Report from the Da Vinci Code-Holy Blood, Holy Grail Trial
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:
"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).
[That would be The Woman with the Alabaster Jar : Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail, by Margaret Starbird.]