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Collusion with the Code3 min read

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Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, authors of the 1982 nonfiction book “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail” are suing The Da Vinci Code publisher, Random House. The lawsuit claims Dan Brown’s novel was essentially their ideas put in a fiction story.

Frankly, this story intrigues me more than Brown’s novel, because I think the real conspiracy theory is going on behind the scenes of this lawsuit.

The controversial novel was published in 2003 and within months everyone around the world knew of the book and knew the premise behind the plot – Jesus was married and the Catholic Church and other groups were working to hide that fact from the world.

Brown has admitted using Baigent and Leigh’s book, as well as several other books for inspiration and information for his bestseller. He has already survived one lawsuit last year, which involved similar claims.

What I find intriguing and suspicious is the timing of this lawsuit. Why now months away from the release of the film would this suit be brought? Were they not aware of the similarities until recently?

When I saw the news story on the morning shows early this week, my first reaction was – “Sony Pictures and those promoting the movie and book are behind this.”

The morning show had a reporter on location, covering the trial. They showed clips from the movie and specifically mentioned the opening day for the film because it “may now be in jeopardy.”

Sony could not pay for that kind of publicity. The trial is more valuable than ad they will run from now until the release date because it has them in the media on a consistent basis for free.

If someone didn’t know about the movie – they do now. If they didn’t know when it was coming out – they do now. If they weren’t interested or intrigued by the movie – they may be now.

My suspicion is that Sony is at the very least thrilled with the trial and the timing of it, if they are not explicitly involved with it. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

If I’m right, then I expect this suit to be settled a few weeks before (or right after) the film opens and everyone will get what they want. Baigent and Leigh will receive money and/or recognition for their work (possibly in the film credits), while Sony and Brown will have garnered even more media attention for the film and novel.

It seems Hollywood knows what the blogosphere knows – controversy brings in an audience, even if it is a contrived controversy.