Publicity Stunt Or Serious Legal Issue? It's Wrong To Base A Novel On Research?

from the just-wondering dept

Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code has been a long-term best seller for reasons that aren’t quite fathomable to some of us who have read it. The book isn’t particularly well written. The story is simplistic and not all that entertaining. At least it’s a quick read. However, as has been covered extensively elsewhere, the central theme of the book mimics a (mostly discredited) non-fiction book from the 80s. Does that matter? It’s non-fiction after all. However, the authors of that original book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, are suddenly suing the publisher of the Da Vinci Code, who is, amusingly, also the publisher of their own book (which might make things a bit awkward). It’s pretty hard to see how this can be a legitimate copyright claim. In fact, given all the attention directed at the non-fiction work in the last few years due to the Da Vinci Code, the authors of the original work should be absolutely thrilled about the novel. It must have resulted in the greatly increased sales of their own work from all those people who wanted to look deeper into the idea central to the story. Also, the timing on this is suspect. The book has been out for a long time, and the connection between the two books has been known for nearly as long. It’s only now that the movie of the book is about to come out that this lawsuit comes out?

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Comments on “Publicity Stunt Or Serious Legal Issue? It's Wrong To Base A Novel On Research?”

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Sean (user link) says:

Yeah, I'm sure it's a stunt

No doubt some kind of stunt. How else do you get people re-excited about a book that was published years ago?

P.S. I suppose techdirt could be considered a blog or something along those lines, but I’ve always thought of it more as a news source. As such, it’s irresponsible journalism for the author to bash the book unless he’s doing a review of it. Just give us the facts man, leave your opinions at home.

MGray says:

No Subject Given

Seems an odd stretch.
The work of non-fiction suing a work of fiction seems strange. YOu have to show that the Da Vinci Code either steals some portion of the text or materials (which I doubt) or that some how The Da Vinci Code infringed upon some sort of copywrighted material. I think it’s a bit of a stretch.
I mean the other owners are going to have to show the court how they were financially damaged.
Heck – maybe the lawsuit is just an effort to sell their book. Since now everybody has to go read the non-fiction book. People have done a lot worse for publicity.

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