Monday, April 10, 2006

Da Vinci Code case implications

What are the implications of Dan Brown's successful defence for breach of copyright?

Jon Silverman has a good summary for the BBC.
Since there is no copyright in an idea, any claim for breach of copyright must rest on the way that the idea is expressed.

In this case, it was described as the "architecture" or "structure" of the work, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.

The plaintiffs claimed that this structure - the central theme - had been lifted by Dan Brown for the Da Vinci Code.

The judge rejected this claim even though he said that Brown had copied some language from the earlier book.

But to suggest, as Gail Rebuck, the chief executive of Random House, did outside court, that the judgement represented a significant victory for creative freedom, is probably going too far.

The judge himself acknowledged that nothing in the plaintiffs' case would have stultified creative endeavour or extended the boundaries of copyright protection.
There's comment from most of press, including The Daily Telegraph. A summary of the judgement appears in The Times.

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