The verdict is in for the copyright infringement case against Random House and "The DaVinci Code."
On April 7th, Judge Peter Smith ruled in the case filed by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, two of the three authors of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," who had claimed that Dan Brown stole the "architecture" of their non-fiction book to write his novel, "The DaVinci Code." The judge ruled in favor of Random House, the defendant.
The judge was scathing in his ruling: "It would be quite wrong if fictional writers were to have their writings pored over in the way DVC (DaVinci Code) has been pored over in this case by authors of pretend historical books to make an allegation of infringement of copyright." (Yahoo News)
Random House's chief executive was delighted: "We never believed it should have come to court and frequently tried to explain why to the claimants."
Yahoo reports that the loss may mean that Leigh and Baigent will have to pay legal costs estimated to be more than 1.75 million dollars. Of course, the lawsuit also helped sales of both "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" and Baigent's new book, "The Jesus Papers," which was released on March 28.
Publishers Weekly included a quote from Dan Brown: "A novelist must be free to draw appropriately from historical works without fear that he'll be sued and forced to stand in a courtroom facing allegations that call into question his very integrity as a person."
The ruling did not come as a surprise to most legal watchers who thought it would be a huge stretch for the judge to rule that someone could steal an "idea" or "a historical fact."