New chapter of Da Vinci Code lawsuit to go ahead
Wed, 12 Jul 2006
Two historians who lost a lawsuit against the publisher of The Da Vinci Code earlier this year will challenge their defeat in court.
Michael Baigent, shown during the London copyright trial in March, now says he will appeal. (Alastair Grant/Associated Press) A London Court of Appeal said Wednesday that Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh have been given the go-ahead to appeal.
They claimed Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown violated copyright by taking ideas for his fictional thriller from their non-fiction book, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.
They sued Brown and his publisher, Random House, in a three-week trial that ended in April.
High Court Judge Peter Smith rejected their claim as "without merit" and ordered them to pay £1.1 million ($2.2 million) in legal costs.
Both books explore theories that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, the couple had a child and their bloodline survives to this day.
Smith said some language from The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail did appear in the bestseller, but it did not amount to copyright infringement. However, he was also critical of Brown's vague testimony about the source of his ideas.
Brown, who is said to be publicity shy, testified during the trial.
Leigh and Baigent's costs have been negotiated downward in talks following the case.
No date has been set for the appeal, but it is expected to be late this year or in 2007. Court of Appeal hearings are held in front of three judges and witnesses are seldom called.
Random House has issued a statement saying it regretted "that more time and money is being spent trying to establish a case that was so comprehensively defeated in the High Court."
The Da Vinci Code has sold more than 40 million copies and is now a film starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou.
With files from the Associated Press