‘Da Vinci Code’ Cleared


A judge has ruled that Dan Brown‘s The Da Vinci Code does not infringe on the copyright of another author’s books, according to a report by Yahoo! News.

Author Lewis Perdue claimed material in the mega-hit novel was lifted from Perdue’s own The Da Vinci Legacy and Daughter of God. Perdue posted detailed forensic evidence online that compared both novels. Included in this evidence was the claim that both The Da Vinci Code and The Da Vinci Legacy contain the same fact error centering on a document known as the Codex Leicester. This work, by Leonardo da Vinci himself, was originally written on linen paper; in his novel, Perdue mistakenly records that it was written on a different kind of material. Perdue says that Brown repeats this same error despite the fact that there is no source other than Perdue’s book. This is why he refers to this error as a “smoking gun.”

Perdue is ready to press forward and is chronicalling his ongoing efforts in his Blogspot blog, The Da Vinci Crock.

UPDATE: Please check the comments: Lewis Perdue had added a response to this situation that clarifies some of the headlines you might have read and his position on the ongoing battles.

1 Comment

  1. About this Dan Brown thing: He won a round, but the case is far from over.

    The headlines were wrong that the judge has cleared The Da Vinci Code of copyright infringement issues or that the issue has been settled.

    Contrary to the headlines, Judge Daniels did not “acquit” Brown, but quite to the contrary, acknowledged that there were many similarities in the setting, plot and characters, in other words the key ideas making up my books. However, in one of those interesting quirks of law, he found that Brown’s expression of the ideas was different and, therefore, that in the legal meaning of the word he had not plagiarized. We believe the evidence the Judge improperly excluded from consideration proves that my expression was infringed upon, not merely my ideas.

    There has been no trial on the issues. What occurred exploits a quirk in American copyright infringement law whereby all facts and expert witness testimony can be excluded from consideration. This quirk is the “lay reader” test which says that the judgement relies on the gut-level response of an average reader as to whether similarity exists or not.

    Ironically, the controversy with Da Vinci Code began with average “lay” readers – strangers who sent me unsolicited emails saying they felt I had been plagiarized. While this is a self-selected population, those who feel I have been plagiarized run approximately 10-to-1 in my favor. This indicates there is a substantial legal question to be addressed.

    But NONE of those true, average “lay” readers – many of whom were identified in our legal briefs –counted. Only one reader counted in this case: Judge George Daniels who obviously fell into that 1-in-10 category. Because of that, I did not get a trial. Justice demands that a jury hear the evidence.

    The summary judgment process has an admirable goal: to keep frivolous lawsuits from clogging up the courts. However, as my legal team amply demonstrated with expert testimony and hundreds of solid examples of fact and similarity, this legal action is well-founded on fact, raises substantial unresolved issues and deserves a trial.

    The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has been clear on the following issues:

    (1) Summary judgement should NOT be granted unless there is “no genuine issue of material fact.”

    (2) The Court should, “resolve all ambiguities and draw all inferences in favor of the non-moving party.” I am the “non-moving party.”

    (3) A motion of summary judgement should NOT be a decision on whether copyright infringement has taken place. “Clearly, the duty of a court on a motion for summary judgment is to determine whether there are any genuine issues of material fact to be resolved by trial and not to decide factual issues.”

    (More details about this as well as the case citation can be accessed on my blog.

    Thus, I believe Judge Daniels erred in his decision. In addition, item (3), above, makes it clear that the Judge’s decision should not be considered a decision on the merits of whether copyright infringement has taken place.

    Furthermore, I have never claimed to have copyrighted a notion, a fact, a plot, a bit of history, an idea or any other nonsense.

    This quote from the judge’s decision is totally false:

    “Perdue alleged that Brown copied the basic premise of Daughter of
    God, including notions that history is controlled by victors, not
    losers, and the importance of the Roman Emperor Constantine in
    requiring a transition from a female- to a male-dominated religion.”

    Just totally incorrect. Take a look for yourself at the original legal papers (including the expert witness reports) filed with the court, at: and you’ll see that “expression” is what was infringed and what this suit is about.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.