The Da Vinci Code Wins a Big One for Free Speech

In a victory for fiction authors, a judge in Britain has rejected a copyright-infringement claim by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. Their book was one of many sources of information that Dan Brown used while researching his blockbuster The Da Vinci Code.

As I've said before, writers need to be very worried about continuing attempts to copyright and patent protect the ideas and plots which form the core of fictional writing.

My favorite part of the judge's ruling is this quote: "It would be quite wrong if fictional writers were to have their writings pored over in the way DVC (Da Vinci Code) has been pored over in this case by authors of pretend historical books to make an allegation of infringement of copyright." (emphasis mine)

Pretend historical books! Bet the authors who sued Dan Brown wish they'd just kept their unimaginative mouths shut.


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I agree with Mr. Sanford's main point, but would like to suggest that both parties in this lawsuit may have conspired in suing one another to produce fresh notoriety - and sales - for both works. In the wake of media coverage of this suit, sales of both The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and a new edition of The Da Vinci Code climbed the charts. The roughly $2 million invested by both parties in the lawsuit was recouped many times over. (This observation is not original with me; the judge speculated, on the record, that this was going on.) Baigent, Leigh, and Brown are a pack of shyster authors.