I just received an email from an ‘insider’ friend in London who says that the copyright court case concerning The Da Vinci Code (see a partial history here) has been thrown into confusion this morning, with the Catholic Church launching a cross-claim against both Dan Brown and the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. Apparently lawyers for the Catholic Church are claiming that Dan Brown, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh have all breached the Catholic Church’s copyright on information held and owned by them. Citing never before seen documents in the Vatican Archives, they claim that ideas central to both books – that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child, and that this bloodline exists to this day – have been plagiarised from real historical documents which the Catholic Church has kept concealed for centuries.
As my insider friend wrote to me: “It’s a unique day, not only in court history, but also in religious history and in other ways too. Some might think the Catholic Church to be fools, coming out with this information, but then when you look at the profits to be had – and the control they will now have over the ending of the film version of Brown’s book – perhaps this is a mind-f**k which has been in the planning for some time.” Certainly seems to be a power-play, with the express intention of removing Dan Brown and Michael Baigent as threats to their authority.
Interestingly, the 1st of the 4 documents released to the press says that the Catholic Church’s agent is accepting bids on the film rights to the ‘real’ story of Jesus’ life – and, funnily enough, that Martin Scorcese would be the preferred choice as director due to his “previous experience”. I’ll update further on this tomorrow.
Update: Yes, in case you missed it, this was our usual April 1st prank. Besides the utter incomprehensibility of the Catholic Church owning up to documents proving that Jesus got married and had kids, the other in-jokes were “unique day…in other ways too”, “to be fools”, “perhaps this is a mind-f**k”, and “the 1st of the 4”. And the Scorcese bit was just some icing on top. Thanks for the good humour everyone took it with. Cya next year!