About a year ago, as hype over the novel The Da Vinci Code was at an all time high, the publisher of the book was sued by two authors of a supposedly non-fiction book who claimed Dan Brown infringed their copyright with his novel. That original book tried to expose some historical facts about "The Holy Grail" that were used as the setup for The Da Vinci Code. In fact, Dan Brown mentions the book in his novel -- so it's not much of a secret that he used it in his research. If you're writing a historical novel, you would think that it's expected that the author would read up on the histories and theories of the times they're writing about. So, it's difficult to see how there might be a claim here. You cannot copyright facts. The original case was quickly thrown out, but the authors still appealed. Derek Coward writes in to let us know that a London Appeals Court has now agreed that The Da Vinci Code is not infringing on anyone's copyright. As the court stated, copyright "does not extend to facts, theories, and themes." This should have been obvious to anyone from the beginning, but considering how poorly researched some say the original "non-fiction" work was -- perhaps its no surprise that the authors didn't bother to research how copyrights work before filing their lawsuit. The suit is so ridiculous that it seems half likely that it was simply filed as a publicity stunt to get more attention for the original book -- so we won't even bother to name it here. Either way, it's nice to know that using historical theories in a historical novel is still perfectly legal.
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