July 10, 2006

Defeated Da Vinci Code case historians plan appeal

LONDON (Reuters) - Two historians who lost a plagiarism
case against the British publishers of Dan Brown's bestseller
"The Da Vinci Code" plan to appeal against the verdict, court
officials said on Monday.

The officials said the appeal could take place later this
year, but no specific date has been set. The Bookseller
reported the appeal was due to be heard in early 2007.

Random House, which won the copyright case earlier this
year at the High Court in London, expressed disappointment at
the decision by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh to appeal.

"We have the utmost respect for the British legal system
and acknowledge Baigent and Leigh's right to appeal the ruling
in the DVC case," a Random House spokesman said.

"We regret, however, that more time and money is being
spent trying to establish a case that was so comprehensively
defeated in the High Court," he added.

Baigent and Leigh's lawyer in the original case, Paul
Sutton, could not be reached for immediate comment.

A judge ruled in April that the central themes which the
historians said Brown had copied from their 1982 book "The Holy
Blood and the Holy Grail" were "too general" to be protected by
copyright law even if they had been reproduced.

Brown, who testified during the month-long trial, had
expressed astonishment that Baigent and Leigh filed the suit in
the first place.

The historians faced a legal bill of more than one million
pounds ($1.84 million) after losing the case. The Da Vinci Code
has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and been turned
into a Hollywood hit starring Tom Hanks.