J.K. Rowling Offers Teachers Open Access to ‘Harry Potter’ During the Coronavirus

Harry Potter is coming home, for educational purposes.

Coronavirus continues to sweep the globe, and its effects have disrupted just about every aspect of daily life. Workers have either lost their jobs or been forced to severely adapt to a new work environment. Entire industries — including the entertainment industry — have all but shut down. And with schools closed, students are finding themselves confined to their homes.

As a result, the education of an entire generation has been thrown off-balance. To entertain or educate young fans, some celebrities have gone that extra mile to make the best of the self-quarantine. But few have gone quite as far as J.K. Rowling. Faced with an unprecedented circumstance, the Harry Potter author has made her famous books more available than ever.

J.K Rowling at the U.K. premiere 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald'
J.K Rowling at the U.K. premiere ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald’ | Samir Hussein/WireImage

‘Harry Potter’ sparked a global phenomenon that still lives on

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone — or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, as it’s known in the United States — kicked off the series in 1997. And before long, Rowling’s creation grew into a sensation. The 2001 film adaptation only built upon that fan base, leading to seven sequels based on Rowling’s work. The Harry Potter film series is among the biggest ever.

What has made Harry Potter such a remarkable series isn’t just the height of its success. The books sparked a widespread literary phenomenon the likes of which rarely happens this day and age. Fans of all ages waited in lines for hours just so they could start reading as soon as possible. As a result, Harry Potter is partly responsible for the young adult fantasy/sci-fi explosion that led to Twilight, The Hunger Games, and other series.

All things considered, the Harry Potter series has developed into a beloved multimedia property on par with the Star Wars saga. Even after the original series of films ended, Rowling has continued the big-screen Wizarding World by writing the Fantastic Beasts movies. So her attitude toward the series in light of the coronavirus is admirable, to be sure.

J.K. Rowling is opening up ‘Harry Potter’ to students at home

Normally, copyright laws protect any intellectual property — including written material like books — from being shared or posted online without consent. This, of course, extends to a literary series as beloved as Harry Potter. But with the coronavirus making it inadvisable for children to attend school, Rowling is willing to bend the rules a bit.

According to Rowling’s own website, the author is loosening copyright restrictions regarding her Harry Potter books. Teachers across the globe may, if they so choose, post videos of themselves reading aloud from Rowling’s series. The catch, however, is that these videos must be posted onto secure networks or closed educational platforms only. So that means uploads to YouTube or other public platforms are still not permissible.

This open license approach will continue to the end of the current school year, the site clarifies. Moreover, it’s apparently the first of “several initiatives being planned to help bring Harry Potter to children at home.” No word yet on further details there. But given the widespread love for Rowling’s work, we imagine school systems appreciate this opportunity.

Coronavirus is affecting the Wizarding World’s future

Even as Rowling is opening her iconic series to educators, the coronavirus pandemic is also directly affecting the Wizarding World. Warner Bros. has postponed production on Fantastic Beasts 3. The studio had slated the film — starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne — to begin production on March 16, 2020. However, this medical crisis led to an indefinite delay.

Initially, Warner Bros. faced criticism for holding out so long to make a decision regarding the film. After all, this situation is constantly developing, leading to the hesitation to make such a costly call. As of now, Hollywood could be irreparably damaged by this pandemic. We’ll have to wait and see what the industry — and movie theaters themselves — do next.