PLEASE READ THESE FACTS FIRST:

  • Random House sued ME; not the other way around.
  • Random House filed suit to silence the facts I was posting on the web.
  • There has been NO trial on the facts, only the Random House effort to prevent a trial.
  • The only sworn statements made under penalty of perjury are affidavits from me and my experts, nothing from RH.
  • The judge refused to consider any expert analysis.
  • Despite suing me first, Random House & Sony UNsuccessfully demanded that I pay the $310,000 in legal fees they spent to sue me.
  • Contrary to the Random House spin, I am not alleging plagiarism of general issues, but of several hundred very specific ones.
  • This is not about money. Anything I win goes to charity.

Legal filings and the expert witness reports are HERE

I have a second blog, Writopia
which focuses on Dan Brown's pattern of falsehoods
and embellishment of his personal achievements.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Expression, NOT Ideas!

The Internet Writing Journal is a very cool site, but like a lot of media, it seems to have gotten snared in the Random House PR machine.

It has a post about the Holy Blood Holy Grail lawsuit, and like nearly everything else printed, published or posted about that lawsuit or mine, it seems to indicate that the controversy is about "ideas" or other vague and general aspects of the infringement.

That's precsely what the Random House PT juggernaut would like people to think.

And as we've pointed out numerous times, that is NOT reality. Yes, I realize the legal filings are long and obtuse, but they are available online and clearly show the issue is about specific expression and not about general ideas and concepts.

26 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

Well that's the claim isn't it? All of these elements are ideas first and expression second. Defining expression of those ideas without copying and minor changes to someone elses actual text is extremely difficult.

Tue Oct 25, 09:09:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Mark said...

A thought on the Baigent case:
Scrivener's Error

Sat Oct 29, 12:57:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

An interesting perspective, but I think their case involves more than "sweat of the brow" as asserted here.

We'll see.

At least THEY GET A TRIAL!

Sun Oct 30, 09:23:00 AM PST  
Blogger J.H.Kimbrell said...

Hi Lewis, I finally decided to create my own blog and also dropped in to see how things were going here. Recently read this on the Baigent Holy Blood case from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/books
/10/28/books.davincidispute.ap/index.html

It's a particularly lazy report that falls back on the whole "ideas" issue rather than, as you say, expression. Most Americans, in general, have yet to learn to distinguish the two. When Baigent and co. first brought their case, they stated that Brown "lifted the architecture of the Priory of Scion" which more clearly indicated he copied their expression rather than a claim of "he stole our idea". There seems to be a public misunderstanding on copyright law in that if it's based on history, it can't be copy protected, but people - CNN reporters included - don't understand that in the case of theory based on unproven history that's the shaky ground that comes back to expression and protection for the person(s) who went to the trouble of doing the research and putting that theory together. I think Brittish courts see that line more clearly.

Sun Oct 30, 12:09:00 PM PST  
Blogger Mark said...

Didn't they copy it from Plantard?

Sun Oct 30, 09:07:00 PM PST  
Blogger J.H.Kimbrell said...

They didn't "copy" it from Plantard per se. They interviewed him and he worked with them as a source on the Priory as connected to the Merrovingian kings because he and his cohorts wanted to set him up to look like he was descended from French royalty, and Baigent's research happened to play into his hands (or that is the claim now), but he didn't originally claim to be descended from Jesus. The authors put that part of the theory together themselves because another Priory of Scion did exist just before the Knight Templars. It seems that Baignet, Lincoln and Leigh tied the two different Priories together and linked them to the holy bloodline theme.

We all know now that Plantard was a fraud, but still the HB,HG authors had swallowed his story at the time and also done the research on the historical Priory. Based on all of this, they expressed a theory that was solely theirs and being in print it is CR protected; Brown lifted the structure thinking he could simply give them a verbal credit later, but it's actually infringement to do that without asking permission first or making some kind of arrangement. Were either Priory actually accepted as proven history and not mere theory, Brown would be free and clear.

Sun Oct 30, 10:52:00 PM PST  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Sure, Plantard came first, but just because they relied on his stuff doesn't mean that brown can rip off _their_ expression of things ... even if Plantard's information were factual and verified, the way that the HBHG authors arranged things and the way they _expressed_ things is their creation.

The Supreme Court has ruled that copyright protection can extend down to the level of how information in a phone directory is arranged ... the data is not protected, but the arrangement (aka "expression") is.

Mon Oct 31, 07:21:00 AM PST  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

And yes, the media are lazy. NONE of them has read the filings ... they are ALL swallowing the pap that the Random House spin machine is spoon-feeding them.

Mon Oct 31, 07:22:00 AM PST  
Blogger Mark said...

I've experimented with my project after reading the opening of the copmpetition. He used a public sorece story for his opening that I used in latter chapters. That chronology alone is enough to make both expressions original and thus, safe. Arrangement is critical, and they will look at it closely. The default though is against infringement. The bar here is strictly very high on purpose.

It seems copying the expresson of an idea is allowable, since once in the record it becomes a separate idea. Kind of like your burning priest. That's an idea.

Mon Oct 31, 09:13:00 AM PST  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

It's also a matter of scale ... one thing or two...here and there is one thing, but to have several hundred things copied and most in the same order is a different matter entirely.

This issue deserves a trial.

And why -- IF their case is strong -- is Random House so set against a trial?

There is clearly a significant difference in opinion among the reading public -- among lay readers and experts -- that needs a trial.

RH knows that if they can deny a trial, they will _never_ put this issue to rest ... and that seems preferable to whatever it is that frightens them about coming to trial.

What truth is so damning that Random House would rather have the issue linger forever, to dog Dan Brown for the rest of his career, rather than hsave a trial?

Mon Oct 31, 09:35:00 AM PST  
Blogger Mark said...

It sure has derailed his next book that's for sure. Well, summary judgment is a common strategy in a myriad of cases. Trials are expensive and folks try to avoid them at all costs if they can, so I don't that is so telling per se.

So many of the same things happening on the same pages is a red flag, and they've dusted those away so far. People with the money always guard regardless of circumstances, shady or not. Just look at the national political machine. Stickin to the story is the MO, false or not.

Mon Oct 31, 04:42:00 PM PST  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Clearly, but with so many people agreeing that plagiarism is present, you'd think RH would want to have a trial to clear the name of their golden goose ... sure, not everybody agrees, but there is clearly a difference of opinion that needs a trial to settle.

Mon Oct 31, 05:02:00 PM PST  
Blogger Mark said...

It's as if his literary career has vanished with this one great caper. It's very strange.

Mon Oct 31, 08:46:00 PM PST  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Well, RH keeps saying that his next book ... which was originally due out this year ... is really coming out next year.

It will, however, be possible to tell if the next book is written by him ... the forensic guys were totally pissed off to have their work dismissed and not to have a day in court, so they have been working on their own time doing some very interesting analysis which is headed for scholarly publication.

They have found that -- measured according to a number of metrics including word choice, placement, pacing etc. -- Da Vinci Code is more like Da Vinci Legacy and Daughter of God than it is to Brown's previous books.

Those results are being vetted for peer review as we speak.

Add that to the procedures and analysis on authorship currently accepted in criminal trials and the forensic people will be able to determine whether the next Brown book is written by the same person as Code ... or the previous Brown books.

Tue Nov 01, 07:02:00 AM PST  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

What this means is that regardless of what happens with my issues with Brown and Random House and Sony, the lack of a trial has spawned a whole new enegetic group of scholars who smell a rat and have the motivation, means, reputation and resources to carry on independently.

The longer that Random House and Sony prevent these issues from coming to trial, the more of this is going to develop.

For instance, I've been approached by a judicial reform advocacy foundation in Washington D.C. which sees my case as a cause worth supporting. Talks are ongoing.

Again, the key is that once they are involved, they're yet another independent group I cannot control which has its own beef with this case. Regardless of whether I am dead, gone, ruined, settle or whatever, they continue.

Tue Nov 01, 07:08:00 AM PST  
Blogger Mark said...

Certainly if they can prove he didn't write Code, and say, his wife did, that would be a big thing.

Wed Nov 02, 09:01:00 PM PST  
Blogger Kodewulf said...

According to this article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/4365266.stm the BBC thinks you've already lost. :(

In August, Brown won a court ruling in New York against writer Lewis Perdue, who claimed The Da Vinci Code plagiarised elements of two of his novels, Daughter of God, published in 2000 and 1983's The Da Vinci Legacy.

Perdue sought to block future distribution of the book and forthcoming film, as well as $150m (£84m) in damages, but the judge said any similarity was based on "unprotectable ideas".

Sat Nov 05, 07:51:00 AM PST  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Yes, the BBC like other Big Media outlets only listens to Random House's giant PR/spin machine.

Unlike the times when the BBC and others were actually journalists and spent the time to READ the documentsbin a case like this, non of the media has bothered to tackle the legal filings and write something original.

So, whether it's Iraq or DVCode, the "news" we're served up is actually warmed over press releases carefully spun so the lies don't show too badle.

Sat Nov 05, 08:13:00 AM PST  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

badly

Sat Nov 05, 08:16:00 AM PST  
Blogger Mark said...

Yeah they're just regurgitating what's happened no analysing it. The Judith Miller debacle is a case in point of press release reporting.

Sat Nov 05, 08:24:00 AM PST  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Exactly!

Politicians and megacorporations like Random House COUNT on media types being too lazy to do any real reporting ...

Sat Nov 05, 08:48:00 AM PST  
Blogger Mark said...

It's not the reporter's fault though. Editors dictate what the reporting will entail. They're most likely to declare the complexity of this case too much for in depth profiling and just report the scene of the accident. You know, not written for the general public.

Sun Nov 06, 12:36:00 PM PST  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Well, I think it IS the reporter's fault ... because reporters todayt are lazy.

When I did investyigating repirting back in the 1970s, I nailed a lot of bad guys and sent a few of them to prison because I spent hours and hours of my own time going through records and documents ... actually READING and ANALYZING source documents, legal filings and following up mon what I found.

"Reporters" today are too lazy to do that and simply read and regurgitate.

Yes, editors are at fault, but the biggest and weakest link are reporters who are afraid to break a sweat.

Mon Nov 07, 07:27:00 AM PST  
Blogger Mark said...

Well they won't let them break a sweat. It's hit and run from what I've seen. I had an interview where I was tossed a press release and had two hours before deadline. They published it paid me $50 and I didn't get the job. What time? It isn't allowed.

Tue Nov 08, 09:07:00 AM PST  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

I guess the puzzle ... the mystery has to be its own reward ... I used to spend hours and hours scouring ... filter-feeding things to come up with an investigative piece ... I did it because I loved the trail, the hunt.

And I really loved putting bad guys in the slammer ... or getting them investigated within an inch of their lives.

There's a "calling" here that most reporters seem deaf to hearing.

That's how I broke the Townhouse operation (Nixon slush fund) and helped break open Koreagate, start investigations of the railroads that led to safer tank cars and inspections, blew open a kid-porn operation in Los Angeles, and -- more recently -- used an internet forum and original reporting that led to class action lawsuits against SBC and the subsequent payment of millions to consumers.

The fascination with the story and justice for those being screwed always drove me to use my own time ... And the results are worth it!

Tue Nov 08, 09:45:00 AM PST  
Blogger Mark said...

That's commendable but I can't even get simple cub job. They don't allow operating on your own and would have to approve it at some point otherwise they'd never run the story if you did that digging.

Tue Nov 08, 04:41:00 PM PST  

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