You wanted to copyright WHAT?

I just read that The DaVinci Code author Dan Brown won his suit against The Daughter of God author Lewis Perdue.

I love this quote:

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.

The Constantine bit aside, who does Lewis Perdue think he is, trying to “copyright” the notion that history is controlled by the victors?

Oooh! I’m going to copyright the “notion” that the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies are on a collision course! While I’m at it, I’ll copyright the “notion” that mercenaries are people who will perform acts of violence in exchange for money!

Based on what Perdue was asking for, it’s a good thing he lost the suit. I could care less whether Dan Brown won.

–Howard

40 thoughts on “You wanted to copyright WHAT?”

  1. You don’t have to worry, my friend.Schlock Mercenary is “more action packed, with several gunfights and violent deaths”. That protects it from copyright concerns.

    I note that the notion of owning notions is notoriously noxious.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

    1. ha!

      You fools!!! I copywrite and trademark 1’s and 0’s!!!

      The digital world shall me MINE!!!!

      “Mine is an evil laugh”…

  2. Sort of like Trump wanting to trademark the phrase “You’re fired!” (He lost to a pottery shop owner in Illinois), Paris Hilton wanting to trademark the phrase “That’s hot!” (Haven’t heard the results on that one) and the state of Kentucky trademarking its own name (Ever noticed it’s actually called “KFC” officially, now?). Some people’s children…

    1. Actually, I think they are opening Kentucky Fried Chickens again.

      It wasn’t trademark, it was “fried is unhealthy”, TTBOMK.

    2. Kentucky didn’t trademark its own name.

      Yes, you can find a Snopes page that says they did, but click on the “about this page” link at the bottom. You’ll be directed to http://www.snopes.com/lost/false.htm , which mentions that this (and several other Snopes pages) are there specifically to encourage people to not just accept things on authority.

      1. That’s because they don’t use chickens but have developed a chicken animal that is like a long chain of chicken bodies, hooked together. They put food in one end and it keeps growing more chicken bodies on the other. They just cut off the front bodies as they need some.

  3. Doesn’t “Perdue” automatically imply “Lost”? as in “recherche du temps perdue” (I need to look into the turnover of my contractors?)

  4. Wow; that guy is an idiot; doesnt even know where copyrights end and the public domain starts; and at that trying to copyright something that he DIDNT invent and wouldnt be able to copyright anyway. Who are these people; partnership collecive drones?

  5. Don’t trust the news reports to be correct.

    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 is totally false and 100% bulloffal:

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

    With that said, I’ll concede that Dan Brown won a round, but the case is far from over.

    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 at: http://davincicrock.blogspot.com/2005/05/2nd-circuit-appeals-court-decision.html

    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.

    1. Re: Don’t trust the news reports to be correct.

      Well, based on your post in here, you write more clearly than Dan Brown or CNN.com.

      The rest I’ll have to leave to you and the courts. It sounds like you’ve got a bit of work still ahead of you. Provided you don’t end up setting some godawful copyright precedent with this case (per the summaries you’ve claimed to be inaccurate), I wish you luck.

      –Howard

    2. Re: Don’t trust the news reports to be correct.

      Greetings.

      I’ve just read your entire answer and counterclaim.

      First off, I’d note for others reading that, indeed, you do NOT allege here “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.”

      Second, what you DO allege seems well founded. I would note that the similarities as noted in your filing are large, many, and extraordinary — and that these similarities represent a substantial portion of the plot, characters, setting, and in essence the overall story.

      I confess that I have not read your work, though I did (rather late) read “The DaVinci Code”. If your representation of your own works is reasonably accurate — and I suspect that this is true — you did indeed have a strong cause of action.

      It would be very interesting to see the MSJ, opp, reply, and rulings including determinations of facts.

      For Mr. Tayler’s readers — “MSJ” is “Motion for Summary Judgment. It is a motion that purports to prove, before trial, that the essential facts on which the case is based are not in real contention, and thus the trial can be avoided and judgment given to the party that files the MSJ.

      The standard of proof is pretty high; if there are “triable issues of fact”, i.e. open questions that affect the case, an MSJ will be denied and the case will go to trial. Judges, of course, can make mistakes, misunderstand, or be bamboozled by presentations. And sometimes the opposing party does a poor job of opposition. But if there are such triable issues, it should go to trial.

      MSJs are always decided by a judge; there is no jury involved.

      Apparently, Mr. Perdue’s case was decided as a result of an MSJ and did not go to trial.

      I confess to a small bit of bias: Dan Brown also wrote “Deception Point” in which he claimed that a small club that I belong to is composed of evil Republican billionaires who secretly orchestrate Presidential elections.

      I am not a billionaire. ];-)

      ===|==============/ Level Head

      1. Re: Don’t trust the news reports to be correct.

        I would tend to agree…

        WHile I am about as “lay reader” as the get, I do hold some small ability to actually understand “legal speak” (dropped on the head as a child)…

        I don’t really see anything in the judge’s decision that could be considered reversable error. Appelet (sp) courts are usually pretty loath to overturn a ruling for any reason, let alone one that doesn’t make them go “The hell was that guy thinking??”

        Correct me if I’m wrong, though…

        Also, from what Judge Daniels says in his decision, it would seem that yes, Mr Perdue did claim that using the idea ‘history is controled by the victors’ was an infringement of his copywrited works.

        As an aside, I’ve looked at the Williams v Crichton decision… Had an instructor during a legal proceedure class that was a sadist…

        1. Re: Don’t trust the news reports to be correct.

          Also, from what Judge Daniels says in his decision, it would seem that yes, Mr Perdue did claim that using the idea ‘history is [controlled] by the victors’ was an infringement of his copywrited works

          I saw that as well, after writing the comment above; I was looking for the moving papers before reading the ruling.

          Now I’m trying to reconcile Mr. Perdue’s statement that this assertion was “bulloffal” with the Court’s quoting that statement from Mr. Perdue’s moving papers.

          Here’s what Mr. Perdue said:

          This quote is totally false and 100% bulloffal:

          “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.”

          And this is from the ruling:

          The gravamen of Perdue’s complaint is that Brown copied the basic premise underlying Daughter of God:

          notions of a divine feminine, the unity of male and female in pagan worship, the importance of Sophia, the “Great Goddess” of the Gnostic Gospels, the fact that history is relative and is controlled by victors, not losers, the importance of the Roman Emperor Constantine in requiring a transition from a female to a male dominated religion, as well as to create a unified religion having a common dogma, the quest not only for physical objects, but for spiritual fulfillment.

          Perdue’s Local Rule 56.1 Statement of Undisputed Material Facts, ¶ 153; Perdue’s Memorandum of Law at 5.

          This is set up as an exact quote, and is sourced to two Perdue documents.

          (Curious; it seems unusual to source two origins for a quote, but had this been a paraphrase it should not have been indented and set off. I still haven’t seen the moving papers it’s allegedly lifted from.)

          How about it, Mr. Perdue? Is this a quote from your papers, or not?

          Incidentally, for readers: what attorneys say in such documents is NOT under oath, and is often blatant lies. This is considered to be part of the game, part of “advocacy” for their clients. A “verified” complaint is supposed to be the truth, but most complaints are not.

          Thus, quotes from Perdue’s document might not be representative of his complaint, per se. And the opposition’s statement that Dan Brown had never read Perdue’s works could also be utterly, knowingly false.

          Taking Brown’s deposition under oath (was that done here?) would change this — but perjury is surprisingly lightly treated these days. Still, it takes “guts” for a witness to lie under oath, whereas for an attorney to lie in moving papers is simply the most common strategy and not unusual at all.

          ===|==============/ Level Head

          1. Re: Don’t trust the news reports to be correct.

            That is from a summary paragraph in my documents which lead to the many scores of pages that detail the specific expressions that were copied.

          2. Re: Don’t trust the news reports to be correct.

            So it is not “bulloffal”, then — but an inappropriate place for the newpaper to get its “summary”. And apparently, the judge as well.

            Your complete and vehement denial of a partial truth is … a bit unfortunate, I think.

            Does this summary language actually appear in your undisputed material facts statement?

            ===|==============/ Level Head

          3. Re: Don’t trust the news reports to be correct.

            I believe it is “bulloffal” to represent a general summary as the essence of my case … when the case is in ther specific details.

          4. Re: Don’t trust the news reports to be correct.

            I understand. And I’m not seeking to give you a hard time.

            But, as you may have gathered, I am fairly used to reading such documents, and would still like to see the ones not apparently posted on your site — summary judgment motion/opp/reply.

            ===|==============/ Level Head

          5. Re: Don’t trust the news reports to be correct.

            Let me try this again.

            I am seeking the motion for summary judgment. The opposition to that motion, and the reply to the opposition and any auxilliary filings.

            I do not have a Pacer account, and the documents are not posted at Westlaw. I have the judge’s ruling; that’s directly on the site. But I do not have the moving papers.

            It’s very likely that I have missed them — but what I saw was a docket linking to Pacer. I confess that I am not quite interested enough to download the documents for money; it wouldn’t benefit you anyway. ];-)

            You keep posting to the site; I’m hoping for a link to the documents.

            ===|==============/ Level Head

    3. Just my opinion, but I can’t shut up.

      After cruising through that PDF with the all side-by-side comparisons, I don’t think Dan Brown plagiarized. I think it’s just yet another case of parallel development. If you gave 100 authors the same premise — that Da Vinci’s works hide a secret that could destroy the Catholic Church — I bet fully half of them would write stories as similar as (or more similar than) yours and Brown’s.

      I’ve seen so many of my premises incarnated as films or television episodes that I’m much less sympathetic to claims of plagiarism. The Hero’s Journey and mythic archetypes practically guarantee that certain events will take place, and that characters will fit certain molds. Why else does The Da Vinci Legacy have so many parallels to Daughter of God? Were you plagiarizing yourself? Certainly not — there’s just a limit to the number of faces we can put on, as Joseph Campbell called it, The Hero With a Thousand Faces.

      (Starting with that premise, what inciting incident could begin to tell the hero that there’s something deeper going on, that something foul is afoot, that something’s rotten in the state of Denmark? Well, a Da Vinci piece is stolen, to hide its secret. Or maybe it’s vandalized — or maybe only subtly vandalized, so no attention is drawn to the fact that something has changed. Meh, those are okay, but a MURDER sure ups the stakes — ooh, and then the hero is thought to be the murderer, and he’s now got stakes of life or death! If he can’t find the real murderer and unravel the mystery, his life is on the line — that’ll keep us going until we learn that the mystery is actually so big that the whole Catholic Church is on the line! Now… what secret could destroy the oh-so-patriarchal Catholic Church…?)

      I was surprised, reading Da Vinci Code, that it was as pedestrian as it was, considering the praise that was being heaped upon it. Fun enough idea, but when *I* can solve the riddles, and the Da Vinci “experts” can’t — well, then, you’ve got some story problems.

      Or you don’t. Brown made millions, after all.

      In any case, while I don’t think Brown plagiarized, you certainly present a MUCH more believable and sympathetic case than the Associated Press. I’m really surprised at how gentlemanly you’ve presented your case, considering the wrongs you’re addressing. I commend you for it.

      1. Re: Just my opinion, but I can’t shut up.

        I was surprised, reading Da Vinci Code, that it was as pedestrian as it was, considering the praise that was being heaped upon it. Fun enough idea, but when *I* can solve the riddles, and the Da Vinci “experts” can’t — well, then, you’ve got some story problems.

        I’ve noticed this in Angels and Demons as well. (I got about 40 pages in before deciding to put it down for the time being in favor of other books – but those 40 pages took me less than half an hour.)

        In particular, the recounting of the legend of an ambigram reading “Illuminati” that was rumored to exist, but four hundred years of scholars were unable to make the word fit into an ambigram. And yet, the author has it pictured for us right there on the page! And it’s not a difficult design!

        Suspension of belief? Out the window.

        (Of course, as a bit of an Illuminati geek over the past six or eight years, I found a lot of his “revelations” on the subject absolutely silly and overblown.)

        However! I suspect the original point you made is in fact one of the reasons the book did so well in the market. Your average pedestrian reader isn’t going to solve one of the riddles in the book and think “Hm. I solved a riddle that the ‘experts’ couldn’t. Something’s wrong with this writing.” Rather, the reader will go “Yay, I solved a puzzle that the smart people couldn’t! I’m smart!” and feel satisfied with the reading experience, and ultimately recommend the book to friends.

  6. more DVCode …

    The reason I have all the links to all the filings and expert reports is so that folks can BS-detect things from the original documents.

    I would find it a LOT more interesting if I wasn’t involved>

    1. Re: more DVCode …

      I’ve got no problem with you posting the links. In fact, any time someone makes claims, I like to see hypertext in the body of their message.

      I don’t apply the same standard to my OWN posting, of course, because I’m not making claims — I’m simply writing to entertain. Oh, and I’m a hypocrite.

      –Howard

  7. I am not a billionaire. ];-)

    But I noticed that you didn’t deny secretly orchestrating Presidential elections … you must be a member of the Bohemian club … in which case, why are you not here in Sonoma uh … watering … redwood trees.

    At any rate, MOJs, Rule 56 filings… everything’s here: http://www.davincilegacy.com/Infringement/

    Some interesting bedtime reading there … the prose is a bit stiff, but the plot seems to be getting better every day.

    1. Re: I am not a billionaire. ];-)

      (Aside: You keep clicking on the wrong “reply to post” button. There are two — one to reply to the initial Journal entry (that’s the link at the bottom), and then another, smaller link just below each of the replies. The result is that the threads keep getting “flattened,” instead of getting deeper.)

      1. Re: I am not a billionaire. ];-)

        oh … DUH.

        I must be as dumb as I appear in the AP article.

        Now, about that lack of denial about manipulating presidential elections …

        1. Re: I am not a billionaire. ];-)

          Neither of your response posts actually went to me; I have just now seen them only when looking to see what else was posted in Mr. Tayler’s thread recently.

          As it happens, I am not even evil, nor is the Space Frontier Foundation. And my involvement in the 2000 elections in Florida was merely in a minor role as a negotiator before the election was actually held. And this had nothing to do with the SFF.

          I do not have a Pacer password at this time, and the documents are not posted on WestLaw. If it’s convenient, links to your document numbers #24 & #25 (and #36/37 and follow ons) would be appreciated.

          Obviously this is not crucial — and perhaps these documents are on your site and I missed them.

          ===|==============/ Level Head

  8. Just my opinion, but I can’t shut up.

    I know the reading is a tough slog, but there’s a lot more detail than just the charts. The Forensic Linguist who was one of our experts said there was no doubt that brown had plagiarized me.

    As for being gentlemanly? It helps me preserve enough energyto be really mean when necessary.

  9. Plagiarism or not, all I know about it is one thing: I tried to read The Da Vinci Code, and I just couldn’t. It was too horrible. I found nothing about it to create such a stir of popularity; I have to assume that many of the readers (note, I do NOT say “all”) are fairly ignorant of history/religion and were fascinated by the alternate history the book offered.

  10. ..DaVinci Code

    The DaVinci code is not about anyone thinking “I am smarter than the smart people” Its a mystery novel. In the same vein as any number of countless mystery novels and less suspenseful than many. The fact that it is approachable to many people and involves enough conspiracy theory to allow the reader to feel like he is “in” on some secret knowledge are a big part of the draw. If you read any of Dan Browns books for illumination you are looking in the wrong place. If you want a gripping mystery novel they’re pretty good, but you will have to be willing to live with the fact that the books are written for normal people and not conspiracy buffs.

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