Yes, all the copyright experts I know were predicting this result: London’s High Court has ruled that Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown did not infringe the copyright of an earlier book, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. The decision seems to affirm a basic fact: copyright does not protect ideas or facts, and an author can draw on ideas, facts, and even fictitious histories in writing new work. A good, if obvious result, it seems to me. And now the pliaintiffs end up with a very nasty costs bill: 85 per cent of Random House’s legal costs, which could top 1 million pounds ($A2.4 million).

The judge clearly did not believe the plaintiffs. According to The Age,

‘[Justice] Smith said it was not for him to decide whether Baigent [one of the plaintiff authors] was “extremely dishonest or a complete fool”, but called him a “thoroughly unreliable witness”.’

In the end,

‘It would be quite wrong if fictional writers were to have their writings pored over in the way DVC (Da Vinci Code) has been pored over in this case by authors of pretend historical books to make an allegation of infringement of copyright’