The Smoking Guns - Random House Scrapes The Bottom of the Barrel
What do I mean by "smoking gun?" Well, the concept comes from the leading expert in American copyright law, the late professor Melvile B. Nimmer whose landmark work, Nimmer on Copyright is dutifully quoted by everyone from the U.S. Supreme Court right down to law students.
Nimmer cites shared mistakes as a smoking gun that one work plagiarized the other.
The smoking gun we have revealed thus far, is the undisputed fact that The Da Vinci Code shares an error with my thriller, Da Vinci Legacy in stating that Leonardo's Codex Leicester was written on parchment.
By the time I had finished with Da Vinci Legacy, my publisher, Pinnacle, was in the process of going bankrupt. Their editorial process was in disarray and this error was edited into my manuscript. I never had a chance to review the edits or proofs before the book went to press.
As we'll see in the next post, this error appears in no other novel but my book and Brown's. It also does NOT appear in any source which Brown lists in his bibliography, nor does it appear in ANY source, either in print or on the web, written by a Leonardo expert.
Indeed, despite their provably false claim that the error appears in many places (page 33, Item 138), Random House, in footnote 20, page 22 of their April 22, 2005 filing had to scrape the very bottom of the barrel to come up with a highly obscure, technical application case history from a technology company, National Instruments(see Exhibit F, Page 28), written not by a Leonardo scholar, but by a computer systems specialist.
There are two big legal problems with this.
1. In the absence of an affidavit, there is no legal verification that Dan Brown or any other person associated with Da Vinci Code ever saw the web-based article or relied upon it.
2. The Random House attorneys claim that the article was written by a "museum official," is -- like much of their work -- technically correct in the fine print, but misleading in the impression that the person who wrote it was an expert on Leonardo.
Indeed, there is every likelihood that the article was not actually written by the name appearing as the article's author, but by a tech writer or public relations person working for Microsoft, Bill Gates or National Instruments.
I would make this guess (unconfirmed and unverified) because I once ghost-wrote these sorts of articles, case histories, application notes for many corporate executives.
With no affidavits and nothing else that confirms almost anything factual about this issue, the Random House statements have no legal basis and should not be allowed in court or given any more credibility than the hearsay and conjecture they provable are at this point.
Next post: How the public statements and documents of Dan Brown and Random House indicate that this obscure article was NOT relied upon or even known by those involved in writing Da Vinci Code.