Harry Potter and the Deathly Downloads

Boy Wizard Conjured Up on BitTorrent

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First "Sicko," now Harry Potter.

The pages of the last installment of the boy-wizard series, due to go on sale this weekend, have been photographed and posted to BitTorrent, the enormously popular file-sharing service. TechCrunch linked the story from TorrentFreak, which was down. TechCrunch features one of the photographs, along with a few fingers pressing the book's spine flat. It was immediately unclear who owns those fingers, but some indications point to them being in Indiana.

Illegal file-sharing, of course, is eating into CD sales and giving TV networks and film studios fits. But the leak of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" marks P2P's first memorable incursion into the book publishing business. The bright side: It literally couldn't have happened to a wealthier author or wizard. Not that that makes it legal.

Also, a book is a different beast than a movie or a song, and considering the demographics of the Potter audience, it's unclear (and unlikely) that this will have an impact on sales. On top of that, the photos of the pages are extremely hard to read.