Harry Potter translators and WB/Urheberrecht der Harry-Potter-Übersetzer und der 350-Kilo-Gorilla

Via Katy Derbyshire in love German books, a sad tale of how an Israeli translator of Harry Potter didn't even get a ticket to the press screening of the film, let alone recognition of the translation, which was used in the subtitles. The whole sad story is told by Gili Bar-Hillel, who writes a blog usually in Hebrew, but in this case an English post:
Though I was not employed by Warner Bros. and not contractually obligated towards them, such was the power of this company that they were able to threaten me by proxy. As far as I was able to figure out, Warner Bros. bullied the Christopher Little Agency into bullying the various international publishers to bully their translators into retroactively waiving all rights to their translations, under the threat that otherwise the publishers would not be sold translation rights to future books in the series. This is how it happened to me: I was invited to a chat with the Israeli publisher after I had already translated the first three books in a series. He met me in a café and required me to sign a memo, which I was not allowed to read in advance or show to anyone else, and of which I was not allowed to retain a copy ...
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5000 Words

This song is about what I do when I'm not writing and singing songs. For the uninitiated: 5000 words is considered to be a very respectable day's work in my profession... THIS SONG IS NOW ON MY NEW CD, "5000 WORDS". Email sharon.neeman@gmail.com for details. FIVE THOUSAND WORDS (Lyrics and music © by Sharon Neeman) The clock showed close to quitting time; my desk was almost clear; I thought perhaps I'd slip around the corner for a beer But the phone rang and I answered and a friendly voice said "Hi!" It was the secretary of a legal firm nearby. She said "Oh, please excuse me calling this late in the day, But we have a new petition in a case that's under way; Can you translate it tomorrow? Any time by five will do 'Cause we wouldn't want to give the work to anyone but you It's only Five thousand words for tomorrow at five;" I thought "I'll do that easily; I'll scarcely have to strive," So I smiled and said "No problem; I'll just add it to my bill, And you'll send a check on Friday?" And she said "You know we will." * * * I set to work at eight AM; I cut my lunch date short; By five the stuff was ready to be filed before the Court; I sent it off by email and I poured a cup of tea And the phone rang and I answered and a lawyer asked for me: "I've just leafed through your translation, and I think it's very good, And I'd like you to translate an affidavit, if you could; It's the size of that petition well, perhaps a little more And you know that I'd be grateful if you'd have it in by four It's only Six thousand words for tomorrow at four;" I thought "I'll get up early; I've a longish day in store," And I shrugged and said "No problem; I'll just add it to my bill, And you'll send a check on Friday?" And he said "You know we will." * * * I hit the desk at seven and I ate my lunch alone; I never touched the Solitaire or gossiped on the phone; At four o'clock I sent it off and shook my weary head And the phone rang and I answered and the junior partner said: "I really have to thank you for a job superbly done, And I'm sure you'll be delighted, 'cause we've got another one: I've just finished my summation, and you know how glad I'd be If your excellent translation could be on my desk by three It's only Eight thousand words for tomorrow at three;" I thought, "It won't be easy but I'll have the evening free," So I sighed and said "No problem; I'll just add it to my bill, And you'll send a check on Friday?" And she said "You know we will." * * * I started at five-thirty, and my lunch was just a snack; At three I typed the last few words and sent the email back; I flexed my aching fingers and I silently rejoiced And the phone rang and I answered and the senior partner's voice Said "You really are a wonder, and your talents are unique In fact, that's why we've kept you very busy all this week; Now, I know that it's short notice, but I have to count on you For the Judge needs my rebuttal to be on her desk at two It's only Ten thousand words for tomorrow at two;" I thought, "How can I tell him that it's just too much to do?" But I groaned and said "No problem; I'll just add it to my bill, And you'll send a check on Friday?" And he said "You know we will." * * * I staggered in at four AM; I never ate a bite; But I got it done by two, although it was a trifle tight; I was dizzy, I was queasy, and I thought I'd never budge But the phone rang and I answered and by God, it was the Judge! She said, "I know you're tired, and I really hate to ask, But there's no one in the city that can do this one last task: For I've handed down my ruling," and she gave a modest cough, "And at one PM tomorrow, the courier takes off It's only Twelve thousand words for tomorrow at one;" My mind screamed "No, Your Honor! There are things that can't be done!" But the words came out "No problem; I'll just add it to my bill " And it's been four months since Friday, and the b*****s owe me still!


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