2006-FEB-25: Author to appear in court on copyright infringement case:
Author Dan Brown will appear as the chief defense witness in an action that
authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh have brought against Random House,
publishers of the Da Vinci Code. Baigent and Leigh co-wrote the book "The
Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" in 1982. They claim that Brown plagiarized
the "architecture" or essential theory of their book. The Times reports that:
"They say that Brown, a former English teacher from New Hampshire,
used their central hypothesis, that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene
and had a child, founding a bloodline that was protected down the ages
by secret societies such as the Knights Templar....The authors will
point to numerous specific references in Brown’s book, including the
character Leigh Teabing, whose name, they say, is a tribute to
themselves: Leigh from Richard Leigh and Teabing an anagram of Baigent."
This is a court case of phenomenal importance. Normally, copyright law is
interpreted to apply only to the actual text of a book, article, web site,
etc., not to the concepts that it contains. If the plaintiffs win, the
repercussions are impossible to predict.
On another matter, the Forbes reported that author Dan Brown, a school
teacher who lives in New Hampshire, was the sixth best-paid celebrity in the
world. He earned about US $76.5 million between mid 2004 and mid-2005; his
lifetime earnings are estimated at US $350 million.
2006-MAR-28: Status as of The Da Vinci Code book:The hardcover
edition had been on the New York Times top ten
list of hardcover fiction for 155 continuous weeks -- about three years!
It is the best-selling novel of all time. Over 40 million hardcover copies had been sold in at least 44 different languages
since its release in 2003-APR. It has spawned a series of books by other authors which attempt to separate fact from fiction in
The Da Vinci Code. On MAR-28, it became available in paperback format, and sold over a half million
copies in its first week of release. It is also available in large print
hardcover, abridged and unabridged audio CD, abridged and unabridged audio
cassette, digital download, and audio download. It has received a rating of
3.5 stars out of an allowable 5 stars at Amazon.com. Over 3,000 individuals
have posted personal reviews of the book on Amazon's web site.
2006-APR-07: UK: Dan Brown wins copyright case: As most people expected,
a British judge rejected claims that author Dan Brown had infringed the
copyright of the 1982 book, "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," written by
plaintiffs Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. The case revolved around the
limits of copyrighting -- whether the laws protect the concepts and ideas in a
written document. The judge decided that copyright laws protect only the
Dan Brown issued a statement that said, in part:
"Today's verdict shows that this claim was utterly without merit. I'm
pleased with today's outcome, not only from a personal standpoint but
also as a novelist."
"We won a moral victory for ourselves and for all other writers. The
judge said that every point that we said [in our book] had been copied
-- Dan Brown had, in fact, copied....we've taken this stand for every
other writer who's trying themselves to protect their intellectual
The plaintiffs were ordered to pay 85% of Random House's legal fees which
could be in excess of US $1.75 million.
2006-MAY-10: India: Death threat against author: According to the
Hindustan Times, the Catholic Social Forum in India has called on
people of all faiths to:
"fast onto death from MAY-12 if the government fails to ban the
'anti-Christian' film. If that were not enough, a former corporator
Nicholas Almeida, has done a Jahji Qureishi, announcing a reward of Rs
11 lakh for anyone who 'brings the author dead or alive before
him'....'We asked people to be careful while reading the book. The
impact of a movie is much greater than that of a book. If this movie is
allowed to run, there will be mass brainwashing,' general secretary
Joseph Dias said." 4
11 lakh rupees = 1.1 million rupees = US
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.