Pyramid Poll

I finally got around to changing the poll over. The results from the previous poll show that the majority of voters believe that Dan Brown was vindicated by the judge in the Da Vinci copyright case. Remember you can access (and vote on) any of our previous polls by going to the (imaginatively titled) Poll page.

The new poll asks for your opinion on the alleged Bosnian Pyramid which has had plenty of publicity through news sources and the Internet. Is it a link to an ancient worldwide pyramid culture, was it a sacred site which was augmented by humans, or is it all a crock and simply a result of Mother Earth pushing up another mountain?

  1. I never understood their whole premise
    Reverting back to the Holy Blood, Holy Grail people suing The DaVinci Code people.

    Afaik, plagiarism is not illegal. Just unethical. Copyright infringement is illegal.

    Dan Brown obviously did not commit copyright infringement. And, technically, if not actually, he did not commit plagiarism, either.

    (some info gleaned from the annals of wikipedia; emphasis mine)

    Afaik, you cannot copyright “ideas”. You can patent the *result* of ideas. i.e.: certain details of a device, method, process or composition of matter (substance) (known as an invention) which is new, inventive, and useful or industrially applicable.

    Copyright = a set of exclusive rights granted by governments to regulate the use of a *particular* _expression_ of an idea or information.

    Copyright law covers only the particular form or manner in which ideas or information have been manifested, the “form of material expression”. It is not designed or intended to cover the actual idea, concepts, facts, styles, or techniques which may be embodied in or represented by the copyright work.

    Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty, it is a matter of deceit: fooling a reader into believing that certain written material is original when it is not. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense when the goal is to obtain some sort of personal academic credit or personal recognition.

    Plagiarism is not necessarily the same as copyright infringement, which occurs when one violates copyright law.

    Personally, I think they were just hoping that they would settle out of court for a good sum of money. I think they are only appealing because, if they do not, it makes them look ‘bad’. Plus all of the free advertising has got to be increasing their book sales to astronomical levels under the circumstances. (that is, in comparison to what they would be if they were not getting all of the extensive, free advertising)

    In other words, it’s really all just a big joke on all of us.

    Or what am I missing?

    1. Addendum
      I just read the Judgement document, and it clears a few things up. Even though it is of sufficient complexity as to make a non-attorney’s head hurt.

      From the document:

      The claim is of non-textual infringement in literary work. It is conceded that such a claim is unusual and because of its nature presents a greater difficulty of analysis than a textual infringement claim.


      “the important point is that copyright can be used to prevent copying of a substantial part of the relevant form of expression, but it does not prevent use of the information, thoughts or emotions expressed in the copyright work. It does not prevent another person from coincidentally creating a similar work by his own independent efforts. It is not an intellectual property monopoly in the same sense as a patent or registered design. There is no infringement of copyright in the absence of a direct or indirect causal link between the copyright work and the alleged copy”.


      There is nothing for example in this case (as the Claimants rightly point out in their closing) which if decided in their favour would stultify creative endeavour, obtain a monopoly on ideas or historical information or create a precedent which extends the boundaries of copyright protection in sphere of literary works. As I have set out above the Claimants by HBHG intended to create discussion and intended that discussion to manifest itself in other books articles and television programmes. It seems odd that they have only chosen to attack the DVC.

      I cannot accept Mr Leigh’s observation that the action was only started because their efforts were not properly acknowledged in DVC. First I believe (contrary to his belief) that their work was genuinely and clearly acknowledged. Anybody reading DVC and who had their thoughts stimulated to read further in this area would on looking at chapter 60 go to HBHG as the best source of the material. It is a fact that the Claimants’ book sales have benefited from DVC (and this litigation).


      Second, I do not believe that the litigation would have been commenced because of a lack of acknowledgment. An acknowledgment is an irrelevance from the point of view from infringement of copyright save in limited perhaps statutory defences which are not raised in this case.


      It is important to appreciate that the Claimants do not claim a monopoly in respect of facts or ideas as expressed in HBHG.


      …copying a copyright work is an infringement if the work or “a substantial part of it” has been copied. The Claimants’ case is not that a substantial part of the *text* of HBHG has been copied but there has nevertheless been copying of a substantial part of the work to produce an altered copy or a colourable imitation.


      …The part that is copied from HBHG must be a substantial part of it but it does not have to be a substantial part in DVC.


      Copyright protection is not confined to the literal text in literary work and changing a few immaterial words in a work that is otherwise the same will not escape liability as they rightly observe. At the other end of the spectrum however they acknowledge copyright should not protect against the borrowing of an idea contained in a work. The courts will not protect “works” through this extreme level of abstraction.


      …The line to be drawn is to enable a fair balance to be struck between protecting the rights of the author and allowing literary development. That seems to me to be a fair stance to take.


      “It is impossible to define the boundary between the mere taking of general concepts and ideas on the one hand and copying in the copyright sense on the other”.


      …What the Defendants are saying is that if what is asserted to be infringed is so general that it cannot be certain that would lead to a conclusion that it is such a level of abstraction that no protection should be afforded to it. It is important to appreciate the context in which the Defendant raised this issue, namely the uncertainty created by the Claimants’ own inability clearly to state what the Central Theme is by reason of their changes of the Central Theme. [you have to read the Judgement] The point is that if the Claimants do not know with certainty what their Central Theme is how can anybody else possibly know?

      The fact that the Defendants have conceded (with the reservation)copyright in HBHG as a whole is nothing to the point. It is for the Claimants to establish that what has been copied is a substantial part of HBHG and in this context that means a substantial part of the Central Theme in a way which seeks to exploit for the Defendant’s own benefit the Claimants’ work in producing it.


      …There is no copyright in ideas or schemes or systems or methods: it is confined to their expression…..

      and you might want to read paragraphs 160 to 185 of the Judgement:


      …ideas and facts of themselves cannot be protected but the architecture or structure or way in which they are presented can be.


      224. I should make a number of general observations. The Claimants allege that the Defendants have infringed the copyright in the original literary work HBHG. The difficulty in presenting the case is that apart from a modest minimal number of textual copyings which are not alleged to be copyright infringement, there is no case based on text comparison to support the allegation of copying let alone substantially copying HBHG.

      225. The Claimants seek to get round that problem by presenting the Central Theme. It is said that HBHG expresses its Central Theme and without it there is very little to be found in the book. The Central Theme is then used as a bridge to pass to DVC to show the Central Theme has been reproduced in DVC.

      226. It is essential therefore, for the Claimants to show that the Central Theme is expressed in HBHG, that expression of Central Theme is capable of protection as a literary work under CPDA 88 and that Mr Brown has not only copied it but has substantially copied it.


      Section 37 “Destruction of Baigent’s Evidence” starting at para. 231 is an interesting read.

      In summary (my words), the basis of their case was a copying by DVC of a substantial part of the (/a?) “Central Theme” of HBHG, and the Judge decided that was not so.

  2. Good Idea!
    I’m happy to see you also thought the Bosnian Pyramid would make for a great poll. And your question was something I’ve been mulling about in my head. Being in a rolling , mountains area, was the idea for the pyramids “suggested” by natural structures. Just how much is man made. Were they shaped and covered with the polished sandstone. Where did the sandstone come from?
    I’v seen reports of a lake at the inner base. A sacred lake/cave, or something formed over time in the tunneled out recesses. A bit “Mist of Avalon” like. I have so many questions that only time, and as little interference from to many outside expert only can answer.

  3. technological advancement
    Maybe you want to have 2 poll pages, a long term one as those that you have now. And then some short term, sillier thing for a week or two.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.