“Non-fiction” writers can sue fiction writers?


In Britain, two of the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail  have sued Random House, claiming that Dan Brown lifted "the whole architecture" of The Da Vini Code from their book. I can see one of two directions for this suit:
  1. The authors are now saying scholarship can be copyrighted. Since they first discovered the idea of Jesus marrying Mary Magdalene and the Priory of Sion (at least the first published discovery in the modern era), they now own the discovery.
  2. The authors are finally admitting, as Lincoln (the third author, who has not enjoined in the suit) did in a recent interview, that the entire framework of the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail  is based on a fraud started by an egotistical Frenchman named Pierre Plantard. Thus, as a work of fiction, they can sue Random House and Dan Brown for lifting their ideas.

On point 1: People should not be able to own intellectual discoveries of this type. If scholarship can be owned, then it becomes difficult to further advance historical knowledge, as nobody else would want to risk lawsuits to further research. This would be a disaster to our understanding of important events.

On point 2: If Baigent and Leigh are finally admitting they have spouted a large glob of male bovine fecal matter, I say more power to them. Henry Lincoln, who did not enjoin in the suit, stated recently on Da Vinci Declassified (TLC – at 3 PM EST today, may show up again) that the entire foundation of their idea was based on a fraud: the Priory of Sion was a make believe organization created by Pierre Plantard (de St. Clair), with make believe documents created by Philippe de Cherisey. Lincoln admitted Plantard told him de Cherisey created the documents, but felt the story was still important as people once believed it.

I certainly agree that fictional authors should have the right to sue someone who steals their work and "re-writes" it in slightly different words. I do not, however, believe non-fiction writers should own the history they report on. As Holy Blood, Holy Grail  was published as non-fiction, I do not see where they have a leg to stand on.

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