I was definitely nervous that the courts were going to decide to rule against Dan Brown in a copywright violation law suit. It turns out that the judge thought the suit just as ridiculous as I did.
“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,” [High Court judge Peter] Smith said in his 71-page ruling.
A victory by Baigent and Leigh would have challenged the concept that copyright protects the expression of an idea rather than the idea itself.
“A victory for Leigh and Baigent would make it very difficult for novelists, particularly historical novelists,” Fiona Crawley, a copyright expert with law firm Bryan Cave LLP, said before the ruling.
“They go to source books to research the history to incorporate into their novel. It would call into question how they can research a historical novel without being accused of copyright infringement by the historian who has written the key work on that incident in history.”
Although my first thought was that the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail were just after some of the money Brown made from his book, the lawsuit might have actually been a decent publicity stunt. According to the article, their book is now selling 6,000 copies per week compared to a few hundred before the trial. Then again, if they are forced to pay legal costs, their increased sales might mean nothing.