Publisher's Weekly: Standing Up FOR The Big Guy
Not surprisingly, the PW article has a solid quote from Random House and nothing from me. PW didn't bother to contact me. Of course not. Why should they? I'm not buying half the advertising in their magazine.
But it does illustrate the way that big money can bias reporting and public perception.
Publisher's Weekly STILL hasn't gotten things correct about who filed the lawsuit: Random House filed it, not me.
The piece emailed to me is below. It's a thin re-write of a Vanity Fair news release started by a new lead with a pro-Random House spin.
'Vanity Fair' Muses: Is There More to 'Da Vinci' Plagiarism?
by Rachel Deahl, PW Daily -- Publishers Weekly, 6/6/2006
Dan Brown and Random House may have been vindicated twice in the courts, but that hasn't stopped Vanity Fair from trying to reopen the plagiarism case against the publishing conglomerate and its star author.
A cover story set to go on stands tomorrow by former Newsweek writer (and, ironically, Random House author) Seth Mnookin called The Da Vinci Clone reexamines the lawsuit writer Lewis Perdue filed in the U.S. claiming his 2000 novel, Daughter of God, was strikingly similar to The Da Vinci Code. In what's mostly a looking-back meditation on Perdue's case—which he lost on April 11—Mnookin, who did a small piece about Perdue’s claims in 2003 for Newsweek, uncovers some odd footnotes to the drama surrounding the case against Brown.
The most interesting and eyebrow-raising tidbit involves "mysterious" e-mails Perdue received from someone called Ahamedd Saaddodeen. Perdue told Mnookin he thought the messages were being sent by Brown's wife (and chief researcher), Blythe. Skeptical, Mnookin ultimately finds, through "an independent database search," that "on at least one credit report" Saaddodeen and Blythe Brown share the first five digits of their social security numbers and a few addresses "from 1979 until very recently."
Although Mnookin's story here may be more about a man who lost everything trying to prove he was wronged in print—Perdue sank his life's savings into the legal battle—it also highlights the fact that Perdue may not have lost simply because he didn't have a case. Aside from the David and Goliath nature of the legal battle, the difficulty of proving more subtle forms of plagiarism is raised. When someone isn't lifting passages word-for-word Kaavya Viswanathan style it's decidedly harder to prove literary theft.
Doubleday expectedly had no comment on the story. A statement from spokesperson Suzanne Herz said: “The verdicts in favor of Dan Brown, in two United States Federal Courts and the British High Court of Justice, speak for themselves. We have heard from one of the most prestigious copyright districts in the U.S. courts with the appeals court ratifying their decision. Those opinions carry a lot more weight than those of Mr. Mnookin and Mr. Perdue. We have no further comment about the Vanity Fair story."
ADDED June 10, 2006:
In response to an email from Mark:
The most blatant example of inaccuracy (about which I complained but never received a response) was here:
"Dan Brown, the bestseller author everyone loves to sue, has won another, quieter case filed in the U.S. by Lewis Perdue, author of Daughter of God and The Da Vinci Legacy."
Also note that in this article and the most recent one, PW quotes a RH PR person, but never bothers to contact me.
Don't waste your time writing. With the advertising revenue they get from RH, they can't afford to be fair or accurate in a case like this.