Harry Potter and the Socialist Theater

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

In Havana, the theater company El Público, presented in December of the 2016 an unauthorized spin-off of the Harry Potter book series by JK Rowling.

"The Cursed Child"Is one thing, "Harry Potter: The Magic Is Over" Is another very different.

The play that is presented in West End tries to claim the epilogue that all fans prefer to forget that existed. JK Rowling supervised his adaptation, and left it to Jack Thorne to continue the story. On the other hand, the Cuban version retakes the story, without consulting, since Potter graduates. But its focus is from the reality of the young, the young people of that Caribbean island. They critique their environment, their challenges, using fantasy as a tool to overcome their own reality. At bottom, that Harry Potter is in the title is a rhetorical wink.

The poster design is by itself shocking; But as passionate about the subject of copyright my interest is another.

Will JK Rowling have any idea that this is happening?

Probably not. Not that she watches these things personally; But his army of lawyers with gastritis has not come across this (yet). Perhaps that is the only advantage of the lack of internet in Cuba.

But the subject is fascinating because the work and its poster point directly to JK Rowling, but the synopsis and the reviews show that the work only has a scandalous title and its development is actually of another nature - I could not go to see it, it touches me Giarme for what I heard and read of the work ... although I bought the poster as souvenir—.

Is copying a title illegal? Not really. (See, If the saga continues with an adult Harry Potter, And Harry Potter titles from the perspective of other characters)

Is using an unauthorized character illegal? Not always. "The characterization of a character begins already by the name given to him" (1), as one famous writer would say, "putting Juan Tenorio to a character saves a lot of things". (2) Latin American doctrine on the subject would agree that the single character is not protected, protect the work and development of history - except the Mexicans who put together an endless fight on account of Kiko and the Chilindrina—.

Putting aside any Latin American prejudice against Cuba, in principle, this is a clear violation of the right to adapt a literary work. In Latin America, in the world and even in Kafarnaún, explicit permission should be sought from JK Rowling to adapt his work to theater. Under the Berne Convention [1886] -of which the United Kingdom [1887] and Cuba [1997] are parties-, under Cuban law (14 Act of 1977) and the regulation of compensation to authors for the dramatic representation of dramatic works (29 Resolution 2003), it is so. Because even under its own limitations and exceptions, the play does not defend a higher social interest of the State, nor is it a non-profit making representation (if it were, the representation would be allowed but the same adaptation would have been illegal).

At least it is reaping the reputation of others.

As minimum.

What if the title is pure rhetoric? What if Harry Potter Is it just a marketing hook without background?

Nothing happens.

If it was used as a vehicle to say something else. Nothing happens. If it's just a title and a plot excuse. Nothing.

Referring to a title to "Don Juan" makes it clear that the play is about infidelity, as well as include "Potter" in the title, says it's about magic.

That the bottom of the play is pamphlet -from the critical point of the Cuban regime- reinforces this argument. The development of history, its originality, lies elsewhere. Potter is just a scapegoat in the narrative arc, a pretext. The play talks about the youth in Cuba, not a misunderstood English teenager with a scar on his forehead standing on the platform 9 and 3 / 4.

The company El Público plays on the edge of what is allowed and forbidden. And from the title is an act of provocation.

"Then, perhaps, he must pay the price of his sharpness. You can not be so honest with impunity, at least in Cuba. "

-Ana León, on the play "Harry Potter: The Magic Is Over." (Cubanet.org)

Let's hope they do not have to pay. Let's hope they do several seasons and fill the room with a thousand functions. Really.
Although we hope also, that the next, they ask the author (at least for cordiality) if they can adapt his work.


1. García Barrientos, paraphrased in Sedláková, K. (2011). The character of Don Juan as inspiration of musical composers (p. 16) (Doctoral dissertation, Masarykova univerzita, Filozofická fakulta).

2. I read it once in a writing by Adolfo Bioy Casares, but neither the Internet nor my memory have been able to help me find the fragment to make the attribution and correct quotation. If someone has it or finds it, please correct me without hesitation.