Monday, February 27, 2006

The Da Vinci Co-Opt

The predicament in which Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown finds himself should be familiar to many genealogists. He based his work on the work of his predecessors—in Brown's case, the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail—and now those predecessors want credit.

And several million dollars.

The outcome of the court case in London could hinge on whether the content borrowed—including the genealogy of Jesus Christ's descendants—was factual or fictional. Here's the problem for the plaintiffs: If their book was factual, they may not have a leg to stand on. As all Internet-educated lawyers know, "You can't copyright facts," although the arrangement of those facts may be protected. If, on the other hand, they argue that the Jesus genealogy sprang from their own feverish minds, they'd better stop touting Holy Blood, Holy Grail as an "extraordinarily provocative, meticulously researched book."

The lesson for genealogists is clear: Steal only from people who didn't make stuff up.


Genealogists steal? Say it's not so!


Let's not call it "stealing." Let's call it "appropriation without acknowledgement or reciprocation." There's not a Commandment that forbids that, is there?

Post a Comment

« Newer Post       Older Post »
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...