally become popular.

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