The best selling novel The Da Vinci Code certainly isn't my taste in literature. But the current London High Court case in which the book's author Dan Brown is the defendant (via his UK publisher Random House) has an importance far beyond the literary value of the book. Authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh have brought the action, claiming Brown stole "the whole architecture" of research used in their 1982 book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.
The implications are far-reaching if the High Court rules in favour of Baigent and Leigh. They are not claiming that Brown copied parts of their work verbatim. Instead they are suing because they allege that Brown took the output of their own research, remixed it and published it in a different form as The Da Vinci Code.
On An Overgrown Path has repeatedly pointed out that remixing is a central component of creativity, and is used in everything from blogs (part of this article is a remix of yesterday's Observer article by Nick Cohen) to Shostakovich's Fifteenth Symphony. Forget about the effect of Mr Justice Smith's decision on royalty rich Dan Brown. A High Court ruling that copyright gives protection against remixing, as well as wholesale plagiarism, could put a lot of genuine artists, from Bach to Berio, on the wrong side of the law.
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Remix resources On An Overgrown Path include Culture is remix * Guilty of remix? * Wikipedia is remix * Great minds think alike .. *