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US appeals court backs Brown's 'Da Vinci Code'

Written by: Staff
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NEW YORK, Apr 21 (Reuters) The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has upheld a ruling that Dan Brown did not copy elements of another writer's work in his bestseller, ''The Da Vinci Code,'' his publisher has said.

It was another legal victory for Brown after a high-profile case in London this month where a British court rejected charges he plagiarized another book, ''The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail,'' by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh.

In the New York case, author Lewis Perdue had claimed Brown's 2003 book ''The Da Vinci Code,'' which has more than 40 million copies in print worldwide, infringed the copyright of his novels ''Daughter of God,'' which was published in 2000, and ''The Da Vinci Legacy,'' which came out in 1983.

Last August, Judge George Daniels of US District Court in New York concluded: ''A reasonable average lay observer would not conclude that 'The Da Vinci Code' is substantially similar to 'Daughter of God.' ''Any slightly similar elements are on the level of generalized or otherwise unprotectable ideas,'' he said, adding that copyright did not protect an idea, but only the expression of an idea.

Brown's publisher, Doubleday, said in a statement yesterday the federal appeals court in New York had confirmed that ruling this week.

''This rapid and unanimous verdict confirms, once again, that this claim never had any merit,'' Brown said in the statement.

''The Da Vinci Code'' has been condemned by the Roman Catholic Church because the plot is based on the theory that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had children, whose descendants have endured to the present day.

''The Da Vinci Code'' remains on best-seller lists three years after its publication and a movie version starring Tom Hanks is due to be released in May.

REUTERS PR BD0848

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