April 16, 2006

Russian loony to sue Da Vinci Code author

Almost unbelievably, a Russian art historian now proposes to take our Dan to court for ripping off ideas found in The Da Vinci Code. According to The Times Online:

Mikhail Anikin, a Leonardo da Vinci expert in the Hermitage museum's Western European art department, said he would give Mr Brown one month to apologise and give up half his revenues from the book or he would take him to court in Russia and the US to seek all his earnings from the novel.

Anikin says he shared his opinion that the Mona Lisa is an allegory for the Christian church with someone from Texas who said they knew Dan Brown. That's about it, really. That's the basis for the suit. The prosecution rests.

What is it with these litigious nutballs? Is Anikin really preparing to drop a couple of million dollars on his lost cause, like Baigent and Leigh? Right at the start they were warned not to make fools of themselves, but they went ahead with their doomed lawsuit anyway. So Random House slaughtered it, vindicating Dan completely. And straight away this loony out of St Petersburg comes gunning for him.

I say we need to start a defense fund for Dan Brown right now. Let me remind you that we are talking about a man with limited resources: according to Forbes magazine, he made just $76.5 million from June 2004 to June 2005. There are quite a few CEOs in the USA who get much more than this. And they have corporations and CFOs to protect them when trouble comes. Dan is out there on his own, an independent contractor, a sensitive literary man, facing all these jealous nobodies bringing suit because they think their own pathetic little observations entitle them to a piece of the action ("Hey, I wrote an article about Opus Dei in 1999 so I deserve a few million too!").

So send your contributions (used USA banknotes or open-payee money orders, by ordinary first class post with no tracking number, please) to: Dan Brown Defense Fund, c/o Geoff Pullum, One Language Log Plaza, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6024. Our legal department here at the secret society of Language Log will ensure that the money is used appropriately.

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at April 16, 2006 08:04 AM