Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Too general to be copied

The judge hearing the plagiarism trial against Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown was told that the idea of Jesus Christ marrying Mary Magdalene is at such a high level of generality that it is not protected by copyright.

John Baldwin QC, representing The Da Vinci Code's publishers, Random House, added that themes similar in both books were known to Mr Brown before he had read Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh's earlier work, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (HBHG).

"Many of the ideas complained of are not even in both books, some are not even in either, so they cannot possibly have been copied from one to the other," Mr Baldwin said.

"In the main, the ideas complained of were not original to HBHG anyway ... the authors are seeking to monopolise information which is already in the public domain."

He said the authors' claim "seeks to monopolise ideas at such a high level of generality they are not protected by copyright".

Perfect reasoning. Indeed the publishers of HBHG could hardly claim that the notion of the scandal was borrowed from them, solely because it was the fodder that made up their 1982 book.

That would be like saying that an upcoming book on the life of Princess Di would be plagiarism because her death has been reported in mainstream media to death and is part of urban tragi-lore by now.

The case meanwhile continues, with Brown expected to testify next week.

No comments: