Defense Gets Tough In 'Da Vinci' Case
The issue, Smith said, is whether that amounted to a copyright violation.
If Baigent and Leigh succeed in securing an injunction to bar the use of their material, they could hold up the scheduled May 19 film release of "The Da Vinci Code," starring Tom Hanks. Sony Pictures has said it planned to release the movie as scheduled.
Brown has acknowledged that he and his wife, Blythe Brown, read "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" while researching "The Da Vinci Code," but said they also used 38 other books and hundreds of documents, and that the British authors' book was not crucial to their work.
Brown testified Wednesday that he was certain he and his wife, who conducts much of his research, had read Baigent and Leigh's book only after he had submitted his synopsis for the manuscript that would become "The Da Vinci Code" to his agent in January 2001.
Asked about passages from "The Da Vinci Code" that were similar to those in "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail," Brown acknowledged "reworking of the passage, that's how you incorporate research into a novel."
But Brown, who traveled from his New Hampshire home for the trial, denied copying.
"I'm not crazy about the word 'copied,'" Brown testified. "Copying implies it is identical. It's not identical."
Brown said "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" was "one of the books in the mix" when he and his wife, Blythe Brown, were researching the novel.
The author did not attend Friday's court session.
Random House lawyers argue that the ideas in dispute are so general that they are not protected by copyright. They also say many of the ideas in "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" do not feature in Brown's novel, which follows fictional professor Robert Langdon as he investigates the murder of an elderly member of an ancient society that guards dark secrets about the story of Jesus and the quest for the Holy Grail.
The prosecution will present its closing argument Monday, with a verdict possible next week.
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