November 1-15, 2005 Edition

Plagiarism Lawsuit

Threatens to Bar

Sales of Da Vinci Code

LONDON/10/31/05—A preliminary High Court hearing was scheduled in London October 26, pitting Random House Group and Dan Brown, author of the wildly popular The Da Vinci Code against the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail in a plagiarism lawsuit.

Authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh charge that Dan Brown copied passages from their 1982 book, and reproduces the “whole jigsaw puzzle” of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail­particularly the idea that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and established a bloodline protected by secret societies. Oddly enough, the Holy Blood book was also published by Random House Group and a revised edition has just been released by Century in the UK.

The pre-trial hearing will be followed by a full trial scheduled for next February.

Baigant and Leigh will seek an injunction to bar sales of The Da Vinci Code and the U.K. release of the film, a move that could also extend internationally. The authors want both “proper recognition” for their work and financial compensation, possibly allowing them to share in the royalties of every sale of the Da Vinci Code, thus costing Random House millions of dollars. The trial could also delay release of a Columbia Pictures film schedule for release next year and starring Tom Hanks.

Random House said it will continue to vigorously defend the claim.