Few people haven?t ? after all, Dan Brown?s novel about the progeny of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene has sold more than 40 million copies since its release three years ago, and has stirred up debate among members of both the religious and secular communities.
However, Brown?s book is currently causing a new kind of controversy ? a legal one. That?s because the authors of the nonfiction book ?The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail,? Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, are suing publisher Random House for copyright infringement.
Ironically, Random House is also the same company that published ?The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail? in 1982.
These two authors get the award for biting the hand that feeds them. Not only have they spurned a company which graciously published their work more than 20 years ago, they?re also spitting in the face of Brown, who cited their ideas on the copyright page of ?The Da Vinci Code,? named a character in his story (?Leigh Teabing?) after them, and even mentioned ?The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail? in his story on top of all that.
Understandably, Brown?s reaction to Baigent?s and Leigh?s allegations is one of shock. ?I remain astounded by the claimants? choice to file this plagiarism suit,? said Brown.
The millionaire author, along with his lawyers, is currently defending their case in London?s Royal Courts of Justice.
Interestingly enough, since the fiasco began, sales of ?The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail? have gone up in Britain from 350 copies/week to 3,000 copies/week.
Naturally, this invites the suspicion: Are Baigent and Leigh using their lawsuit as nothing more than a publicity stunt?
Whether this is their intention or not, the two authors need to realize that Brown?s building upon their theory doesn?t constitute copyright infringement. Isn?t that the very purpose of developing a theory and releasing it to the public so people can expand upon and test the ideas behind it?
In fact, the Holy Grail is surrounded by multiple theories, none of which have ever been proven.
For Brown to choose Leigh?s and Baigent?s theory for his book, research it and credit them in his novel the way he did should make them both feel honored. On top of that, they should be grateful to him for making them even more famous than they already are.
Baigent?s and Leigh?s lawsuit illustrates their callousness to the writing industry by showing how ungrateful they are to those who have helped them become who they are.
The Royal Courts of Justice needs to recognize that this whole situation is a farce and allow Brown to keep his name clear by rejecting this ridiculous, insulting lawsuit.