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Baigent and Leigh v The Random House Group Ltd

[2007] EWCA Civ 247

Case summary last updated at 29/01/2020 17:32 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Baigent and Leigh v The Random House Group Ltd

C published a non-fiction book, “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail” based on proposition that Jesus’ bloodline had survived. D wrote the fictional thriller “The Da Vinci Code” based on same main idea. D had access to C’s book when writing Da Vinci Code, and C claimed for breach on grounds C had copied 15 Central Theme elements. Held:
 
·        Parts allegedly copied by D were not protected by the literary work copyright subsisting in HBHG
Ø  parts allegedly copied were merely general propositions at too high a level of abstraction to attract copyright
Ø  thus fell on wrong side of ideas/expression divide
·        In addition, what D had taken from C’s work wasnot sufficiently substantial to qualify for copyright protection
Ø  the Central Theme was not a substantial part of HBHG
Ø  was simply a selection of similar features compiled in order to give impression of copying

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