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Habeas Blogus

Book reviews, more for my memory than anything else.

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Location: Austin, Texas, United States

Friday, April 07, 2006

Momentary Detour from the 25

The UK judicial system seems to have its collective head on straight. I doubt, considering the emminent domain decision in our supreme court, that a US court would have ruled against Dan Brown.

As much as I dislike Dan Brown's writing (even though I enjoy his books), it was unconscionable to me how these Holy Blood, Holy Grail authors tried to go after a piece of his earnings. My bet is, they sold more copies of that book in the last 3 years than they did in the entire ~20 years previous, as a direct result of his mention in DVC. And that's the key: plagiarism usually has something to do with trying to pass someone else's work off as your own. DB mentions Holy Blood, Holy Grail at least once in DVC, as well as several other works which have seen their sales shoot up since it was published. It should be clear to anyone that it was a source of information.

Here's a quote from the judge: “It would be quite wrong if fictional writers were to have their writings pored over in the way DVC (Da Vinci Code) has been pored over in this case by authors of pretend historical books to make an allegation of infringement of copyright,” Smith said in his 71-page ruling.

Absolutely. I have in mind the novelization of a notorious assassination that took place in the early 1970s in Spain. Yeah, there have been several books written about it, and I've read them. If I write a novel about this, will I get sued? If someone in one of those books arrives at a tasty conclusion loosely based on facts, but they're not crafty enough or they don't have the desire to court the fiction market, should I be forced to share my revenue with them? Particularly if I mention who they are, what they wrote, how they reached that conclusion, and that they forced a rethinking of the whole case?

Here's a quote from the story: "[Baigent and Leigh's] 24-year-old book is selling 7,000 copies a week in Britain, compared with a few hundred before the case began. Baigent’s new book, The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History, has an initial print run of 150,000 copies in the United States."

If someone I don't know ever sells nearly half a million copies of my book a year, 20+ years after it was published, you can bet that my lawyer will only be used to complete the paperwork for a scholarship in that person's name.

These jackasses have already shared in the revenue of DVC, because in the culture of wanting to follow this absurd book's conclusion to the end, people have thrown money at anything that would shed light on it.

If you wanted to make a ton of money off of a mountain of research and hard work, you should have packaged it up in such a way that it's possible to make money off of it. My bet is, they loved doing this work, considered it a lifelong pursuit, were happy that a non-fiction book would do as well as it did, and figured that was the ceiling for making up a bunch of Oliver Stone-like conclusions about Jesus. Dan Brown came along and made a billion dollars, and now they're slapping themselves.

These guys should be on their knees thanking Dan Brown. He made them into stars. Until people do about 7 minutes of research to find out just how stupid "the Magdeleine conclusion" really is, they're intrigued by the possibility that everything they know about Christianity is wrong. Luckily, people spend the money on crap like HBHG, The Girl with the Alabaster Jar, etc., before they start to question it.

I hear Leigh and Baigent stand to pay $1.75 million in lawyer's fees. Glad Dan Brown sold so many copies of their damn book so they could afford it.

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