Awhile back, two authors of the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail sued Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, for stealing their ideas. They lost in court, but now they're appealing the decision.
It looks like they're right to appeal. I've read both books, and it is abundantly clear that Dan Brown took their non-fiction (if crackpot) book and built a novel around it. For all I know, it may be legal to build a novel around a non-fiction work with an unusual thesis. But the judge didn't dismiss the suit on that basis. He dismissed it on the grounds that "Baigent and Leigh's claim had been based on a 'selective number of facts and ideas artificially taken out of (the book) for the purpose of the litigation,'" which is patently false. It will be interesting to see where this suit goes.
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