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One of the dumber lawsuits we've seen

Idea for ‘Da Vinci Code’ Was Not Stolen, Judge Says

LONDON, April 7 — A High Court judge ruled on Friday that Dan Brown did not steal the idea for his stratospherically successful thriller, “The Da Vinci Code,” from an earlier book, and he cleared Mr. Brown’s publisher, Random House, of accusations of copyright infringement.

In issuing his opinion, Justice Peter Smith said Mr. Brown had indeed relied on the earlier work, “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail,” in writing a section of “The Da Vinci Code.” But he said two of the authors of “Holy Blood,” Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, had failed in their effort to prove that Mr. Brown had stolen their “central theme” because they could not accurately state what that theme was.

Mr. Baigent and Mr. Leigh sued Random House U.K. (which is also their publisher), claiming that “The Da Vinci Code” had stolen the “architecture” of their book — the steps they took to reach their conclusions — and thus was guilty of copyright infringement. (The book’s third author, Henry Lincoln, did not take part in the suit.) “It would be quite wrong if fictional writers were to have their writings pored over in the way ‘The Da Vinci Code’ has been pored over in this case by authors of pretend historical books to make an allegation of infringement of copyright,” Justice Smith wrote in his decision.

I seriously don’t understand what they thought was the problem. Holy Blood, Holy Grail is ostensibly a historical work. You don’t get to claim a fictional book dealing with the same events is copywright infringement.

One of the authors, Michael Baigent, has a new book out called The Jesus Papers. I flipped through it, but I didn’t have the patience to find exactly what he was claiming proves Jesus survived crucifixion (among other things). I suspect he has nothing. I do like how the book’s description calls Baigent a “leading expert in the field of arcane knowledge.” Normally that’s called bullshit or conspiracy theories.

UPDATE: An Amazon reviewer says his evidence for Jesus not surviving the crucifixion is a painting. That’s why he’s an expert in arcane knowledge and not a historian, I guess.

Categories: Religion
  1. April 10, 2006 at 10:46 am

    I love how the lawsuit didn’t show up until the movie was set to come out. I mean, where was this guy when “The Da Vinci Code” was first published?

  2. April 10, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    Enjoying the uptick in sales of Holy Blood, Holy Grail? They shouldn’t be suing Brown, they should be thanking him.

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