The Dan Brown Code

More on Dan Brown.

Slate’s recent article, “The Dan Brown Code – In a court filing, the best-selling author of The Da Vinci Code reveals all the secrets of a pulp novelist,” by Bryan Curtis, offers some interesting insight into the mind of a failed songwriter turned bestselling author. It also makes for some amusing reading.

Also from Slate, Tim Wu’s “Holy Grail Wars” echoes many of the concerns I blogged earlier about the plagiarism lawsuit. If you don’t have time to read or listen to it, here’s the crux of it for me:

The authors of Holy Grail chose to make claims to truth—and while that gives their book a certain rhetorical power, it should also mean their work loses much legal protection. When copyright starts saying you can’t borrow claims to truth, it stops helping and starts hurting all authors.

Let’s start at the beginning. One of the basic principles of copyright law is that you can’t copyright historical facts, though you can own how you express those facts. Say you write the first article ever saying that John F. Kennedy had Addison’s disease (a fact). If the law says that you now own that fact, almost anyone who wants to write about Kennedy’s life or illnesses needs your permission. That’s a broad right, one that’s not just a damper on future scholarship and authorship but possibly a damper on that fact itself—you might, for example, be a Kennedy loyalist who wants to keep his disease secret forever.

It also appears, from the article, that the British courts have a different take on the copyright issue than American courts. Evidently, borrowing ideas from material presented as fact is okay unless you borrow too many of those ideas. What?

3 thoughts on “The Dan Brown Code

  1. I think that’s a Conservative Republican trick, too.

    Frankly, I think his wife is heavily involved in the whole thing. I think she came up with the plotline based on her research and love of the topic. He just wrote it all up. That doesn’t remove responsibility from him, though. But I still don’t think that what he did was in violation of copyright law.

    And believe me, I’m not sticking up for him because I like him or his work.

  2. I believe other Authors are jealous of Dan Browns work. I have read both Purdue’s Da Vinci Legacy and The DaVinci code and Purdue’s book does not come close to the power of Brown’s book. I say to the other Authors Lets see you write a #1 best seller

What do you think?