Please bear with us here if we’re a little bit vague, for legal reasons, but there’s quite an interesting squabble building on and off the Web about a certain book-that-will-not-be-named and its unauthorized early release. Earlier this week, an Internet retailer shipped copies of this much anticipated novel to customers, despite the fact that the publisher has embargoed its release until 12:01 AM tonight, British time.

Not long after that, this book-that-will-not-be-named was available on a peer-to-peer-site-that-will-not-be-named, and lawyers for the publisher got to work warning anyone and everyone who has posted a link to or even made mention of the site that they might be subject to legal action. They’ve even gone after several major newspapers. (Hence all the vagaries.) Now, why are a bunch of science and tech geeks interested in this little scrum? While we are intrigued by how the plot of the book-that-will-not-be-named plays out, the implications for downloading media content on the Web could prove far more interesting. We’d post a link or two here for you to find out more, but to be honest, we’re scared of those lawyers. —Gregory Mone

UPDATE: The plot thickens, as a Canon spokesman has indicated the possibility of tracking whomever leaked the page-by-page photos of the oh-so-mysterious book by lifting the leaker’s camera’s serial number from the images’ embedded EXIF metadata. If the camera has ever been serviced, there’s likely a name and address assigned to the serial number in Canon’s info database. Pretty sleuthy, in a Big Brother sort of way.