Theory Of Nothing

or Just Theory

Pottering on the internet

Now that I’ve read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I finally dare to allow myself to read the purported spoiler news surrounding it before its official release. But in order not to spoil your fun, I shall keep it all to myself and simply highlight how some of these spoilers germinate via technology. So read ahead, there are no spoilers.

One of the most widely circulated purported spoilers was a series of photographs of the book leaked onto the internet before the book’s worldwide release date. Every page of the book had been meticulously photographed, all the way from page 1 to page 759. They were then made downloadable from various file-sharing networks such as Pirate Bay, and in various formats, such as the easily accessible PDF, as well as formats for Palm and of course, iPod, etc.

A few days later, computer experts pointed out that the identity of the person behind the leak could be easily revealed from the camera he was using. The camera he was using could be just as easily traced from the digital DNA of the photographs taken by the camera. This digital DNA of vital information, or “metadata,” is known as Exchangeable Image File Format (Exif) data and cannot be switched off. While some software can be used to strip or edit the information, you cannot edit every field.

Unsurprisingly, it has already been traced that the particular camera used to photograph the book is one of the original Canon Rebel cameras, probably a 350D. Because the model is three years old, the camera would likely have been serviced at least once since it was purchased, in which case the owner’s name would be known. Vic Solomon, a product intelligence officer at Canon’s UK head office said, “In theory, we can find out which country the camera was sold in and in turn the warranty and service centre records in that country could be checked. It would take a lot of work, but there’s a good chance they could find him or her.” As it is, it can already be safely concluded that the camera was likely sold in either America or Canada, because the Rebel 350 was not distributed in any other country.

Bloomsbury, the UK publisher of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, said that its lawyers are investigating all potential leaks of material from the book and would take legal action wherever necessary. Meanwhile, JK Rowling, the book’s author, was “staggered [that] some American newspapers have decided to publish purported spoilers in the form of reviews in complete disregard of the wishes of literally millions of readers, particularly children, who wanted to reach Harry’s final destination by themselves, in their own time.”

If nothing else, the pre-release furore surrounding Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has emphasized the snowballing problem of copyright with the increasing use of technology and especially the internet.

(Link)

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Thursday, 26 July 2007 - Posted by | Internet, Literature, News, Pop Culture, Technology

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