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The Da Vinci Code: A novel

Media reports on the book

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Sponsored link.

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Dan Brown, "The Da Vinci Code," Doubleday, (2003)

Read reviews or order this book in hardcover safely from Amazon.com online book store. It is also available in paperback and other formats

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bullet2006-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. 1

bullet2006-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.
bullet2006-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 actual text.

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."

Baigent said:

"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 property."

The plaintiffs were ordered to pay 85% of Random House's legal fees which could be in excess of US $1.75 million. 2,3

bullet2006-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 $24,500.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Frances Gibb and Ben Hoyle, "Author breaks code of silence," The Times, London, 2006-FEB-25, at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/
  2. "Dan Brown wins 'Da Vinci' battle. Judge dismisses claims ideas stolen from an earlier book," CNN.com, 2006-APR-07, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  3. The text of the court decision is at: http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/
  4. "Da Vinci film stokes passions," Hindustan Times, India, 2006-MAY-10, at: http://epaper.hindustantimes.com/

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Home page > Religions > Christianity > History, beliefs...  > Da Vinci Code > here

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Copyright © 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2006-APR-09
Latest update: 2006-APR-21
Author: B.A. Robinson

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