Copyright Lawsuit Filed on "Da Vinci Code" Author in London
Dan Brown was accused in Britain's High Court on Monday of taking
material for his blockbuster conspiracy thriller from a 1982 book about
the Holy Grail, He is the author of the the famed book, "The Da Vinci
If the lawsuit succeeds in getting an injunction barring use of the
disputed material, the scheduled May 19 release of "The Da Vinci Code"
film starring Tom Hanks and Ian McKellan could be threatened. The
accusation was made in a breach of copyright lawsuit filed against "The
Da Vinci Code" publisher Random House.
Random House denies the claim. Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh,
authors of "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail," sued Random House,
which also published their book.
Brown appropriated their ideas and themes in writing his book,
which has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide since its 2003
publication, Baigent and Leigh.
The earlier book set out the notion that Christ did not die on the
cross but lived later in France. Both books hinge on the theory that
Jesus married Mary Magdalene and they had a child, and that blood line
survives to this day.
Brown, who was expected to testify next week, told reporters
outside court that this idea had no appeal for him. The earlier book
set out the notion that Christ did not die on the cross but lived later
Brown, who described himself as a committed Christian, said
"Suggesting a married Jesus is one thing, but questioning the
Resurrection undermines the very heart of Christian belief." The case
did not relate to the theft of specific parts of text but to the
appropriation of themes and ideas, said onathan Rayner James, a lawyer
for Baigent and Leigh.
He told the court that "Brown copied from 'The Holy Blood and the
Holy Grail' and therefore the publication of the resulting novel is an
infringement of my clients' copyright."
His case was not an attempt to "stultify creative endeavor" or
claim a monopoly on ideas or historical debate, James said. But
Jonathan Baldwin, representing Random House, said Baigent and Leigh
were making "wild allegations."
"Mr. Brown has appropriated not only the numerous parts of a jigsaw
puzzle but the organizational way (Baigent and Leigh) put it together,"
Baldwin said in a comment that "In brief, the complaint appears to
be that 'The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail' discloses the idea that
Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, that they had children which
survived and married into a line of French kings, that the lineage
continues today, and that there is a secret society based in France
which has the objective of restoring this lineage to the thrones not
only of France but to the thrones of other European nations as well,
and that ('The Da Vinci Code') uses some of this idea,"
The church, founded by the Knights Templars, has reported an
increase in visitor traffic inspired by "The Da Vinci Code." The case
is being heard in the Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand, a short
walk from the Temple Church, which figures in Brown's book
The judge also ruled out any copyright violations of Perdue's 1983
novel "The Da Vinci Legacy." Brown's book also was the target of a
previous U.S. lawsuit. In 2005, a U.S. judge in New York ruled that his
book did not infringe on the copyrights of "Daughter of God," by Lewis
By: Kane Langford