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, March 07, 2006

Report from the Da Vinci Code-Holy Blood, Holy Grail Trial

I am extremely fortunate to have a European friend who has been keeping an eye on the Da Vinci Code-Holy Blood, Holy Grail trial. This friend wishes to remain unidentifiable in order to avoid a range of repercussions.

The latest dispatch is below and covers the re-convening of the trial today, March 7. The dispatch adds valuable "color" lacking in media reports. I have added [my comments in brackets].

"In Court 61 in the Royal Courts of Justice this morning, about 30 of us sat while another 30 stood about. Baigent and Lee came in like two aging hippies and Dan Brown came in looking rather thinner and less dapper than his photos.

"Mrs Brown was not there and the counsel made a brief mention that she would not be testifying."


[
I am not surprised that the book's key researcher, Blythe, is _not_ on the stand. I imagine that having her under oath could be devastating to Random House. It is, however, surprising given the extensive role that Brown says she played. ]

[On the other hand, if the Random House lawyers can successfully deprive the judicial process of her valuable testimony, then they have a public relations coup: Brown may very well be able to say, truthfully, that he did not read the books in question. And by other skillful coaching by lawyers, Brown may be able to skirt the edges of perjury in his answers. ]


"A few interesting things came out before testimony:

"A few items that were originally claimed to have been copied from HBHG have been dismissed because DB's lawyers can show ... wait for it ... he copied them from a different source, not HBHG. There was a hint that the copying was "textual" (word-for-word?) but that it was of very brief length.

"Baigent and Lee had to declare a list of "central themes" they allege that DB has infringed upon. They came up with 15.

"The case revolves around these central themes and whether they are copyrightable. My guess is they aren't, but seeing how the case revolved around that rather than broad similarities was interesting to see. Baigent was the only witness I saw but he had a very rough time of it.

"Although I am a bit out of sympathy with Baigent, his cross-examination was pretty rough. There was a lot of attention taken to the original proposal to the publisher that itself did not contain many of the 15 central themes ("how can they be central themes if they aren't in your outline?" was a frequent question).

"Of course, the outline pre-dated the book by about 3 years. Anyways, Random House went on about that for a while, but I think the judge was sympathetic to Baigent on that because, in reality, most finished books do not adhere rigidly to the original proposals.

"The judge wasn't so supportive on issues of "other people share my belief" that was included in Baigent and Lee's complaint -- their examples, while referencing the similarities between DVC and HBHG did not reference the 15 central themes, so Baigent was forced to admit that his complaint on that score was either incorrect, false or (his words) 'infelicitous'."


[Despite erroneous media reports that echo the Random House party line, my case hinges NOT on general themes or broad claims but on several hundred very specific and identifiable instances of copying that were comprehensively analyzed by forensic linguist Johgn Olsson, but which the trial judge refused to admit into evidence.]

"The judge forced him to make a few of these admissions. Not very helpful, I think, to his case -- moral: if you cite other people, make sure that you have a statement from them supporting what you're saying they wrote."


[In my case, we introduced into evidence a numbed of unsolicited emails from strangers callig my attention to what they saw as plagiarism of my books by The Da Vinci Code.]

"I imagine several of the people cited might well have agreed with Baigent, they just didn't write it out in a way that coincided with a claim of copyright (as opposed to plagiarism).

"They mentioned a few other books that Dan Brown used for his notes, I recall this one: Woman in the Alabastar Jar (might be off by a bit in the title)."

[That would be The Woman with the Alabaster Jar : Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail, by Margaret Starbird.]

"The judge indicated that the important feature of the case was the *order* in which DB did his research and whether some of these other sources stemmed from HBHG and when he read HBHG and what he used ("cribbed") of it."


6 Comments:

Blogger RC said...

Interesting...thanks for the extensive post.

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

Tue Mar 07, 02:24:00 PM PST  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

The kudos should all go to Da Vinci Crock's London correspondent!

Tue Mar 07, 02:44:00 PM PST  
Blogger Mark said...

Hear hear for the reporter.

Tue Mar 07, 05:11:00 PM PST  
Blogger para mim said...

Come on! Why does nobody says that on chapter 37 of the DVC Dan Brown wrote that the persecution to the Templars was an operation "worthy of CIA", and in chapter 3 of the HBHG is written "worthy of SS or Gestapo"?! Of course he had some "inspiration"...

Tue Mar 07, 05:34:00 PM PST  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Ah, but "inspiration" is not plagiarism.

Something can be derivative without being criminal. Otherwise, most Hollywood movies and Prime Time television would be against the law.

...

...

Come to think of it, most of that offal probably SHOULD be illegal!

Tue Mar 07, 06:39:00 PM PST  
Blogger Mark said...

Yeah, like the latest Best Picture, a bad Lawrence Kasdan knockoff. Really bad.

Tue Mar 07, 08:36:00 PM PST  

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