This is an html version of the HM Courts Service judgment
generated by G o o g l e.
The original rendering has been amended by Nick Holmes to enlarge and highlight the
"smithy code".

Baigent and another v The Random House Group Ltd (The Da Vinci Code)
Page 1
Neutral Citation Number: [2006] EWHC 719 (Ch)
Case No: HC04C03092
Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
Date: 07/04/2006
Before :
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Between :
(1) Michael Baigent
(2) Richard Leigh
- and -
The Random House Group Limited
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Mr Jonathan Rayner James QC and Mr Andrew Norris (instructed by Orchard Brayton
Graham LLP) for the Claimants
Mr John Baldwin QC and Mr James Abrahams (instructed by Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP)
for the Defendant
Hearing dates: 27th, 28th February, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th and 20th March
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Approved Judgment
I direct that pursuant to CPR PD 39A para 6.1 no official shorthand note shall be taken of this
Judgment and that copies of this version as handed down may be treated as authentic.

Page 2
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
- 2 -
2 The Claimants
Writing and Publication of HBHG
4 The Mystery
5 Analysis of HBHG
6 A Central Theme
7 Dan Brown
8 Researching and writing DVC
9 Analysis of DVC
10 Complaints by Claimants
11 Proceedings
12 Defendants Seek Clarification
13 Lewison J Order
14 Changes in Pleadings
15 Changes
16 Significance of Central Theme
17 Treatment of Central Theme
18 Defence
19 The VSS
20 Outline
22 Copying a Substantial Part of HBHG
23 IPC Media
24 Green v Broadcasting Corporation
Authorities in Non Textual Infringement Cases

Page 3
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
- 3 -
26 Ravenscroft
27 Designers Guild
28 The Defendants Contentions
29 The Synopsis
30 Use of Books in Writing The Synopsis
31 Criticism of Dan Brown on Books Available when Synopsis written
32 Absence of Blythe Brown from the Trial
33 Use of HBHG by Blythe Brown/Dan Brown
34 General Observations
35 Non Protection for Ideas and Facts alone
36 Baigent on Central Themes
37 Destruction of Baigent’s Evidence
38 Change of Course by the Claimants
39 Claimants Closing on Central Themes
40 Claimants Difficulties of Formulation
41 Reason for rejecting Central Themes
42 The Task of Analysis
43 Central Themes, What are they?
44 Natural Chronological Order
45 False Creation
46 Conclusion on Rejection of Central Themes
47 Use of HBHG
Central Theme 1
Central Theme 2
50 Central Theme 3
51 Central Theme 4
52 Central Theme 5
53 Central Theme 6
54 Central Theme 7
55 Central Theme 8
56 Central Theme 9
57 Central Theme 10
58 Central Theme 11
59 Central Theme 12
60 Central Theme 13

Page 4
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
- 4 -
61 Central Theme 14
62 Central Theme 15
Jesus Survives
Langdon Reveals
Mr Leigh
Mr Brown
Blythe Brown
Mr Ruben
Mr Janson-Smith

Page 5
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Peter Smith J :
The two Claimants Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh claim that the novel The Da
Vinci Code (“DVC”) is an infringement of their copyright in their book The Holy
Blood and The Holy Grail (“HBHG”).
The Claimants are two of the three authors of HBHG. The third author, Henry
Lincoln is not a claimant and does not participate in the claim. No point is taken
about his non participation. Nor is there any claim that the Claimants’ title to sue in
respect of their interests in that copyright by reason that they had been two of the
three joint holders copyright.
DVC was written by Dan Brown who lives and works in America. The Claimants’
case is that in writing DVC he produced a book which is an infringing copy of
HBHG. The Defendant to the proceedings is The Random House Group Ltd
(“Random”) which is responsible for the publication of DVC in the United Kingdom.
Dan Brown is not a Defendant, but Random relied upon his witness statements and
his evidence in this action. In reality Mr Brown is on trial over the authorship of
By virtue of various mergers and acquisitions Random publishes both HBHG and
DVC. Further a film production of DVC is apparently in the offing starring Tom
Hanks with a scheduled release in May 2006. It is a testament to cynicism in our
times that there have been suggestions that this action is nothing more than a
collaborative exercise designed to maximise publicity for both books. It is true that
the book sales of both books have soared during the course of the trial (in the case of
HBHG it is said to be a tenfold increase).
I am not in a position to comment on whether this cynical view is correct but I would
say that if it was such a collaborative exercise Mr Baigent and Mr Brown both went
through an extensive ordeal in cross examination which they are likely to remember
for some time.
The Claimants
The Claimants together with Mr Lincoln spent 5 years researching HBHG between
1976 and 1981 leading to its publication in 1982. As will be seen later in this
judgment HBHG was preceded by a number of television documentaries. Mr Baigent
said that he had spent 75% of his waking hours during that period researching various
points underpinning HBHG.
He was born in New Zealand and moved to England in 1976 and had an interest in
religion “esoteric” thought. After completing studies at university culminating in a
BA in psychology with comparative religion and philosophy he developed a private
interest in the Knights Templar.
- 5 -
Mr Leigh was born in New Jersey and after secondary education completed a BA in
English Literature at Tufts University Boston. He became interested in the Grail
Romances whilst an undergraduate and also steeped himself in comparative religions.
Thereafter he completed an MA at the University of Chicago in comparative literature

Page 6
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
and studied for a PHD at the State University of New York. After various part time
teaching jobs he moved to London so as to be able to maintain the lifestyle that he
wanted (he describes it as genteel bohemianism). There he met Henry Lincoln at a
lecture course held at the Wrekin Trust Summer School. During those lectures Henry
Lincoln digressed about a village in the South of France called “Rennes-le-Chateau”
and the mystery relating to the village. This led to Henry Lincoln showing to Mr
Leigh a key document used for the writing of HBHG the “Dossiers Secrets”. It was
this document and its possible link to the Templars that interested Mr Baigent and led
to the three of them collaborating in producing HBHG.
HBHG was written mostly by Mr Leigh. He had the benefit of input of research from
Mr Baigent and discussions with him and Henry Lincoln.
A more detailed analysis of how they created HBHG is to be found in Mr Baigent and
Mr Leigh’s witness statements. None of this is in dispute.
Writing And Publication Of HBHG
The book was first published in 1982 and was a tremendous success. The Claimants
described their book as being one of “historical conjecture”. By this I understand
them to be saying that they have researched the matter and as a result of that research
are able to make hypotheses about various particular points and suggest that they
might be plausible without actually committing themselves to whether or not they
believe them to be correct. Mr Baigent hypothesised that the way in which they
presented their research was not orthodox and used techniques which had been
criticised by orthodox historians such as giving weight to folklore legends and using
literary work to help strengthen the plausibility of the argument. It is therefore
suggested by Mr Baigent that HBHG is a book written “for ordinary people” and that
is why Mr Leigh used techniques usually seen in novels.
There were discussions following publication about making a film but these did not
come to any clear conclusion.
Publication of HBHG was preceded by the preparation of the book proposal (“The
Outline”) by Mr Baigent, Mr Leigh (under the pseudonym Bardmont) and Mr
Lincoln. The outline starts with a proposition that Jesus was not a poor carpenter
from Nazareth but a Jewish aristocrat who was in addition a priest-king, married and
he had children who after “the alleged crucifixion” were smuggled to a Jewish
community in Southern France where the bloodline was perpetuated. It is said that in
the late 5th century the Roman church seeking to establish its supremacy throughout
Christendom made a pact with Jesus’ line and bound itself forever to the Holy Blood
but betrayed that 180 years later and connived at the assassination of Jesus’ lineal
descendant and arrogated to itself the right to create Kings. Fortunately apparently,
the Bloodline was not extinguished and continued through the centuries and played a
major role in the instigation of the Crusades, was instrumental in the foundation of the
Knights Templar and played a vital role in other historical enigmas then shrouded in
secrecy. Finally it was asserted there was a secret order in France still in existence
pledged to the protection and support of the Holy Blood with the avowed objective of
establishing a new sacred and universal monarchy.
- 6 -

Page 7
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
It also suggested that they approached research in a different way. They called this
“synthesis” (a theme referred to in HBHG at page 324) which ascribes the benefits of
looking at historical events not merely from the point of view of technical historical
researches but also from the point of view of persons interested in literature. It was
this combined interest they suggested that led them to the merger of the two lines of
thought and to their “conjectural” proposition that the bloodline of Jesus not only
survived in France but merged with the Merovingian bloodline around the 5th century
and carried on. This possibility they suggest only occurred to them because of their
specialist historical approach combined with their combined specialist literature
approach (in the medium of Mr Baigent and Mr Leigh respectively).
The Mystery
The major part of The Outline sets out from a priest called Berenger Sauniere who
was the parish priest at Rennes-le-Chateau. It is said that he found secrets hidden in a
hollowed out Visi-Goth column in the Church which gave him access to great wealth
far beyond what he could have earned from his living as a priest.
The investigation of this localised mystery featured in at least one of the television
programmes preceding HBHG. The investigation of this story led according to The
Outline to various other mysteries and to a collection of documents in the
Bibliotheque Nationale called the Dossiers Secrets. The Dossiers contained one page
attesting the existence of a serious organisation called the Ordre de Sion said to have
been founded in 1090 by Godfroi de Bouillon 9 years before the First Crusade. It is
alleged that in 1188 it was re christened the Preure de Sion et L’Ordre de La Rose
Croix Veritas. The list of Grand Masters went down through a long list of names
culminating in Jean Cocteau who was the Grand Master supposedly from 1916. The
text then goes on to refer to the legend of the Holy Grail and their conclusion that
there might be some linkage between the Merovingian bloodline and the Grail. It was
speculated that it might be Joseph of Arimathea or Jesus and that it was suspicious
that it appeared at the same time as the peak of the Crusades when Godfroi (a
Merovingian descendant allegedly) had conquered the Holy Land and had been
proclaimed King (sic) of Jerusalem. They led to the conclusion that Mary Magdalene
was carrying the blood royal in fact Jesus’ bloodline so she had Jesus’ children. She
then founded a line when taking refuge in the South of France which intermarried
with the Franks (sic) to produce the Merovingians.
This outline led to HBHG.
Analysis Of HBHG
In the introduction to HBHG Mr Lincoln sets out how the idea for HBHG developed.
It started with a “Chronicle” film created by him and screened in February 1972 “The
Lost Treasure of Jerusalem?” This was based on the Sauniere discovery and the
possible linkage of Rennes-le-Chateau to a painting by Nicolas Poussin “The
Shepherds of Arcadia”. It was suggested that the famous portrait was of a tomb near
Rennes-le-Chateau. The Second Chronicle film “The Priest, The Painter and The
Devil” expanded on the connections between Sauniere, Poussin and Devil worship.
- 7 -

Page 8
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
The third “The Shadow of the Templars” concentrated on the Templar role if any in
the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery.
All of the films therefore centred on Rennes-le-Chateau. However HBHG was a
follow up as he says when he closed the last film with “something extraordinary is
waiting to be found…. and in the not too distant future, it will be”. HBHG is said to
be what the something is and how extraordinary discovering of it had been.
Later editions had an additional 1996 introduction. It is interesting to see that in that
introduction the authors recount the way in which HBHG attracted huge attention
from religious groups and the extraordinary number of attacks that were made upon
them. It also recounts their approach by a film director Paul Schrader on behalf of
himself and Martin Scorsese about a film. It continues “we would like to think
however that our book helped create a climate which made possible such works as
Scorsese’s adaptation of Nicos Kazantzaka’s novel the Last Temptation….. Even
before [HBHG] was published Liz Greene had drawn upon our research for the
novel revolving around Nostradamus. She drew on it in her second novel “The
Puppet Master”. In later years that followed material from [HBHG] found its way
into a multitude of other fictional narratives from tacky thrillers and pot boilers to
very serious literature indeed. ……”. The introduction goes on to recount extensive
translation and use made of HBHG. It then went on to refer to “fragments of gossip
about the latest activities of Pierre Plantard and the Priory of Sion and then said “in a
very real sense we felt the story had passed out of our hands – had passed beyond us
into the public domain and hands of other researchers. This, as we stated at the end
of [HBHG] was just what we hoped would happen. We saw ourselves as merely
having scratched the surface of something – of a mystery which extended over at
least 20 centuries, and radiated out across the whole of western civilisation….”
That introduction is to be found only in the UK edition. It is not in the US edition
which Mr Brown and his wife used.
It is certainly true that HBHG spawned a mass of literature. A look at the website
“” details the vast amount of literature which HBHG and DVC has
The paperback edition (US) contained an introduction which was similar to the 1996
UK paperback introduction.
This introduction shows the different types of audience that might be interested in
HBHG. British interest it is suggested was concentrated on subjects like the Knights
Templar and the Crusades, Freemasonry and cultural aspects like the significance of
Poussin and others. This of course was strengthened by the whetting of the British
audience with the chronicle programmes. In the United States however the response
was more of a religious (and largely negative) attack. DVC as will be seen later in
this judgment attracted a similar attack which apparently caught Mr Brown by
surprise. The authors in this introduction spoke about HBHG in these terms “yet
above and beyond these more specialised spheres remain three pervasive and
overriding themes: the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau; the bloodline or “Grail
Dynasty”; and the Priory de Sion that exclusive secret society which from the
middle ages to the present has figured prominently in our story. We believe our
book has shaken a quantity of fruit from the trees of all three themes….”
- 8 -

Page 9
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
HBHG is divided into three parts. The first part is “The Mystery”. This recounts as I
have said the finding of treasures by Sauniere, his apparent unexpected wealth and the
treasures comprising some documents which on examination had some coded
messages in them, one of them being linked to Dagobert II a Merovingian king “to
Dagobert II king and to Sion belongs this treasure and he is there dead”. Sauniere
died on 22nd January 1917 (having had a stroke on the 17th January 1917 allegedly)
without revealing his secrets. It is said that his wealth was passed to his housekeeper
Marie Denarnaud but she too took the secrets to her grave in 1953. The story then
meanders around Poussin’s picture and the message pointed to on the grave by the
shepherds: “Et in Arcadia ego”. This, the book shows is a theme that has appeared
more than once (the last one for example being in reverse on a bas relief at
Shugborough Hall Staffordshire. (It has its own curious coded message).) This part
then goes on to discuss the history of the Cathars a religious sect which lived in the
area of Rennes-le-Chateau in the 13th century when they were eradicated as being
This section of the book then recounts what is described as the “orthodox” account of
the foundation of the Knights Templars derived initially from the works of William of
Tyre who wrote between 1175 and 1185. This area has attracted more recent
attention see for example the film “The Kingdom of Heaven” which itself is a fine
example of the adaptation of facts to create a “factional account”. The authors
recount the founding of the Templars conventionally in 1118, their linkage with St
Bernard of Clairvaux and their expansion over the next 100 years culminating in their
Grand Master’s incompetent role in the battles of Cresson and the more well known
one in July 1187 at the Horns of the Hattin. Over the next hundred years the
Templars had a reduced role in the reduced Kingdom of Jerusalem but maintained
themselves in France and elsewhere but were the subject matter of an attack by
Philippe IV of France on 13th October 1307. It is asserted in HBHG all the Templars
were simultaneously arrested “in a security operation worthy of the SS or
Gestapo….” After the arrests various attempts were made to eliminate the Templars
throughout Western Europe but of differing results. It is suggested (for example) that
a sizeable contingent of English and French Templars fought on Robert the Bruce’s
side at the battle of Banockburn in 1314.
They then present a mysterious history of Templars. This has the Templars surviving
via Freemasons and taking part in the French Revolution (it being asserted that on the
execution of Louis XVI when he was guillotined an unknown man is reported to have
leapt on to the scaffold dipped his hand in amongst the blood and cried “Jacques De
Molay, thou art avenged!”. (He was the last Grand Master of the Knights Temple
burned at the stake in 1314).)
The secret history of the Templars goes on to recount that the Templars were
accommodated in a part of the site of the Holy Temple and kept horses there; defiling
the Holy Site in Muslim eyes. It is suggested that some secrets were discovered there
by the Templars and this led to their apparent rapid rise to power and wealth. It is
suggested that the Templar treasure was buried in the region of Rennes-le-Chateau
and for some reason the Templars in this area were excluded from the general order of
Philippe IV.
The final chapter (4) of the First Part introduces the Dossiers Secrets. Discovering the
name “Plantard” on the back of some photographs of Rennes-le-Chateau led the
- 9 -

Page 10
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Claimants to track down Pierre Plantard. It is said that they had difficulties obtaining
access to the Dossiers Secrets but ultimately they had access and this led to six
indisputable historical facts” as follows:-
1 There was a secret order behind the Knights Templar which created the
Templars as its military and administrative arm and it was known as the
Priory of Sion.
2 The Priory of Sion had been directed by a sequence of Grand Masters whose
names are among the most illustrious in western history and culture.
3 Although the Knights Templars were destroyed and dissolved between 1307
and 1314 the Priory remained unscathed but acted in the shadows behind the
scenes and orchestrated certain critical events in western history.
4 The Priory of Sion exists today and is still operative it is influential and plays
a role in high level international affairs as well as in the domestic affairs of
certain European countries.
5 The avowed and declared objective of the Priory of Sion is the restoration of
the Merovingian dynasty and bloodline not only to the throne of France but
the thrones of other European nations.
6 The Merovingian dynasty is sanctioned and justifiable both legally and
morally via Dagobert, Godfroi De Bouillon and other royal families
throughout Europe.
30. That summary set the scene for part 2 of HBHG “The Secret Society”. This section
starts with identifying a site in Jerusalem (Mount Zion) and the creation of an order
there, the Abbey of Notre Dame de Zion. After the fall of Jerusalem in 1099 it is
suggested that a group of anonymous figures convened in secret conclave but their
identity has “eluded all historical enquiries”. Despite a persuasive claim by
Raymond Count of Toulouse this allegedly mysterious and influential body of electors
promptly offered the throne to Godfroi who declined the title but accepted instead that
of Defender of the Holy Sepulchre of which he was known until his death in 1100. He
was then succeeded by his brother Baldwin who was crowned King of Jerusalem. It is
speculated that this secret conclave could have occupied Mount Zion and would this
be the Priory of Sion?
This is then linked to mysteries about the foundation of the Knights Templar and the
suggestion that this Priory of Sion might have stood behind both St Bernard and the
Knights Templar. Alternately according to the Priory of Sion documents it is
suggested that there was a severance between the Priory and the Knights Templar in
1188. This was said to be as a result of the ineptitude of Gerard de Ridefort the
Templars’ Grand Master (see above) at Cresson and Hattin. It is described as the “the
cutting of the Elm”. This part then leads to a list of the Grand Masters of the Priory
of Sion (reproduced at page 131 of the UK paperback edition). This list is said to
have been copied by Mr Brown (contrary to his evidence that he obtained it from the
internet). The list at page 131 (UK edition) is reproduced at page 430-431 of DVC. It
includes a reference to “Les Nautoniers” and hyphenates the name Saint-Claire in
two places.
- 10 -

Page 11
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
The addition of the description of Grand Masters and hyphens the Claimants say are
unique to them as they added them in their list. There was at the time that Mr Brown
was writing DVC no reproduction of the original list on the internet so the only source
of the list in DVC could have come from HBHG. This seems to me to be correct.
This is one of the schedule of language similarities (No 5) secondarily relied upon by
the Claimants.
The long list of Grand Masters (including Botticelli under the name Filipepi) includes
names such as Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, Jean Cocteau and most
significantly (for the purpose of this litigation at any rate) Leonardo Da Vinci. At the
end of HBHG a potted history of each of the Grand Masters is given. In the case of
the earlier Grand Masters it is very sparse.
The Claimants suggest in HBHG that they were sceptical about the list initially. Once
again the text meanders through the theme of Arcadia sidetracks round the Rose
Croix, the Stuarts and numerous other wide ranging areas where questions are posed
but no answers are offered culminating in chapter 8 “The secret Society today”. This
reintroduces the briefly mentioned Pierre Plantard. The authors discerned Mr
Plantard’s apparent key role in the Priory of Sion and were anxious to meet him.
After some delays ultimately they met him in spring 1979. He apparently met them in
neutral ground in a Paris cinema rented by the BBC. He was described as being
dignified, courteous and of a discreetly aristocratic bearing and unostentatious
appearance with a gracious volatile but soft spoken manner. He apparently displayed
enormous erudition and impressive nimbleness of mind. Significantly apparently he
could not drive a car.
They had three meetings with Mr Plantard and he provided them with various
declarations such as the fact that the Priory of Sion held the lost treasure of the
Temple of Jerusalem (booty plundered by Titus’s Roman legions in AD70 as recorded
on the Arch of Titus in the forum). The treasure was spiritual and was a secret in
some way. It was not explained how this treasure which was in Rome until it fell into
the clutches of Alaric the Goth in 410 and was then hidden in Jerusalem to be found
by the Templars some 700 years later. Maybe it was a different treasure. Maybe the
Romans missed the best part of the treasure when the mount was destroyed and
subsequently rebuilt. This is possible I conjecture.
The authors overcome their natural suspicion about dismissing the Priory of Sion as a
minor “lunatic fringe sect” if not an outright hoax. Nevertheless they concluded that
there was something in the Merovingian claim but speculated that there was
something very special about the Merovingian Blood Royal which required it to be
treated differently to all the other disinherited royal lines that litter Europe. Mr
Plantard limited his claim to the restoration of the Merovingians via the Priory of
After the television series and after the publication of HBHG material emerged which
suggested that the Rennes Le Chateau mystery and the Priory of Sion documents were
all an elaborate hoax in which Mr Pierre Plantard had a significant role. I do not have
to elaborate or even determine that issue. Anybody who is already not aware of the
detailed denouement will find it at the website referred to above.
Mr Baigent in his evidence before me said they were always suspicious of Mr
Plantard but I do not find such suspicion in HBHG; it was essential for HBHG to have
- 11 -

Page 12
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
credibility that the Priory of Sion as introduced to them had a plausible basis because
without that a large part of HBHG simply disappears as a credible book if not an
outright hoax or piece of fiction.
Part Three of the book “the Bloodline” starts at page 295 (UK edition). In that part
they refer to the fact apparently that in earlier manuscripts concerning the Grail story
it is called “Sangreal” or “Sangraal”. They speculate that this might mean “Sang
Raal” or “Sang Real” i.e. Sang Royal namely Royal Blood. From this series of
speculative leaps and bounds the Claimants link the Grail with the royal bloodline i.e.
the Merovingian line. This is summarised at page 328 (UK edition) “Our
It is then suggested that Mary Magdalene brought the Holy Grail or blood royal to
France and the grail is closely associated to Jesus and relates in some way to blood or
more specifically to a bloodline and lineage. The Grail Romances however for the
most part are set in Merovingian times but were not composed until after Godfroi de
Bouillon a possible Scion of the Grail Family and actual Scion of the Merovingians
was installed in everything but name as King of Jerusalem.
They observe that if they had been dealing with anyone other than Jesus this would
have led to a self evident conclusion that they were all linked. They nevertheless
drew the same conclusion by testing it as a tentative hypothesis which explained
everything. It led to a bloodline descending from Jesus through Dagobert II and in
effect ultimately to Pierre Plantard. At this tentative stage of their conjectures they
ruled it out without any more evidence. This led to the proposition that Jesus being
Jewish would have been married (as otherwise the fact would have been glaringly
conspicuous). This would be the more so if he enjoyed the title of Rabbi and the
reference in the fourth gospel to a wedding at Cana was it is suggested Jesus’ own
marriage to Mary Magdalene who is identified as his wife. They then carry their
conjecture on to Jesus’ dynasty, the strength of a marriage between the House of
David (Jesus) and the tribe of Benjamin (Mary Magdalene) and the threat he posed by
being married the rightful claim to the throne with children.
It is suggested (although Mr Baigent denied this) (page 377) that there is a possibility
of a fake crucifixion. In this context that is one of the bullet points attached to the
back of the cover of the US edition of HBHG. However the survival of Jesus was not
apparently considered to be important; what was more important was the arrival in
Marseilles of Mary Magdalene bringing the Royal Blood along with Joseph of
Aramathea (they do not follow the Glastonbury diversion).
Interesting although all this is no actual research is provided by the authors in their
speculative travel. The possible questions are posed but why the questions can be
posed and the basis of the material which led to them being able to pose them is not to
be found in HBHG.
They go on to portray the inconvenience that this conjectural theory causes the
established church. It stems from the deification of Jesus which flowed from the
Council of Nicea which was presided over by Constantine the Great in 325 AD.
Traditionally as they set out in the text Constantine was treated as adopting the
Christian faith having seen the Chi-rho sign in a prophetic dream shortly before the
battle of Milvian Bridge when he defeated Maxentius in AD 312. Tradition recounts
- 12 -

Page 13
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
that the Chi-rho signal was emblazoned on the shields of his troops. As a
consequence Constantine’s victory over Maxentius came to represent a miraculous
triumph of Christianity over Paganism. They suggest that the position was actually
somewhat different. Constantine did not convert but headed the Pagan religion of Sol
Invictus a Syrian cult in origin which was adopted by Roman Emperors a century
before (possibly through contacts with the wife of Septimius Severus who was from
Syria). This religion it is said harmonised with the cult of Mithras which was
prevalent in Rome (especially in military circles) at that time. Thus for example the
Christian religious day of Sunday was taken from the cult of Mithras and both
celebrated a major birth on December 25th. Mithraism also stressed the immortality
of the soul and a future judgment in the resurrection of the dead (there is not
necessarily anything original in that as a faith).
Everything came together in the Council of Nicea when by a substantial majority (218
for and 2 against) it was decided that Jesus was a god not a mortal prophet. This led
to the banishment of the contrary Arian tradition. This developed through the next
century leading to the unification of the church and state control through Theodosius
the Great. There were of course hiccups along the way (old traditions die hard).
Julian the Apostate was such a hiccup.
The purpose of this discourse by the Claimants is to show why the establishment
church was determined to suppress the bloodline history.
The rest of this part of the book leading to chapter 15 (conclusion and portents for the
future) consists of a series of conjectures but with no real evidence showing any
linking between the royal bloodline and the Merovingians as such. The conjectures
are to be found at pages 410-412 and are at the far end of conjecture in my view.
In their final chapter they conjecture that Jesus’ wife and offspring after fleeing the
Holy Land found a refuge in the South of France with a Jewish community and
preserved their lineage. That lineage in the 5th century intermarried with the royal
line of the Franks thus engendering the Merovingian dynasty. The church had a pact
with this dynasty but broke that and colluded in the assassination of Dagobert.
However Jesus’ bloodline or at any rate the Merovingian bloodline survived and
carried on through to Godfroi. The secrets of this were discovered in an excavation in
the temple in the so called stables of Solomon by the Templars. They speculate that it
might have been the equivalent so to speak of Jesus’ marriage licence and or the birth
certificates of his children and that all of these might have been referred to as the Holy
Grail. However the Grail could also mean Mary Magdalene as well.
For the future this might be a good idea in the modern world it is speculated because
if Jesus was acknowledged as a mortal prophet he might well become acceptable to
both Muslims and Jews and would therefore be able to implement one of the primary
tenets of Templar policy alleged to be the reconciliation of Christianity with Judaism
and Islam.
I will not depart from that last statement which seems somewhat surprising as a policy
of the Templars (see for example the refusal of the Knights Templar en masse to
convert to Christianity at the battle of the Hattins which led to their beheading).
However they continued to speculate that it all collapsed with the loss of the Holy
Lands finally in 1291 which then made the Knights Templar redundant and
- 13 -

Page 14
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
expendable. The protection of the Bloodline secret thereafter continued via the Priory
of Sion. It is suggested (page 428) that the French Revolution was devastating blow
to Merovingian hopes (see the statement alleged to be made at the execution of Louis
referred to above).
At page 430 they maintained that their hypothesis whilst it could not be certain to be
correct in every detail they were convinced that the essential outlines of their
hypothesis was accurate. Their research has persuaded them that the mystery of
Rennes-le-Chateau involved a serious attempt by influential people to re-establish a
Merovingian monarchy in France if not indeed in the whole of Europe and that the
claims of legitimacy of such monarchy rested on a Merovingian descent from Jesus.
There are three problems about that summary. First as I have said above the Rennes-
le-Chateau mystery derives from the material provided ultimately via Pierre Plantard
which has been strongly held to be fake. Second Pierre Plantard himself did not claim
at any time to be descended from Jesus. No evidential material has been produced
for these speculations. Third the Merovingians were never Kings of France; they
were Kings in France.
I have set out at some length what in my opinion is an overall analysis of HBHG. I
have done that (and will do the same further in this judgment in respect of DVC)
because that is essential in my view to deciding this case. The key to solving the
conundrum posed by this judgment is in reading HBHG and DVC.
There was nothing original (in the non technical copyright sense) in the material the
Claimants put forward concerning Rennes-le-Chateau and the Priory of Sion. As I
have set out above it all ultimately emanated from pre-existing French writings and
Pierre Plantard and people associated with him. Equally there was nothing original in
the Claimants presentation of the Grail material.
A Central Theme
What was original was the merging of the Jesus bloodline with Merovingian bloodline
as an idea. I have already set out above the hypothesis thus put forward (HBHG page
430). Mr Leigh confirmed this in cross examination (T6/842/2-13) when he had been
cross examined about the 15 Central Theme Points. He expressed the view that there
were certain key points among those which were uniquely theirs. The unique ones he
suggested were Jesus’ bloodline flowing in to the Merovingian line and second that
the Grail was not only a thing or a phenomenon but was also a person and the
bloodline. Mr Rayner James QC for the Claimants in his closing submissions
(T11/1575/3) suggested other potential original ideas on the part of the Claimants
namely Godfroi reclaiming his birth right and heritage and that the Priory of Sion
were the protectors of the bloodline and equally the Holy Grail. I am not sure that the
latter is much of a point because it is merely a consequence of linking the bloodline
with the Merovingian line which would then have the consequential effect of the
Priory of Sion protecting both. Nor is there much in the former point either. The
major conjectural point seems to me to be the merger of the bloodline in the
Merovingian line.
- 14 -

Page 15
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Dan Brown
DVC was his fourth book. Prior to that he had written Digital Fortress (1998), Angels
& Demons (2000), Deception Point (2001) and DVC (2003).
The first three books were not successful in the sense of sales (the total sales for the
three books was approximately 26,000) although they have revived following the
success of DVC.
Mr Brown came from an academic background on the East Coast of the United States.
In addition to developing an interest in literature he after spending time in Spain
developed an interest in art as a communication between the artist and the viewer. He
then developed interests in music and moved to Los Angeles to develop a career in
song writing. He produced some limited albums of original music but was really
dependent on working as an English teacher at Beverly Hills Prep School. He met his
wife Blythe through the National Academy of Song Writers where she was the
director of artistic development. Despite the Academy’s effort to promote him his
music career never took off.
In 1993 while on vacation in Tahiti he read a book by Sydney Sheldon and thought
that he might be able to write a “thriller” of this type one day. Thereafter he wrote a
humorous book (187 men to avoid) and then moved on to the publication of his four
In his witness statement he sets out how he writes his novels. First he selects a theme
which is the “big idea”. He suggests that his novels are research intensive so they can
take up to two years to write. He chooses a subject which is not black and white but
rather contains a grey area where there is no clear right or wrong no definite good or
evil and makes for great debate. His writing process is very disciplined. He makes
his books location driven and because of a fascination with codes likes to have codes
and secrecy elements in all of his books.
In Angels & Demons he introduced Robert Langdon as a character for the first time.
He is based on an artist and philosopher John Langdon.
In Angels & Demons he introduced the literary concept of academic lectures as part of
the thriller.
Introduced in Angels and Demons also were religious architecture concepts. He and
his wife Blythe loved researching these subjects and it enabled them to work together
as a husband and wife team in creating the novels. It is clear that a lot of research
material that he gathered for writing Angels & Demons was used in the DVC.
Researching And Writing DVC
In his evidence Mr Brown said that he and Blythe spent a year or so travelling and
conducting research during the writing of DVC. During this exercise they met
historians and academics and extended travels from the Vatican and France to
England and Scotland in order to investigate the historical underpinnings of the notes.
- 15 -

Page 16
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
The research (taking in to the account the leftovers from Angels & Demons) on DVC
apparently started in 2000. There are a number of documents which were created by
Blythe which the Claimants contend were created in the period 25/7/2000 –
7/12/2000. I will deal with these documents further in the judgment. Not a lot of the
research documents survived.
In early January 2001 Mr Brown prepared a number of short proposals to submit to
Heidi Lange a new literary agent whom he was trying to encourage to take him on.
He submitted a number of small synopses. One was “The Botticelli Code”. Another
was “The Da Vinci Code”. None of these short proposals has survived.
Heidi Lange having received these was apparently very interested in the Da Vinci
Code and asked him to submit a more detailed synopsis. He started this exercise
around the 16th January 2001 and submitted it by 31st January 2001. This document
(“the Synopsis”) has survived and will be dealt with further in this judgment. It was
apparently written in just 2 weeks or so.
In February 2001 Mr Brown’s Editor (Mr Kaufman) moved to Doubleday and he
showed the DVC synopsis to them. An exchange of internal emails dated 23rd April
2001 and 1st May 2001 showed that internally the publishers clearly linked the
Synopsis to many of the books that had in effect sprung from HBHG.
In mid May 2001 Mr Brown moved to Doubleday and at the same time started writing
Between that date and 15th March 2002 the Claimants suggest various other
documents were created. I will again refer to these further in more detail later in this
On 15th March 2002 Mr Brown sent the first 190 pages of DVC to Mr Kaufman.
That document has not survived. By 22nd March 2002 Mr Kaufman had edited the
190 pages down to 128 pages (apparently without consulting Mr Brown) and has
distributed that 128 pages. That document has survived. On 24th April 2002 a
document “final chapters” was created with 50 pages of material for the book in
varying degrees of detail. On 29th April 2002 Mr Brown emailed Bill Scott-Kerr 141
pages of the start of DVC promising (perhaps optimistically) that another 600 pages
would be ready. On 3rd May 2002 Mr Kaufman separately sent to Bill Scott-Kerr a
further attachment of the first 128 pages of DVC.
On 16th August 2002 Mr Brown submitted the final DVC manuscript to Bill Scott-
Kerr and delivered the final chapters to Mr Kaufman on 20th August 2002. He
checked those chapters and Advance Reader Copies were published.
There were exchanges in October about why Mr Brown chose the surname Sauniere
and why he chose the surname Teabing the latter is not particularly mysterious: it is
part of an anagram of the two Claimants’ names. Sauniere was chosen because that
was the name of the priest who allegedly discovered the secrets in Rennes-le-Chateau.
That is the only part of the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery incorporated in DVC.
In March 2003 DVC was published in the US (hardcover).
- 16 -

Page 17
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
It is self evident that Mr Brown looked at HBHG before DVC was finished (he
accepts that). It is equally self evident that Blythe Brown looked at HBHG
extensively. The original copy of HBHG as disclosed contains numerous annotations
and markings mostly by her but also by Mr Brown. The date of these annotations and
markings is in dispute. Of all the books used it is the most heavily annotated.
At page 339 (chapter 60) of DVC in one of the Teabing lectures to Sophie he shows
her his library. Three books are identified:- The Templar Revelations (“TR”), The
Woman with the Alabaster Jar (“WAJ”) and The Goddess in the Gospels (“GG”).
Teabing refers to what he describes as “perhaps the best known tome”. He refers to
the cover “Holy Blood, Holy Grail the acclaimed international bestseller” Sophie
observes that she has never heard of it, Teabing explains that is because she is young
and it all came out in the 1980s. He criticises the authors as making some dubious
leaps of faith in their analysis but suggests that their fundamental premise is sound
and to their credit “they finally brought the idea of Christ’s bloodline in to the
mainstream”. This is really intended to be reflective of his condescending character.
I have already observed the anagram in the name Teabing as being another example of
how HBHG was clearly in the mind of Mr Brown when he finalised DVC.
Significantly the first 190 pages submitted in March 2002 do not have the Teabing
character nor any of the material that is said to come from HBHG.
Very little of the research material has in fact apparently survived. Between the
writing of the first 190 pages and the delivery of the final draft in August 2002 the
balance it is difficult to see at what stage precisely the relevant parts were written.
Mr Brown in his witness statement denies that he copied from HBHG and stated that
he thought of the history and theory of the Da Vinci Code from text was readily
available other than HBHG and these were the text that were studied prior to seeing it.
The research process started with the purchase of books. The first book apparently
purchased was TR in May 2000 (cross examination T8/1060 et seq). He said in his
witness statement that he did not have a copy of HBHG at the time that he wrote the
Synopsis (paragraph 164). He conceded he might have acquired a copy fairly early in
the writing process but was no more precise than that. He conceded that the
acquisition of TR would lead him to buying HBHG. The Claimants contend that
either Mr Brown or Blythe Brown had a copy of HBHG before the Synopsis was
written and that it was used extensively for the purpose of preparing various
information sheets by Blythe Brown in 2000. That is not accepted by Mr Brown and
it is a point I will deal with further in this judgment.
Analysis Of DVC
The text is preceded by a page designed to clothe the book with authenticity headed
Fact”. He refers to the Priory of Sion as being a European secret society founded in
1099 as being a real organisation identified in the Bibliotheque Nationale and the
Dossier Secrets with various Grand Masters. The second part relates to the existence
of Opus Dei a deeply devout Catholic Sect that has been the topic of recent
controversy. Finally all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret
- 17 -

Page 18
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
rituals are accurate. Of course merely because an author of fiction describes matters
of being factually correct does not mean that they are factually correct. It is a way of
blending fact and fiction together to create that well known model “faction”. The lure
of apparent genuineness makes the books and the films more receptive to the
readers/audiences. The danger of course is that the faction is all that large parts of the
audience read and they accept it as truth.
DVC opens with the murder of a curator of the Louvre museum Jacques Sauniere.
Mysteriously he is described as the last sole guardian of one of the most powerful
secrets ever kept and he struggles to preserve this secret in some way. The scene then
moves on to Robert Langdon’s hotel late at night where his night is disturbed by a
French policeman from an organisation said to be the equivalent of the FBI. He was
shown a photograph of Sauniere’s dead body and whisked along to the Louvre. There
he is introduced to a Captain Fache. They discuss the fact that Sauniere failed to meet
Langdon at a meeting earlier that night. He was taken to Sauniere’s body on which
Sauniere had apparently using his own blood drawn the symbol of the pentacle.
Sauniere’s body was also positioned in the form of a pentacle and had left a concealed
message using a black-light pen.
In parallel with these revelations are chapters dealing with Sauniere’s murderer a
member of Opus Dei responding to the directions of a Cardinal Aringarosa. No part
of the Opus Dei strands of DVC forms part of the Claimants’ case. Sauniere’s
message comprises a series of apparently random letters and two bizarre texts.
Further use of the black-light pen shows that Sauniere had drawn circles around his
body leaving him in the position of a life size replica of Leonardo Da Vinci’s most
famous sketch the Vitruvian man. As part of the investigation Langdon is introduced
to Sophie Neveu from the police’s cryptology department. The numerically coded
message of Sauniere is discussed. Langdon and Sophie form an alliance (I will not
spoil the plot by revealing how). Sauniere is actually her grandfather. They had
become estranged some ten years earlier as a result of a bizarre ceremony she had
accidentally witnessed. Langdon deciphers the odd textual message left by Sauniere
and it leads him to Leonardo Da Vinci’s work the Mona Lisa.
Langdon in discussions with Sophie introduces a secret society of which he alleges
Sauniere was a member. He reveals it as the Priory of Sion. He summarises the
history of the Priory of Sion to her and its Grand Masters (page 158). This is the first
serious lecture in DVC. At a later stage he continues the lecture concerning the Priory
of Sion by stating its belief that Constantine and his male successors converted the
world from a matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity by waging a campaign
of propaganda that demonised the sacred feminine. It obliterated the goddess from
modern religion forever.
Various chases around sites in Paris ensue and during a taxi drive Langdon carries on
his lecture about the Priory of Sion (page 217). He reveals its foundation by Godfroi,
the fact that he was the possessor of a powerful secret that had been in his family
since the time of Christ and that founded the Priory of Sion as a secret brotherhood
charged with protecting the secret by quietly passing it on from generation to
generation. The Priory whilst in Jerusalem learned of a stash of hidden documents
buried beneath the ruins of Herod’s temple which had been built on the top of earlier
ruins of Solomon’s temple. These documents were corroborative of Godfroi’s secret
and so explosive in nature that the church would stop at nothing to get them. The
- 18 -

Page 19
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Priory vowed that no matter how long it took these documents must be recovered
from the rubble and protected forever so that the truth would never die. The Priory
created a military arm the Knights Templars to recover the documents. It is
speculated by Langdon that the Knight Templars found something and took it to
Europe (not Titus’ treasure presumably). They were given unprecedented powers by
the then Pope Innocent II (he speculates because of the explosive nature of the
material they had obtained).
Thereafter the Templars expanded massively but were then the subject matter of an
attack in the 1300s instigated by the then Pope Clement V and carried out in consort
by Philippe IV. The operation is described as being a military manoeuvre “worthy of
the CIA”. Langdon explained that the documents were smuggled away from Paris on
one of the Templar ships in La Rochelle before they could be seized by the agents of
Philippe IV. He then draws the link with the Holy Grail and that the documents are
only half of the Holy Grail treasure and poses a speculative question that the Holy
Grail may not be a cup but something else. Langdon recalls a similar surprised
expression of an editor of his when he presented a book making the same point. The
editor is called Faukman (an anagram of Mr Brown’s own editor Mr Kaufman, one of
Mr Brown’s literary devices that he likes using).
In a later discussion Sophie reveals that she believed Sauniere was the top member of
the four Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion who were guardians of its secrets.
Langdon recalls the Dossiers Secrets and the catalogue number at the Bibliotheque
Langdon then decides to invoke the assistance of a religious historian he knows who
lives near Versaille whose name is Leigh Teabing. This (page 293) is the first
appearance of Teabing in DVC. Sophie speculates about whether or not Teabing is a
member of the Priory of Sion but Langdon rejects that pointing out his whole life has
been trying to broadcast the truth about the Holy Grail whereas the Priory’s oath is to
keep its nature a secret.
They meet Teabing and he delivers a lecture to Sophie about what is the Holy Grail
and how Da Vinci painted the Holy Grail. He goes on to discuss how Christianity
was shaped by Constantine but not in a traditional way pointing out that Constantine
as I have said earlier only became baptized on his deathbed “too weak to protest”. He
sets out the changes to Christianity starting with the Council of Nicea and the
deification of Jesus (changing the vote 218 for 2 against to “a relatively close vote at
He then goes on to discuss Da Vinci’s portrait of the Last Supper. None of this of
course is derived from HBHG. He identifies various anomalies in the portrait starting
with the omission to paint the cup of Christ. He points out tantalisingly that the Holy
Grail is a person not a thing and is a woman. He adjourns to his study and pointing
out an 8 foot long print of the Last Supper suggests that the apostle John is actually a
woman, Mary Magdalene. He points out that the juxtaposition of Jesus and Mary
Magdalene is in the figure of a V which leads to a creation of the letter M standing for
Mary Magdalene. All of this is self evident because Jesus was a Jew and could not
therefore be unmarried. He would also be expected to have children. If any of this
was not correct one would have expected comment on that to have been in one of the
bible gospels. He refers to some of the Gnostic gospels which were found in Egypt in
- 19 -

Page 20
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
the 20th century and the Gospel of Philip which refers to Mary Magdalene as being
the companion of Jesus. He points out that the union of Jesus and Mary Magdalene
was a powerful union of the House of David and the House of Benjamin creating a
fusion of two royal bloodlines and that Mary Magdalene carried the bloodline of
Jesus. He explains the true meaning of Sang Real as meaning Royal Blood.
He continues the lecture after referring to the books in his library and that according
to Priory of Sion records Mary Magdalene was pregnant at the time of the crucifixion
and she fled the Holy Land with Joseph of Arimathea and arrived in France where she
gave birth to a daughter whose name was Sarah. (I should point out that this
information could not have been obtained from HBHG).
He then recounts the duties of the Priory to preserve the documents and to protect the
bloodline itself setting out the growth of Christ’s bloodline under cover in France until
a bold move in the 5th century when it intermarried with the Merovingians. A short
recounting of the Merovingian bloodline is then set out including reference to Godfroi
who as Langdon points out ordered the Knights Templars to recover the Sanggeal
documents from beneath Soloman’s temple. At page 347 it is pointed out that two
direct Merovingian lines remain in the Plantard and Saint-Clair family. Both are in
hiding protected by the Priory.
There then ensues various chases with Sophie and Langdon fleeing to England. The
police follow up and visit Teabing’s house. There the list of the Priory Grand Masters
is referred to by the policeman.
Sophie and Langdon visit the temple church and archives held at Kings College.
They visit Westminster Abbey. All the time they are being pursued by the assassin
from Opus Dei (now called Silas a change from Oedipus in the Synopsis). They then
arrive at Rosslyn also associated with the Templars and the Saint-Clairs. There they
receive a lecture from Sophie’s grandmother and she makes the important statement
in fact the Priory had always maintained that the Grail should never be unveiled”
(page 581). The final secret is revealed at the end of the book.
I have understated the intervening roles of Opus Dei and Teabing and the ending of
the book.
The Claimants acknowledge that there is a significant amount of material in DVC
which is not derived from HBHG.
The books are of course very different. HBHG is presented as a non-fictional book
whereas DVC is a classic thriller work of fiction dressed up with “facts” to give it an
air of authenticity and to arouse the interest of the readers.
Both books have created storms of controversy. Somewhat surprisingly in my view
both sets of authors were apparently surprised at the storm of controversy that their
books created. This can only be naivety if true. I cannot believe that if books are
going to be written which challenge vital tenets of the established church that they are
not going to attract attention.
The storm created by DVC has been even greater than that created by HBHG. It has
developed a huge publication of books attacking the facts from the establishment’s
- 20 -

Page 21
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
point of view. The sensitivity of the established church is somewhat surprising given
that the book is a work of fiction. That might be of course because the public
nowadays tends to equate works of fiction with factional context as being correct.
This is of course not confined to books. One sees similar blurrings in films take the
well known films U571 and The Patriot. The former lists the capture of a U boat by a
British Navy destroyer before the United States was in the Second World War and
transposes it to the capture of a U boat by an American crew. The latter in context of
the American War of Independence takes an SS massacre at Oradour Sur Glane in
June 1944 and transposes it back to a massacre allegedly carried out by the British in
the American War of Independence.
100. Dan Brown found himself assailed at numerous book signings. He found himself
unable to answer these charges (because his wife had done all the research in reality).
He revisited the research to arm himself against the onslaught.
101. DVC has been extremely successful. Its sales have allegedly been 40 million in its
first year. Film rights have ensued and there maybe even a further book written by Mr
Brown drawing on similar material in the not to distant future. DVC has certainly led
to a revival of HBHG and its sales culminating in the increase arising from this trial.
102. The Claimants apparently are upset at the way in which they have been treated in
DVC. For my part I find that surprising. I suppose it is a matter of subjectivity but it
seems to me their book is given a true level of prominence when Teabing’s library is
inspected and I do not see the anagram of their names as being anything other than a
compliment to them. I do not suppose Mr Kaufman was offended.
103. As is usual with books that attract a lot of publicity they have attracted the wrath of
the literary experts of the world. Fortunately it is not part of my judgment to assess
the literary worth of the books or even the truth behind them. I simply observe that
the Observer for example in the style for which it and its sister publication the
Grauniad is justly complimented in Private Eye provides both sides of the argument.
[I pity] what led him to having to listen to such a load of tosh” (Nick Cohen 12
March 2006). Contrast Viv Groskop “pen a best seller and wait for the sneers” (19th
March 2006 The Observer). I suppose in the world of publication 40 million buyers
cannot be wrong. This seems to be the view of Mr Ruben the President of Doubleday
and various other companies in the Random House Group when he says “….I have
certainly never read anything like Mr Brown’s work. I believe then, and still believe
now, that this type of book had never been written before”. (Paragraph 78 of his
witness statement) (query Dune for example). However these questions are not for
Complaints by the Claimants
104. The Claimants made a first letter of complaint on 5th February 2004 (a year after the
publication). It was asserted that the Claimants made a sequence of connections that
no-one had made before drawing on expertise in a number of diverse areas and that
for the first time they expressed a continuous linkage running from the tribe of
Benjamin through the New Testament, the Merovingian dynasty and from there to
Godfroi de Bouillon and the Crusades. It was asserted that this is the Central Theme
- 21 -

Page 22
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
also of DVC and had been copied by Mr Brown. In addition it was asserted that they
were the first authors to propose the highly material thesis that the Holy Grail was a
metaphor for Mary Magdalene rather than it being merely an artefact which concept
again it was asserted had been copied by Mr Brown. It was then asserted that Mr
Brown in effect “shortened the way” by lifting everything out of HBHG rather than
doing his own research, and that he had appropriated the literary labour of the
105. In a later letter of clarification dated 12th March 2004 it is asserted that put simply Mr
Brown used HBHG as the basis for DVC and at regular intervals the plot comes to a
halt and Mr Brown reveals pellets of information concerning a centuries old
conspiracy. These pellets are not available it is asserted from public sources but are
rather the result of years of research undertaken by the Claimants which form the
basis of HBHG and these have been lifted from HBHG and Mr Brown has thereby
used all of the Claimants skill and labour expanded in creating HBHG.
106. The Claim form was issued on 1st October 2004 and sought the usual relief for
infringement of copyright including an injunction and delivery up for destruction on
the basis that the Defendant had reproduced or authorised the reproduction of a
substantial part of the copyright in HBHG.
107. Originally the Particulars of Claim asserted that HBHG had expressed a single Central
Theme that the Holy Grail was a person, Mary Magdalene that had given rise to a
continuous bloodline of David deriving from a relationship with Christ through time
running from her to the Merovingians and then on to Godfroi and the Crusades. As
part of the Central Theme it was asserted that HBHG set out a secret move of Mary
Magdalene with the Grail to a refuge with a Judaic community in Gaul an originating
function of the structure of the Priory of Sion and the Knights Templar in their role as
guardians of the bloodline and the state of religion and subsequent conversion of
Constantine and the significance of celibacy in the Judaic system. The original
Particulars of Claim was served on 15th October 2004.
Defendants Seek Clarification
108. The Defendants sought a clarification of the Particulars of Claim under CPR part 18.
Part of that response was to identify the Central Theme by reference to 19 numbered
points. The Defendants tried to strike out the response.
Lewison J Order
109. Shortly before the hearing of the Application before Lewison J on 27th October 2005
the Claimants served a document called the Voluntary Supplemental Schedule
(“VSS”). This presented a different Central Theme broken down into 15 numbered
points. On 27th October 2005 Lewison J made an order by consent. The recitals
contained confirmations by the Claimants (1) the only matter complained of by the
Claimants is the matters expressly set out in the 15 Central Theme points of the VSS
(2) the only purpose of the contents of the column on the left hand side of the VSS is
to establish that the matter contained in the corresponding Central Theme point does
appear in HBHG and (3) the only purpose of the contents of the column on the right
- 22 -

Page 23
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
hand side of the VSS is to establish the matters contained in the corresponding Central
Theme point does appear in DVC and supports the allegation of copying of the matter
in the corresponding Central Theme point.
110. Recital 4 stated that any matter which is contained in the passages quoted in the VSS
is irrelevant to the extent that it does not relate to the corresponding Central Theme
point and an example is given about the date of the birth of Mithras. Finally recital 5
states that the Claimants do rely on some instances of similarities in language to prove
copying which they are required to set out by 10th November 2005.
111. By consent the Schedule to the Particulars of Claim, the additional Particulars of
copying attached to the Claimants response for request for information, the general
statements document and the summary of the Central Theme attached to the
Claimants response were struck out.
112. On 10th November 2005 by letter the Claimants solicitors set out 5 copying points.
On 17th February 2006 the Claimants set out further copying points making a total of
113. In the meantime on the 19th January 2006 the Particulars of Claim were amended.
The Central Theme as set out in paragraph 3 was abandoned and was replaced with an
annex to the Particulars of Claim. This is the Central Theme (“CT”) relied upon by
the Claimants. It was broken up by the Amended Particulars of Claim to 15 points.
At the start of the trial this was transformed in to one single page of text.
Nevertheless the trial proceeded and the cross examination and re-examination took
place around the 15 broken down themes.
114. In addition by paragraph 3 A the Claimants asserted that HBHG contained the Central
Theme on the basis of the VSS served on 14th October 2005.
Changes In Pleadings
115. It is important to note that in the struck out general statements (paragraph 2) it was
asserted that HBHG consisted of more than just a sequence of suggestions,
contentions, arguments and hypothesis but also consisted of copiously researched
documented evidence to support the suggestions, contentions, arguments and
hypothesis. It was asserted that there was a unique and specific manner in which
these were connected to each other and the manner whereby they were assembled in a
coherent organisation was a structure (“an architectural edifice of ideas”). The
manner in which the material was assembled was asserted to constitute the books
design and that while some of the elements of design might be in the public domain
the design itself was not. It was then asserted that Mr Brown appropriated the various
components of a massive jigsaw puzzle but in addition the altogether original way in
which those components were fitted together and he plundered not only the facts but
more importantly the relationship between the facts, the evidence that supports such
relationships, the interpretation of such relationships and the conclusions to be drawn
from such relationships.
116. That disappeared from the Claim by virtue of paragraph 1(C) of Lewison J’s order.
- 23 -

Page 24
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
117. A comparison of the original Central Themes (1-19) with the final version is
illuminating. Thus Themes 4 and 5 were heavily re-written and introduced the
concept of Mary Magdalene fleeing with the Royal Bloodline and that the Grail might
have meant two things simultaneously, first the bloodline and second Mary
Magdalene herself. These are somewhat fundamental omissions from the Central
Themes as now portrayed by the Claimants. The explanation for the omission namely
that it was a blunder is not really satisfactory.
118. The original Central Theme 9 (the collapse of the Roman Empire and the church of
Rome and the making of a pact with Clovis the most powerful Merovingian monarch
coupled with the counter promise to the church pledging itself to his bloodline in
perpetuity) disappeared. This omission in this case also seems somewhat surprising
as it seems to me that it is part of the way in which their historical conjecture has
developed. Why I conjecture eliminate the formulation of the pact but retain its
119. Original Theme 16 (the relationship between the Priory of Sion and the Templars and
their separation in 1188 also disappears). This too seemed to me to be a surprising
abandonment given the significance attached to the continuation to the Priory of Sion
after the demise of the Templars.
120. It follows that there are in my view significant changes to the Central Theme
exhibited by the change of heart of the Claimants.
121. I attach to this judgment a copy of the Central Theme. It will be seen that the
architecture and structure arguments referred to in the letters of claim and in the
original general statements have disappeared.
Significance Of The Central Theme
122. The Amended Particulars of Claim assert that the Central Theme is expressed in
HBHG. Although the Central Theme as drafted is a construct for the purpose of this
litigation only nevertheless the primary case is that the Central Theme is to be found
in HBHG. In closing Mr Rayner James QC said it was “the bridge” between HBHG
and DVC. He acknowledged that the Central Theme had to be in HBHG for the
Claimants to establish their case. In paragraph 96 of his witness statement Mr Baigent
stated that this was a summary of their hypothesis and for the purpose of the litigation
was given the title Central Theme. After reviewing the various Central Themes he
concluded (paragraph 379) that an extraordinary amount of skill and effort had been
expended by the Claimants and Mr Lincoln in researching and writing HBHG and in
the expression of the Central Theme. In the next part of his witness statement he
expressed the view that the 15 points should all be read together and that they all form
an integral part of the Central Theme and they were all inter-related. He expressed the
view that authors always considered HBHG to be about the Central Theme . I have a
little difficulty with this given the changes to the Central Theme made during the
course of this action. In paragraph 382 he stated that the themes must be read together
because they are intrinsically related and “they all work together to form the
- 24 -

Page 25
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
architecture of our book”.
The themes he then suggests are not numerically
significant but are inter-related in different ways.
123. This of course is the struck out architecture point. Objection was taken to this
evidence at the opening of the trial by the Defendants and rightly so. If there is going
to be a case based on the architecture and structure and the inter-relation of the
themes, given the effect of Lewison J’s order I ruled that it was not made out in the
pleadings and I ordered the Claimants to provide further clarification on this point as
it had been referred to again and expanded in the Claimants opening skeleton
argument (paragraph 61). The answer provided was somewhat tame “the Central
Theme ….describes a Central Theme expressed in HBHG ….. that description sets
out the progression of the Central Theme through the points numbered 1-15. That
progression follows a natural chronological order and as a progression each point
depends for its place on the progression on the preceding and succeeding points”.
Other than that no argument was to be put forward in relation to order, linkage,
connection and the like beyond that natural linkage.
124. So the natural linkage was the fact that they were numbered 1-15 and the events
identified in each was in a chronological sequence. This in my view hardly falls
within the idea of architecture but I will deal with this further in this judgment. It is of
course also contrary to the way in which Mr Baigent expressed it in (for example)
paragraph 382 of his witness statement. Nevertheless anymore detailed structure
disappeared from the case as a result of this answer.
125. In addition as I have set out above I permitted the number of textual copies to be
expanded. It is not suggested by the Claimants that these establish their case of
copyright infringement. They are secondary “footprints” to support a primary case
which is based on the copying of the Central Theme. They are not said to be
infringing copies.
126. The Claimants (see paragraph 65 of the opening skeleton on their behalf) submit that
there is little left to HBHG without the Central Theme and as DVC reduces the
Central Theme its reproduction is therefore an infringement of the copyright existing
in HBHG.
Treatment of Central Theme
127. In their closing (section 3) the Claimants reverted to the analysis of the Central
Theme. As is set out in that part the Claimants’ case is based on copying from HBHG
something other than is in the text i.e. a non-textual infringement case. It is asserted
that the purpose of the Central Theme is to identify what is in the work which has
alleged to have been copied but that the test of infringement remains always a
comparison of what is expressed in DVC with what is expressed in HBHG. It is
asserted that the Central Theme acts as a bridge between the two works.
128. I have difficulty with that. As was said in the opening the Central Theme is HBHG
and without it, it is said there is little left. Whilst the Central Theme may be a bridge
it is plainly more than that. It is the Central Theme that is alleged to have been
copied. The Central Theme therefore must be found in HBHG and it must be that that
must be copied and found in DVC. Indeed that is the purpose of the VSS. This
necessarily in my view involves a careful analysis of the Central Theme to see what
- 25 -

Page 26
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
the Central Theme actually comprises and consequently once it is correctly analysed
whether it is of such substance that it can be protected by the action when it is
established that the Defendants have copied it. It is insufficient in my view to attempt
to devalue the Central Theme (paragraph 56 of the Claimants’ closing) as a tool in
identifying what is alleged to have been copied. This does not do justice to the way in
which the Claimants assert the relevance of the Central Theme as set out in the
pleading and the evidence set out above. As it is not based on textual copying it is
necessary to identify precisely what it is as a first step before it can actually be
considered whether it is actually capable of subsisting as a literary work which can be
infringed by it copying. The reason why this is important is that Mr Brown has
admitted that he made use of HBHG at some stage in the writing of DVC. His case is
however in so doing he did not copy a substantial part of HBHG and that he did not
copy the Central Theme as identified and claimed to exist by the Claimants.
129. First Mr Brown denies that he copied HBHG. In so far as he used it as a source he did
so in conjunction he contended with a number of others and generally after those
others. All he got from these sources were ideas of a general nature. The Defendants
submit that is not infringing in a copyright sense.
130. Second Mr Brown contends that he wrote the Synopsis for DVC before either he or
his wife ever looked at HBHG. Yet it is accepted that the Synopsis contains most of
the ideas complained of as having been taken from HBHG.
131. Third the Defendants contend that the Central Theme is not in HBHG nor in DVC and
that substantial parts are missing from both books. Further it is contended that the
Central Theme does not represent a theme which is presented by HBHG as it is
neither central nor any theme of HBHG. In this context it is contended that the 15
points are not presented in HBHG in a way that they are differentiated from or
distinguished from a mass of other material and is not apparent to a reader that 15
Central Theme points are the Central Theme of HBHG.
132. Finally if it is established that any information which happens to be in HBHG a
reproduction of that is not an infringement of copyright because information is not
protected by copyright.
133. In this context I should note that a substantial amount of time was deployed in trying
to establish precisely when Mr Brown and/or his wife possessed and used HBHG.
This is relevant for two reasons. First, the Claimants contend that if they establish
that Mr Brown is not telling the truth as to when he copied and that in fact he copied
earlier it can be used to infer that he has something to hide. This ought to lead to a
conclusion that he would only copy if it was worthwhile and a conclusion therefore
that he substantially copied HBHG.
134. Second, it shows that contrary to Mr Brown’s contention that HBHG was the primary
source of the material to DVC and not the other sources which he identifies in the
Defendants defence and in his evidence.
- 26 -

Page 27
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
135. As I set out above the VSS is the material which the Claimants contend shows by
comparison between HBHG and DVC that supports their contention that HBHG
contains the Central Theme and is also contained in DVC.
136. It is an unwieldy document and has been changed from time to time. I was provided
with a copy of both HBHG and DVC with the relevant passages marked up. Some
passages are very long. Thus for example CT4 is supported as regards HBHG by one
track of 24 pages. To address this complaint the Claimants produced a “condensed
VSS as document 5 annexed to their closing submissions. I propose in this judgment
to analyse the Central Themes by reference to the final 15 sections and deal with the
evidence of witnesses and documents and the shortened VSS at that time.
137. Fortunately I was told by both parties that there was no significant point of law
involved in this case to trouble me.
138. That led to the production of two folders containing only (sic) 20 authorities and the
citation of further authorities in the parties’ respective closing speeches. My initial
feeling on the statements of both Counsel was “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes”. I
feel having analysed the authorities in the light of the submissions that my thought
was correct.
139. To emphasise the points the Claimants produced for me as annex 1 to their closing
submissions a flowchart as to how I should approach the issues in this case.
140. In their closing submissions the Claimants say that the claim is for infringement of
copyright in a literary work HBHG by the writing of another literary work DVC. The
claim is about applying existing established principles of UK copyright law to the
facts as they have emerged. 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.
141. I follow the Claimants “golden mean” as set out in their closing submissions. The
first point is to identify the work that is relied upon. It is the book HBHG meaning
the text that appears reproduced in the published work. It falls within the class of
literary works for the purposes of the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988
(“CDPA88”). The conditions for subsistence of copyright in this work (originality of
skill and labour in expression of the work) are admitted by the Defendants (paragraph
5 of the amended Defence). There is a reservation as to the extent of the originality of
HBHG and no admission is made as to the originality of any part or element of
142. The use of the word “originality” in that paragraph of the Defence is potentially
- 27 -

Page 28
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
143. “Originality” for the purposes of CDPA does not equate to novelty see Sawkins v
Hyperion Records Ltd [2005] 1WLR 3281 paragraphs 27-36. A work “need only be
original” in the limited sense that the author originated it by his efforts rather than
slavishly copying it from the work produced by the efforts of another person”. One
looks at the labour expended in achieving the relevant work. Copyright is designed to
protect a person from others taking the fruits of his labour and thus short circuiting the
work that they must put in to it.
144. Thus it can be said to be irrelevant that the vast majority of the material in HBHG for
example is itself derived from other sources. What is protected it the effort put in by
the Claimants in researching those sources and the ultimate presentation in the form of
HBHG it reflects it is submitted more than slavish copying from those other sources.
145. There is an immediate collision when the material that is produced contains much that
is fact or ideas. As Mummery LJ said in Sawkins (paragraph 29) “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”.
146. It is important to appreciate that because of various expressions about what this case
was alleged to concern. Similar expressions plainly occurred in the Sawkins case (see
paragraph 15). 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).
147. 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.
148. It is important to appreciate that the Claimants do not claim a monopoly in respect of
facts or ideas as expressed in HBHG.
- 28 -

Page 29
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Copying A Substantial Part Of HBHG
149. By section 16 (3) CDPA88 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
150. There have been a number of important decisions concerning copying of the nature
alleged in this case (i.e. non-textual). Before I analyse those however I should make
some preliminary observations. First it is necessary to identify features that have been
allegedly copied. In this case it is said that the Central Themes are the features
allegedly copied.
151. The differences between the two copyright works are not relevant and while the
copied features must be a substantial part of the copyright work relied upon there is no
need for them to be a substantial part of the Defendant’s work (see Lord Millet
Designers Guild v Russell Williams (textiles) Ltd [2001] FSR 11 citing Warwick
Film Productions Ltd v Eisinger [1969] 1 Ch 508.
152. There is much in DVC that is the original (in the non copyright sense) effort of Mr
Brown with the assistance of his wife Blythe. There is much in the text and plot of
DVC which is not in HBHG. 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.
153. The Claimants nevertheless acknowledge that absolute protection against copying is
not available. I refer to paragraph 33 of their closing submissions. 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. An
extreme level of abstraction was shown in paragraph 111 of the Defendant’s opening
skeleton argument. There they say that if there was any scheme of the 15 central
points it is that Jesus was father of a bloodline which married into the Merovingians in
France and his descendants who have been protected since the Middle Ages by a
secret society have a claim to the throne of Palestine. As the Claimants set out in their
closing submissions, the extreme points are easy to identify but there is a point on the
spectrum which the complexity of the expression warrants protection. 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
IPC Media
154. It can be drawn (for example) from the judgment of Laddie J in IPC Media Ltd v
Highbury-Pleasure Publishing Ltd [2005] FSR 20 at page 444 “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”.
- 29 -

Page 30
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Green v Broadcasting Corporation
155. However as part of the assessment of the level of abstraction it seems to me clear that
there must be certainty in the subject matter of such monopoly given by copyright in
order to avoid justice to the rest of the world see IPC Media paragraph 7 referring to
Green v Broadcasting Corporation New Zealand [1989] RPC 700.
156. The Claimants criticised that submission (see paragraph 57 of their closing
submissions). I do not accept the criticism is valid. 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. 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.
Authorities In Non-Textual Infringement Cases
157. It is particularly important when a literary work is dealing with actual events to see
what it is alleged is protectable and what is infringed.
158. In Harman Pictures NV v Osborne [1967] 1 WLR 723 the Plaintiffs owned the
copyright in a reproduction in cinemagraphic form of a book “The Reason Why”
dealing with the Charge of the Light Brigade and the events connected with it.
Discussions ensued between them and the Defendants about the possibility of
purchase of the Plaintiffs rights or a joint production based on the reason why but they
came to nothing. Later the Plaintiff discovered the Defendants intended to produce on
their own account a film called “The Charge of the Light Brigade” based on a
screenplay written by John Osborne the first Defendant (a well known author). The
Plaintiffs issued a writ claiming that there was a marked similarity in the choice of
incidents in the book and the screenplay although besides any similarities there were
many dissimilarities. They applied for an interlocutory injunction. In the course of
giving judgment Goff J dealt with the situation where ideas or schemes or systems or
methods are sought to be protected see:-
“It is common ground that there can be an original work
entitled to protection although the subject matter is not
original, but is for example, as in the present case, some well-
known event in history. The precise amount of knowledge,
labour, judgment or literary skill or taste which the author of
any book or other compilation must bestow upon its
composition in order to acquire copyright in it within the
meaning of the Copyright Act, 1911, cannot be defined in
precise terms: per Lord Atkinson in Macmillan & Co. Ltd. v.
Cooper. There is, however, no dispute that Mrs. Woodham-
- 30 -

Page 31
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Smith displayed all these qualities in amply sufficient
measure and acquired copyright in her book, whilst the
plaintiffs' title to the film rights by assignment is also not
disputed. What is much more difficult is whether the plaintiffs
have made out a sufficient prima facie case of infringement,
or rather intended infringement, and before considering the
facts, I must refer at some length to the relevant law.
There is no copyright in ideas or schemes or systems or
methods: it is confined to their expression……
One must, however, be careful not to jump to the conclusion
that there has been copying merely because of similarity of
stock incidents, or of incidents which are to be found in
historical, semi-historical and fictional literature about
characters in history, see Poznanski v. London Film
Production Ltd. In such cases the plaintiffs, and that
includes the plaintiffs in the present case, are in an obvious
difficulty because of the existence of common sources, as was
emphasised in the case of Pike v. Nicholas…”
159. On the facts Goff J granted the interlocutory injunction.
160. The next case is probably the most important in the area of the present litigation
Ravenscroft v Herbert [1980] RPC 193. This was a claim by the author of a non-
fiction book called The Spear of Destiny. He alleged that the First Defendant James
Herbert a well known author in writing a novel entitled The Spear had infringed his
copyright. The central feature of both books was a spearhead which forms part of the
Hapsburg Treasure exhibited in Vienna. It is described in the museum guide as The
Holy Lance. After the 13th century it was venerated as the lance with which the side
of Jesus was pierced at the crucifixion. It is said that the spear had been carried in
important battles as an emblem and the victories were attributed to its power. The
Plaintiff’s book combined historical facts and a great deal of mysticism and purports
to tell the story of the spear from the earliest times down to the end of the Second
World War.
161. Mr Herbert’s book is a thriller which weaves an improbable story it is alleged of neo
Hitler terrorism in England around the supposed post war exploits of the spear. The
Judge (Brightman J as he then was) was plainly unimpressed with the book. For
example the fact that the spear is apparently in Vienna is dealt with by Mr Herbert
simply describing that as a useless replica.
162. The Plaintiff’s allegation was that Mr Herbert was alleged to have made extensive use
of the Plaintiff’s non fiction work in order to paint in a backcloth of apparent truth
against which his own fiction story can be narrated. The question for decision in the
case was whether he made a legitimate or illegitimate use of the Plaintiffs work.
163. The Plaintiff’s book is summarised in the judgment. The judgment then went on to
consider how Mr Herbert came to write The Spear. He discovered the Plaintiff’s
- 31 -

Page 32
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
book, bought it, read it and thought it would make a splendid theme for a novel. He
duly produced a novel which is summarised in the judgment and plainly did not as I
say impress Brightman J “One must not underestimate the commercial attraction of
the rubbish which I have attempted to describe. The book is written with much
inventiveness and a racy flow of language and incident and the numerous scenes of
violence exercise a strong appeal to certain readers. The Defendants novels have
enjoyed great financial success. Mr Herbert does not think of himself as a serious
164. I make no such comments about either book in the present case as this is not as I have
said a quest for truth of the speculative conjectures or an exercise in literary criticism
of either book.
165. Mr Herbert conceded that he used the Plaintiff’s book for the source of much of the
166. There were numerous examples of significant textual copying (up to 50). The Judge
concluded that Mr Herbert had the Plaintiff’s book in front of him when writing his
own book (a point which Mr Rayner James QC attempted to put repeatedly to Mr
Brown in cross examination). He also acknowledged he had no independent
knowledge of medieval history and did no research of his own and as the Judge
observed there was much language copying from one book to the other in the
Defendants writing of (for example) the prologue. The prologue contains a long list
of Emperors of the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire and others (vis Alaric
the Visigoth and Theodoric the Visigoth) who held the spear and were successful.
These were identical reproductions of the Plaintiffs record save the Roman General
Aetius and apparently St Francis of Assisi. I suppose the naming of Aetius is
superfluous if the spear is held by Theodoric the Visigoth bearing in mind the result of
the Battle of Chalons (as I prefer to call it). Perhaps the dying Theodoric passed it on
to Aetius.
167. General Patton emerges in the story but that is not surprising given his apparent
interest in mystical things and the surprising manner of his death. As the Judge
pointed out the question to decide is the question of fact whether there has been
substantial copying of The Spear of Destiny amounting to an infringement of the
Plaintiff’s rights. The first question is whether there has been copying and secondly
whether the copying is substantial. That factual decision on the facts of that case has
no significance in the present dispute. Thus merely because an author of a work of
non fiction successfully sued an author of fiction based on his non fictional book
provides me with no assistance whatsoever.
168. The judgment is important however in the analysis as between facts and ideas and
copyright claims which involve facts or ideas. Thus at page 203 he said this:-
“Mr. Laddie, for the defendants, rightly says that an author
has no copyright in his facts, nor in his ideas, but only in his
original expression of such facts or ideas. He submitted that
in deciding whether copying is substantial there are four
principal matters to be taken into account. First, the volume
of the material taken, bearing in mind that quality is more
important than quantity; secondly, how much of such
- 32 -

Page 33
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
material is the subject-matter of copyright and how much is
not; thirdly, whether there has been an animus furandi on the
part of the defendant; this was treated by Page-Wood V.C. in
Jarrold v. Houlston (1857) 3 K & J. 708 as equivalent to an
intention on the part of the defendant to take for the purpose
of saving himself labour; fourthly, the extent to which the
plaintiff's and the defendant's books are competing works.
Copyright protects the skill and labour employed by the
plaintiff in production of his work. That skill and labour
embraces not only language originated and used by the
plaintiff, but also such skill and labour as he has employed in
selection and compilation. The principles are clear from the
cases. There is a helpful summary of the authorities in
Harman Pictures N.V. v. Osborne ([1967] 1 W.L.R. 723). For
my purposes it is sufficient to cite two passages from that case
which are taken from earlier authority:
... another person may originate another work in the same
general form, provided he does so from his own resources and
makes the work he so originates a work of his own by his own
labour and industry bestowed upon it. In determining whether
an injunction should be ordered, the question, where the
matter of the plaintiff's work is not original, is how far an
unfair or undue use has been made of the work? If, instead of
searching into the common sources and obtaining your
subject-matter from thence, you avail yourself of the labour of
your predecessor, adopt his arrangements and questions, or
adopt them with a colourable variation, it is an illegitimate
This appears at page 730 of the report.
There is also this passage:
In the case of works not original in the proper sense of the
term, but composed of, or compiled or prepared from
materials which are open to all, the fact that one man has
produced such a work does not take away from anyone else
the right to produce another work of the same kind, and in
doing so to use all the materials open to him. But as the law
has been precisely stated by Hall V.C. in Hogg v. Scott, .the
true principle in all these cases is that the defendant is not at
liberty to use or avail himself of the labour which the plaintiff
has been at for the purpose of producing his work, that is, in
fact, merely to take away the result of another man's labour
or, in other words, his property"': see page 732.
In this case the judge was confronted with the well-known
book by Mrs. Cecil Woodham Smith entitled The Reason Why
and also the script for a motion picture written by John
- 33 -

Page 34
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Osborne. The question which the judge posed was this (at
page 736):
... did John Osborne work independently and produce a script
which, from the nature of things, has much in common with
the book, or did he proceed the other way round and use the
book as a basis, taking his selection of incidents and
quotations therefrom, albeit omitting a number and making
some alternations and additions, by reference to the common
sources and by some reference to other sources?
That is the same test as was stated by Buckley L.J. in Elanco
Products Ltd. v. Mandops (Agrochemical Specialists) Ltd.
[1979] F.S.R. 46 which was heard on motion for interim
relief. The facts, briefly, were that the plaintiffs had invented
a herbicide and had carried out trials in order to discover how
the product could best be used. Various research
establishments had also conducted their own field trials. The
results of both the plaintiffs' trials and of the independent
trials had been published in certain scientific journals. The
plaintiffs marketed the herbicide in tins with which they
included a leaflet compiled by the plaintiffs which set out
detailed instructions on how the herbicide should be used,
upon what crops and when, and what weeds it would best
control. The plaintiffs claimed copyright in the leaflet and
asserted that it was a compilation of what they regarded as
relevant information extracted from all the available
literature and especially from their own. After the patent had
expired the defendants began to sell the same herbicide with a
leaflet which was alleged to be similar to the plaintiffs'. The
substantial defence raised by the defendants was that they
were entitled to take any information available to the public
including that contained in the plaintiffs' literature provided
that they did not adopt the same form or the same language,
that is to say provided that they did not just copy the plaintiffs'
literature. Buckley L.J. said this at page 57:
"As I understand the law in this case, the defendants were
fully entitled to make use of any information of a technical or
any other kind, which was available to them in the public
domain, for the purpose of compiling their label and their
trade literature, and they were not entitled to copy the
plaintiffs' label or trade literature thereby making use of the
plaintiffs' skill and judgment and saving themselves the
trouble, and very possibly the cost, of assembling their own
information, either from their own researches or from
sources available in documents in the public domain and
thereby making their own selection of material to put into that
literature and producing their own label and trade literature".
- 34 -

Page 35
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
The main thrust of Mr. Laddie's argument was that the
plaintiff intended his book to be read as a factual account of
historical events, that the defendant accepted it as fact and did
no more than repeat certain of those facts. The plaintiff
cannot claim a monopoly in historical facts. The law of
copyright does not preclude another author from writing
upon the same theme. It is perfectly legitimate for another
person to contrive a novel about the Hofburg spear, even
about its supposed ancestry and supernatural powers.
Otherwise one would be driven to the conclusion that the
plaintiff has a monopoly of the facts. Members of the public
are entitled to use The Spear of Destiny as a historical work
of reference. Mr. Laddie conceded that if the plaintiff had
research and selected which facts to use, and had expended
substantial labour in making that selection, and a substantial
amount of his labour had been taken by the defendant, then
there might be infringement. In the present case, he
submitted, the plaintiff's facts were selected by history or by
Dr. Stein and not by the plaintiff. In the result, there had been
no reproduction of the plaintiff's book in relation to a
substantial part thereof. In the course of his copying the
defendant confined himself to those matters which are
represented in the plaintiff's book as historical facts, whether
their origin is to be found in documented history or in the
meditations of Dr. Stein.
In developing his argument Mr. Laddie drew a distinction
between historical works and works of fiction. He said that if
any author writes a history book he obtains copyright, but
what amounts to an infringement of that copyright, i.e.
substantial reproduction, depends to a great extent upon
whether all the defendant has taken is historical facts or
amounts to more than that. The degree of user which would
amount to an infringement is different in the case of a
historical work than in the case of a work of fiction. There is
more freedom to copy in the case of the historical work.
I am inclined to accept that a historical work is not to be
judged by precisely the same standards as a work of fiction.
The purpose of a novel is usually to interest the reader and to
contribute to his enjoyment of his leisure. A historical work
may well have that purpose, but the author of a serious and
original historical work may properly be assumed by his
readers to have another purpose as well, namely to add to the
knowledge possessed by the reader and perhaps in the process
to increase the sum total of human experience and
understanding. The author of a historical work must, I think,
have attributed to him an intention that the information
thereby imparted may be used by the reader, because
knowledge would become sterile if it could not be applied.
- 35 -

Page 36
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Therefore, it seems to me reasonable to suppose that the law
of copyright will allow a wider use to be made of a historical
work than of a novel so that knowledge can be built upon
169. There is a further observation on Mr Laddie’s submissions at page 206:-
“In my judgment, Mr. Laddie's proposition must not be
pressed too far. It is, I think, clear from the authorities that
an author is not entitled, under the guise of producing an
original work, to reproduce the arguments and illustrations of
another author so as to appropriate to himself the literary
labours of that author: see Pike v. Nicholas (1870) L.R. 5 Ch.
App. 251, Ladbroke (Football) Ltd. v. William Hill [1964] 1
W.L.R. 273 and the passages, which I have already read, from
the Harman Pictures N.V. case.
Mr. Sheridan, for the plaintiff, invites me to view the matter
in a different light. He submits that the plaintiff's work is not
a historical work of the conventional type, because it is not a
chronology. It is not a continuous methodical record of public
events (which is the primary dictionary definition of
"history"). The plaintiff's book is poles away from history. It
is disjointed and unmethodical (no offensive criticism is
intended of the literary technique that he employs) being
composed of a variety of different events, recollections,
quotations, philosophy, meditations and so on, designed to
support the theory in which the plaintiff had come to believe.
Vast areas of history are left out by the plaintiff in his attempt
to persuade the reader that the Hofburg Spear has the
ancestry and attributes which the plaintiff believes are to be
ascribed to it. The book is a very personal insight into history.
What the plaintiff has done is to select events from history
and from his recollection of the meditations of Dr. Stein in
order to present to the reader the credentials of the Hofburg
I accept Mr. Sheridan's analysis of the nature of the
plaintiff's work.
There was a suggestion by Mr. Laddie that some distinction
should be drawn in the present case because much of what
the defendant copied from The Spear of Destiny was merely
information derived by the plaintiff from Dr. Stein. I do not
think it matters whether the source of the plaintiff's book was
painstaking research into documented history or painstaking
recording and recollection of what Dr. Stein had told him. It
was also suggested that a distinction should be drawn on the
ground that The Spear of Destiny was, since the death of Dr.
Stein, the only possible source of certain of the facts brought
to light by the meditation of Dr. Stein. It does not, however,
- 36 -

Page 37
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
seem to me that the paucity of sources of information excuses
the defendant from taking the trouble of assembling his own
information and making his own selection of material. If that
is not practicable, he can always apply to the plaintiff for a
170. Not surprisingly the Claimants rely upon this case as being a strong pointer in their
favour. Less surprisingly and equally understandable in its context is Mr Baldwin
QC’s reliance upon parts of the judgment for the defence (he was second junior
Counsel on behalf of the Defendants).
171. First it seems to me that it is accepted that an author has no copyright in his facts nor
in his ideas but only in his original expression of such facts or ideas. Original in that
context does not mean novel of course.
172. Second the purpose of copyright is to protect the skill and labour employed by the
Plaintiff in the production of his work.
173. Third in the case of works not original in the proper sense of the term but composed
or compiled from materials which are open to all the fact that one man has produced
such a work does not take away from anyone else the right to produce another work of
the same kind “and in doing so to use all the materials open to him”. What he
cannot do however is avail himself of the labour of the Plaintiff.
174. Subject to what I say in the next paragraph where a book is intended to be read as a
factual historical event and that the Defendant accepts it as fact and did no more than
repeat certain of those facts the Plaintiff cannot claim a monopoly in those historical
facts. It is accordingly perfectly legitimate for another person to contrive a novel
based on those facts as otherwise a Claimant would have a monopoly of the facts.
This was an argument put forward by Mr Laddie (page 205 above line 18). It seems
to me that the Judge accepted that argument as far as it went (see the bottom of that
page and on to page 206). This seems to me to mirror what the Claimants actually
expected to occur when they published their book. I do not see Brightman J as such
rejecting Mr Laddie’s submissions.
175. It is true (page 206 above) that he accepted that Mr Laddie’s proposition must not be
pressed too far as he rightly set out in that part of his judgment although the historical
contents and the arguments can be used they cannot be used through the medium of
appropriating the literary labours of the original author.
176. In other words the facts and the themes and the ideas cannot be protected but how
those facts, themes and ideas are put together (this is the Claimants’ “architecture
argument) can be. It follows from this that the Claimants must show that there is a
putting together of facts, themes and ideas by them as a result of their efforts and it is
that which Mr Brown has copied. I should say on passing that there is no claim based
on collocation.
Designers Guild
177. The next important decision is The Designers Guild case.
- 37 -

Page 38
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
178. This was a claim by the Plaintiff to enforce its copyright in the artwork for the fabric
design Ixia. The infringement complained of was the creation of the Defendants own
design Marguerite. There were two issues namely what had the designers of
Marguerite copied from Ixia and second did what had been copied amount to the
whole or substantial part of Ixia. At first instance the trial judge (Mr Lawrence
Collins Q.C as he then was) examined all the circumstances and the witnesses and
disbelieved essentially the Defendants and concluded that they had used Ixia (despite
their protests to the contrary). On the second issue he rejected the Defendants
submissions based on a dissection of the Ixia design and suggestions that they lacked
originality and concluded that what happened amounted to a copying of a substantial
part of Ixia.
179. On appeal the Judge’s findings as to copying were not challenged; the only issue was
substantiality. The Court of Appeal overturned the Judge’s view as to substantiality
on the basis of three reasons namely visual comparison, dissection and ideas rather
than expression.
180. Visual comparison has nothing to do with the present case.
181. Second dissection is relevant in the sense that the copied features must not be dealt
with piecemeal but the copying as a whole and the cumulative effect (as the Judge had
done at first instance) must be considered. However, as Lord Hoffman pointed out
(paragraph 22) “if there had been no findings anything that had been copied except
the notion of flowers and stripe, the conclusion in the Court of Appeal would have
been unexceptionable, with this involved ignoring the findings of fact, both in their
detail and their cumulative effect”.
182. The key part of the judgment as regards to the present case concerns and observations
on “ideas and expressions”. Lord Hoffman said this (paragraph 23:-
“Ideas and expression
23 It is often said, as Morritt L.J. said in this case, that
copyright subsists not in ideas but in the form in which the
ideas are expressed. The distinction between expression and
ideas finds a place in the Agreement on Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) ([1994] O.J.
L336/213), to which the United Kingdom is a party (see
Article 9.2: "Copyright protection shall extend to expressions
and not to ideas ..."). Nevertheless, it needs to be handled
with care. What does it mean? As Lord Hailsham of St
Marylebone said in L.B. (Plastics) Ltd v. Swish Products Ltd
[1979] R.P.C. 551 at 629, "it all depends on what you mean
by 'ideas"'.
24 Plainly there can be no copyright in an idea which is
merely in the head, which has not been expressed in
copyrightable form, as a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic
work, but the distinction between ideas and expression cannot
mean anything so trivial as that. On the other hand, every
element in the expression of an artistic work (unless it got
- 38 -

Page 39
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
there by accident or compulsion) is the expression of an idea
on the part of the author. It represents her choice to paint
stripes rather than polka dots, flowers rather than tadpoles,
use one colour and brush technique rather than another, and
so on. The expression of these ideas is protected, both as a
cumulative whole and also to the extent to which they form a
"substantial part" of the work. Although the term
"substantial part" might suggest a quantitative test, or at least
the ability to identify some discrete part which, on quantitative
or qualitative grounds, can be regarded as substantial, it is
clear upon the authorities that neither is the correct test.
Ladbroke (Football) Ltd v. William Hill (Football) Ltd [1964]
1 W.L.R. 273 establishes that substantiality depends upon
quality rather than quantity (Lord Reid at 276, Lord Evershed
at 283, Lord Hodson at 288, Lord Pearce at 293), and there
are numerous authorities which show that the "part" which
is regarded as substantial can be a feature or combination of
features of the work, abstracted from it rather than forming a
discrete part. That is what the judge found to have been
copied in this case. Or to take another example, the original
elements in the plot of a play or novel may be a substantial
part, so that copyright may be infringed by a work which does
not reproduce a single sentence of the original. If one asks
what is being protected in such a case, it is difficult to give
any answer except that it is an idea expressed in the copyright
25 My Lords, if one examines the cases in which the
distinction between ideas and the expression of ideas has been
given effect, I think it will be found that they support two
quite distinct propositions. The first is that a copyright work
may express certain ideas which are not protected because
they have no connection with the literary, dramatic, musical
or artistic nature of the work. It is on this ground that, for
example, a literary work which describes a system or
invention does not entitle the author to claim protection for
his system or invention as such. The same is true of an
inventive concept expressed in an artistic work. However
striking or original it may be, others are (in the absence of
patent protection) free to express it in works of their own: see
Kleeneze Ltd v. D.R.G. (U.K.) Ltd [1984] F.S.R. 399. The
other proposition is that certain ideas expressed by a
copyright work may not be protected because, although they
are ideas of a literary, dramatic or artistic nature, they are not
original, or so commonplace as not to form a substantial part
of the work. Kenrick & Co. v. Lawrence & Co. (1890) 25
Q.B.D. 99, is a well-known example. It is on this ground that
the mere notion of combining stripes and flowers would not
have amounted to a substantial part of the plaintiff's work. At
that level of abstraction, the idea, though expressed in the
- 39 -

Page 40
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
design, would not have represented sufficient of the author's
skill and labour as to attract copyright protection.
26 Generally speaking, in cases of artistic copyright, the
more abstract and simple the copied idea, the less likely it is to
constitute a substantial part. Originality, in the sense of the
contribution of the author's skill and labour, tends to lie in
the detail with which the basic idea is presented. Copyright
law protects foxes better than hedgehogs. In this case,
however, the elements which the judge found to have been
copied went well beyond the banal and I think that the judge
was amply justified in deciding that they formed a substantial
part of the originality of the work.
183. Lord Millet criticised the Court of Appeal in effect for attempting by considering that
whilst copying had occurred a substantial part of the expression of the idea had not
(paragraphs 34-35):
“34 The Court of Appeal began by making a visual
comparison of the two designs. Their initial reaction was that
it did not look as if the defendants' design involved the
copying of a substantial part of the copyright work. As Morritt
L.J. put it at para. 30:
On the broadest level they just do not look sufficiently similar.
Recognising that it would not be right to reach a concluded
view "on so subjective and unanalytical approach alone",
they proceeded to conduct a detailed analysis of the judge's
findings of fact and recorded the many differences of detail in
those features of the defendants' design which the judge had
found to have been copied from the copyright work. This only
served to confirm their initial impression. They concluded
that, while the defendants had copied the idea of the copyright
work and adopted the same techniques, they had not copied a
substantial part of the expression of the idea. They
accordingly allowed the defendants' appeal.
35 It is difficult to avoid the impression that the Court of
Appeal were not persuaded that the defendants had copied the
copyright work at all. Unable to reverse the judge's
unchallenged findings that they had, they thought that if the
defendants had copied any features of the copyright work they
could not have copied very much. By adopting this approach
they not only went behind the judge's unchallenged findings
of fact, which they were not entitled to do, but rejected his
finding of substantiality which, being essentially a matter of
impression, an appellate court should always be very slow to
- 40 -

Page 41
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
184. He also gave guidance as to how a claim of the present type should be approached
(paragraphs 38-41):
“38 An action for infringement of artistic copyright, however,
is very different. It is not concerned with the appearance of
the defendant's work but with its derivation. The copyright
owner does not complain that the defendant's work resembles
his, his complaint is that the defendant has copied all or a
substantial part of the copyright work. The reproduction may
be exact or it may introduce deliberate variations--involving
altered copying or colourable imitation as it is sometimes
called. Even where the copying is exact, the defendant may
incorporate the copied features into a larger work much and
perhaps most of which is original or derived from other
sources. But while the copied features must be a substantial
part of the copyright work, they need not form a substantial
part of the defendant's work: see Warwick Film Productions
Ltd v. Eisinger [1969] Ch. 508. Thus the overall appearance
of the defendant's work may be very different from the
copyright work, but it does not follow that the defendant's
work does not infringe the plaintiff's copyright.
39 The first step in an action for infringement of artistic
copyright is to identify those features of the defendant's
design which the plaintiff alleges have been copied from the
copyright work. The court undertakes a visual comparison of
the two designs, noting the similarities and the differences.
The purpose of the examination is not to see whether the
overall appearance of the two designs is similar, but to judge
whether the particular similarities relied on are sufficiently
close, numerous or extensive to be more likely to be the result
of copying than of coincidence. It is at this stage that
similarities may be disregarded because they are
commonplace, unoriginal, or consist of general ideas. If the
plaintiff demonstrates sufficient similarity, not in the works as
a whole but in the features which he alleges have been copied,
and establishes that the defendant had prior access to the
copyright work, the burden passes to the defendant to satisfy
the judge that, despite the similarities, they did not result from
40 Even at this stage, therefore, the inquiry is directed to the
similarities rather than the differences. This is not to say that
the differences are unimportant. They may indicate an
independent source and so rebut any inference of copying,
but differences in the overall appearance of the two works due
to the presence of features of the defendant's work about
which no complaint is made are not material. In the present
case the disposition of the flowers and (except in one
instance) the colourways of the defendants' design are very
- 41 -

Page 42
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
different from those of the plaintiffs' design. They were not
taken from the copyright work, and the plaintiffs make no
complaint in respect of them. They make a significant
difference to the overall appearance of the design, but this is
not material where the complaint is of infringement of
copyright and not passing off.
41 Once the judge has found that the defendants' design
incorporates features taken from the copyright work, the
question is whether what has been taken constitutes all or a
substantial part of the copyright work. This is a matter of
impression, for whether the part taken is substantial must be
determined by its quality rather than its quantity. It depends
upon its importance to the copyright work. It does not depend
upon its importance to the defendants' work, as I have
already pointed out. The pirated part is considered on its own
(see Ladbroke (Football) Ltd v. William Hill (Football) Ltd
[1964] 1 W.L.R. 273 at 293, per Lord Pearce) and its
importance to the copyright work assessed. There is no need
to look at the infringing work for this purpose”.
185. Finally Lord Scott stated that the court should consider whether the Defendant has
incorporated substantial part of the independent skill, labour etc contributed by the
original author in creating the copyright work and that that test is based on the
principle” a copier is not at liberty to appropriate the benefit of anothers skill and
labour” (paragraph 64).
186. It is with those unchallenged legal principles that I go on to consider the claim further.
I have already set out how HBHG was written. I have alluded in general terms the
way in which Mr Brown says DVC was written and I will set this out in more detail. I
should however, point out at this stage that Mr Brown’s version of events is
challenged as shall be seen further in this judgment when I analyse the evidence that
was given before me.
The Defendant’s Contentions
187. The analysis of how it is alleged DVC was written is to be considered in light of the
Amended Defence where it is denied that (1) there is any Central Theme in HBHG (2)
if there is it cannot be readily found or (3) if there is any Central Theme in HBHG as
alleged or (4) even whether HBHG has any Central Theme at all. The Defence also
contends that HBHG contains a very large number of ideas and suggestions not all of
which are consistent with each other and many of which appear to be marginal. The
Central Theme it is suggested is an arbitrary selection of some of those ideas and
suggestions with modifications and amplification to suit a presently unknown
purpose. That was further expanded in the trial. The Defendants contend that the
Central Theme is an artificial creation dovetailed to what can be found in the DVC.
Thus it is submitted large parts of essential elements of HBHG are jettisoned from the
- 42 -

Page 43
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Central Theme because they do not appear in the DVC and are thus inconvenient for
the purpose of present play.
188. The Defendants further deny that DVC was copied from HBHG but if there are any
similarities it is denied that any inference of copying or that DVC reproduced a
substantial part of HBHG can be made. It is asserted that the Claimants have no
monopoly over historical matters, ideas or theories. The matters set out in the VSS it
is suggested are ideas or facts not capable of protection by copyright law as alleged by
the Claimants.
189. It is also asserted that a number of other sources in particular WAJ, TR and Rule by
Secrecy (“RBS”) contain in substance at least as much as the Central Theme as does
DVC. Mr Brown contends that he saw WAJ and TR before he referred to HBHG and
saw RBS after he had seen HBHG.
190. The Defence then set out the way in which Mr Brown wrote his earlier books and then
embarked upon research simulated first by Da Vinci and messages hidden in his
paintings and they “together found thousands of sources to draw from including
artwork, architecture, religious documents, rituals and other historical facts and
artefacts and they met with historians and other academics and extended their
travels from the Vatican and France to England and elsewhere. Much of this
research founds its way into DVC albeit in a distilled form”. (Paragraph 16). Little
of this was produced at the trial.
191. He submitted the Synopsis (in January 2001) and gave evidence he had not seen
HBHG prior to that submission.
192. The response to the VSS is set out in Schedule 1 to the Amended Defence. I will deal
with this detailed response when I come to assess the VSS. However, it is important
to note that the preamble is important. Mr Brown in the preamble states that he
looked at numerous sources whilst researching and writing the DVC including
HBHG. There was no single or primary source. The Hiram Key (“HK”), TR the
Goddess in the Gospels (“GG”) and WAJ were important sources although there were
many others.
193. He also states “in relation to any particular fact or topic it is generally not possible
to identify whether there was one particular source or whether matters became
known to Mr Brown as a result of him consulting numerous sources. The latter is
more likely.”
194. Accordingly it is important to appreciate that Mr Brown has no positive case generally
as regards which sources he relied upon when writing the parts of DVC about which
the Claimants complain.
The Synopsis
195. Certain parts of the Synopsis were redacted due to grounds of commercial
confidentiality. It is said of the Synopsis in the Amended Defence (paragraph 17) that
it contains the entire framework and thematic crux of the novel as well as specific
clues, locations and characters.
- 43 -

Page 44
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
196. The Synopsis starts with the reference to Priory of Sion being a factual organisation
and founded in 1188 and being active today and including illustrious past
grandmasters such as Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo and Leonardo Da Vinci.
It next refers to Opus Dei and the critical reports allegedly of that organisation with
allegations of brainwashing, coercion, and other practices. Finally, it notes that all
descriptions of artwork and architecture and secret rituals are accurate and or
paintings and the codes hidden within them can still be seen today. This is the
executive summary to whet the reader’s appetite.
Use of Books in Writing The Synopsis
197. It is plain that the title The Da Vinci Code is taken from TR. The cover of the book
describes it as being “the Secret Code of Leonardo Da Vinci revealed”. Chapter 1 is
headed “The Secret Code of Leonardo Da Vinci”. Mr Brown’s original copy as
provided in this action has significant notes and markings on them. Most of these
marks were done by his wife Blythe. Seven books are listed in a “partial
bibliography namely TR, GG, WAJ, History of Knights Templar, HK, Knights
Templar and Born in Blood. At that stage there is no reference to RBS. Nor is there
any reference to HBHG. One book has been lost (The Knights Templar). Mr Brown
says in his witness statement (paragraph 164) that he did not own a copy of HBHG at
the time he wrote the Synopsis nor had he or Blythe read it.
198. When starting on the research which was started in May 2000 he started buying
books. One of the first books he purchased was TR. The Synopsis he says was
written long before they bought or consulted HBHG.
199. I have considerable difficulties with that statement. On the cover of TR is this
statement. “One of the most fascinating books I have read since the Holy Blood and
the Holy Grail” – Colin Wilson. HBHG is extensively cited in the text. After the
first annotations at the front of the book in Mr Brown’s copy of TR the next
significant annotation is at page 39 where HBHG is referred to for the first time. The
title of the book is actually underlined and along side it Blythe Brown has written “get
this book”. At page 46 where the text is dealing with HBHG again parts are
highlighted. Finally in this context, TR reports on HBHG on page 48 as follows:
the mass of evidence assembled by Baigent, Leigh and
Lincoln in the Holy Blood Holy Grail for the historical
existence of the Priory is unassailable. And yet more
evidence – which has been amassed by other researchers –
was published in the 1996 revised and updated edition of their
book. (This is essential reading for anyone interested in this
mystery.) ”
200. Thereafter the text for a number of pages analyses what is said in HBHG. That part of
the text contains markings.
201. At page 66 an express annotation of “HBHG” is made against underlined text
showing that the source of that text is HBHG. Now I appreciate that the annotations
have not all been made at the same time. TR was apparently purchased in May 2000.
On the notes on the front there is a note apparently made on the 14 October 2000 (but
still long before the Synopsis was written) reminding Blythe Brown of the fact that
- 44 -

Page 45
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
she has just heard a rumour of fact that Pierre Plantard died 13 June 2000. Mr Brown
in his evidence suggests that all his books are deeply and extensively and thoroughly
researched. Having acquired TR in May 2000 (as is conceded) I cannot accept that
HBHG was acquired at a much later time if it is going to be seriously contended that
extensive research is gone into before DVC is written.
Criticism of Dan Brown on Books Available when Synopsis Written
202. The following exchange took place between Mr Brown and myself:-
“MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Before you do, can I ask
you to look at page 48 of Templar Revelation, second
paragraph at the end. Do you see what they say about Holy
Blood, Holy Grail?
A. The second paragraph?
Q. It starts: "The mass of evidence".
A. On page 49?
Q. 48.
A. "The mass of evidence", yes. (Pause for reading) Yes.
Q. How did you miss it?
A. How did I miss it?
Q. Templar Revelation tells you Holy Blood, Holy Grail is
"essential reading" for anyone interested in this mystery and
yet that is the only book you did not look at.
A. Actually, I am sure there is an enormous bibliography
here of material that we did not look at. In fact, on page 39
there is an actual note that says go and look at the Holy Blood
Holy Grail.
Q. That would not really help you. The two things would
suggest that you would actually go and get Holy Blood, Holy
Grail as "essential reading", it says.
A. And, as I have said, yes, it was essential reading we used it
at some point. The question here is when it entered the mix.
Q. You get Templar Revelations around May 2000, you are
preparing the synopsis ultimately leading to its release in
January 2001. The Templar Revelations is a book that you
heavily rely upon and it tells you that HBHG is essential
- 45 -

Page 46
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
reading. Yet when leading up to the synopsis you want me to
believe that you did not look at it?
A. That is exactly what I want you to believe. It is a very
short period of time. I am dealing with broad strokes. I have
everything I need in the books in my synopsis, in that
bibliography. I would not have been eager to pick up a book
this thick about specifics when Templar Revelation so
beautifully outlines the points I needed; the same with
Margaret Starbird. I am in a synopsis phase. I am looking at
the big picture, not the details”.
203. I find his answer unconvincing. In this context the cross examination at T8/1061-
1063 and T9/1198-1200 is important. What is extraordinary about Mr Brown’s
evidence is that he appears to have acquired all of the books that cover this area apart
from the one that is described as essential reading.
204. As that cross examination phase shows Mr Brown has no positive case that he can put
forward as to when he acquired HBHG. In reality his sole basis is on the fact that it is
not included in the Synopsis. He makes the very good point that he was trying to
impress the publishers with the depth of the knowledge that had gone into the book
and its research and that it would have been of great assistance to him if he had the
book at that time to have mentioned it. The same point could have been made about
RBS which would have broadened his knowledge but he accepts that he did not have
that until a later stage.
205. There is much force in this contention on his part.
206. Further, it is in my view supported by an analysis of the content of the Synopsis. It is
true that there is reference to the Priory of Sion on the very first page and the list of
Grand Masters. That however is to be found in TR page 41 (including the two names
of Botticelli). The reference to Hiram Abif on page 5 can be found extensively in HK.
The further references to the Priory of Sion at pages 9, 12, 15-16, 23 are all references
that can be found in the books identified in the partial bibliography as opposed to
HBHG. Further on page 23 there is reference to Mary Magdalene fleeing to France
where she gave birth to Jesus’ daughter Sarah “very persuasive historical evidence on
this” (emphasise in the text itself). If there is any such persuasive evidence it cannot
come from HBHG which makes no reference to the name of Jesus’ daughter. Such a
reference is to be found in WAJ (pages 60-62). Equally the reference to the Council
of Nicea on the same page could be derived from HK page 64. I am not sure where
the vote 5/4 came from (I suspect it was a literary invention to dramatise the effect of
such a narrow vote on allegedly conferring divinity on Jesus). Certainly it cannot
have come from HBHG where the correct vote of 218 for 2 against is given (footnote
5 to page 388).
207. The Claimants raised an important point in cross examination of Mr Brown arising
out of paragraph 123 of his first witness statement. In that paragraph he gives as an
example a point made in the Synopsis at page 48. As he said this was done in January
2001 “long before we bought or consulted HBHG”. This paragraph helped him he
said work out where the main sources were for the Bloodline point. He refers to the
fact that at page 48 of the Synopsis is a reference to “extends from vine to sea”. This
- 46 -

Page 47
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
at page 48 is said to be a cryptic reference to the more Royal Merovingian bloodline
(in French, mer = sea and vigine = vine). This he said came from WAJ page 62. The
paragraph then goes on to say that when the bloodline theory is being explained to
Sophie by Langdon he included a note to readers that there are countless biblical
references to Jesus as a bridegroom and Mary Magdalene as the bride and the vine
bearing his sacred fruit. This is dealt with he says in the first three chapters of WAJ.
208. He is quite right in that respect generally. However, reference to page 62 of WAJ
shows that the book breaks down Merovingian to be mer and vine as Mary and Vine
i.e. not the Sea.
209. At the top there are handwritten pencil notes by Blythe Brown which make the same
point. Mer – vin Mary – The Vine. There is therefore nothing in WAJ to analyse Mer
= Sea.
210. Confronted with that in cross examination he acknowledged that there is no reference
to Mer = Sea at that part of WAJ. His explanation (T8/1072/20) is that he took the
French word Mer for Sea as it is much better rhymed for Mary. He said he was fairly
certain that it was in other books (it is not). This is terribly weak and he looked like
he was making the answer up.
211. Mr Brown walked into a trap that Mr Rayner James set for him. It was put to him that
the reference to word Mer = Sea can be found in HBHG page 235. It is also
underlined in blue pencil by Blythe Brown. It is worthwhile noting that on page 236
there is further underlining and the notes “Sauniere have long hair”. It is unlikely in
my view that the underlining on the two pages occurred at a separate time. They
appear to be connected with an arrow.
212. Sauniere linked to the curator of the Louvre did not come until after the Synopsis was
written. Mr Brown accepted the logic as put to him by Mr Rayner James but
disagreed with it. He reiterated that HBHG was not in the mix at that time. He
speculated (in my view) that he drew from his knowledge of French that Mer equalled
Absence of Blythe Brown from the Trial
213. All of this could have been clarified had Blythe Brown given evidence. As shall be
shown further in this judgment there are serious issues over the use of HBHG which
in reality only she could have explained. I raised her absence at the opening of the
trial and drew to the parties’ attention the Court of Appeal decision upholding my
decision in Lennox Lewis v Eliades [2005] EWC 8 Civ1627. The Court of Appeal
upheld my decision to draw adverse inferences from unexplained reasons as to why
witnesses who were apparently available when their evidence was crucial to a case
were not called. Blythe Brown clearly falls within that context. Faced with that
observation the Defendant produced a third witness statement of Mr Brown on 3
March 2006. In paragraph 19 of that witness statement he set out reasons why Blythe
Brown was not called. First he said that he and his wife were very close and that he
firmly believed that he could answer any questions regarding her assistance to him in
the research of HBHG. Second whilst he felt it important to assist Random House in
its Defence of what he regards to be a spurious claim he made it clear to Random
House he did not want his wife to be troubled by it. She disliked public attention and
- 47 -

Page 48
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
he saw no reason why she should be put through the stress that the glare of publicity
would cause. The coverage of the case has been wide spread and he had been
thoroughly jostled by the press himself and his wife would have hated it.
214. It is undoubtedly the fact that the case has attracted lots of publicity. However that is
hardly surprising given the success of DVC and Mr Brown’s rise to stardom. I
appreciate that a rise to stardom in the modern world creates intolerable pressures and
intrusions into privacy. However it is quite clear that Mr Brown has not been able to
provide all the answers as to the material which Blythe prepared for him. Second I do
not regard the reasons put forward in the third witness statement for her absence as
satisfactory. Whilst the litigation is against Random House it is Mr Brown’s and his
wife’s writings which are effectively in the dock. He has just as big a stake in the
outcome as the Defendants. How DVC was researched and created is vital to the
issues in this case. Blythe Brown’s role in that exercise is crucial and I do not accept
that there are reasons of a credible nature put forward as to why she has not appeared
to give evidence.
215. Accordingly I conclude that her absence is explicable only on the basis that she would
not support Mr Brown’s assertion as to the use made of HBHG and when that use
occurred in that evidence.
216. With that in mind however I accept Mr Brown’s evidence that he did not use HBHG
when he wrote the Synopsis. The single point identified in this extract of cross
examination referred to above is equally explicable on the basis of Mr Brown being
caught out in paragraph 123 in being overly casual. I do not accept that this single
point is sufficient to reject his evidence on this point. It is quite possible that the
annotation occurred after the Synopsis was written when Sophie was linked to
217. He is supported in my view by an examination of the theme of the Synopsis. It seems
to me that the theme of the Synopsis is clearly derived from WAJ, TR, HK and GG.
It concentrates on the artistic elements of Leonardo da Vinci and the Sacred Feminine
Line. I accept that this was down to Blythe Brown’s beliefs in this area and I can see
and determine in my view that those were the sources for the Synopsis.
Use of HBHG By Blythe Brown/Dan Brown
218. However that does not lead to the conclusion that Blythe Brown did not have HBHG
at that time and had not prepared research based on it. In my view later evidence as I
will set out in this judgment plainly demonstrates that she was using HBHG as a
source of material to put to Mr Brown when the Synopsis was written and earlier. It is
possible (and given the passage of time the omission is quite understandable) that in
discussions between Blythe and Mr Brown the word “Mer” was discussed in the
context the Merovingians. Mr Brown could easily then have incorporated that in the
Synopsis without appreciating that she had taken it from HBHG already.
219. As appears further in this judgment there is significant other material which points
inexorably to Blythe Brown having used HBHG extensively much earlier (as early as
2000 in my view) than Mr Brown admits. I do not accept that he necessarily knew
that and I suspect that this is the area of difficulty which has led to Blythe Brown not
giving evidence.
- 48 -

Page 49
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
220. Nevertheless the overall position in my view is that the most compelling pointer to the
fact that Mr Brown did not use HBHG to write the Synopsis is his well made point
that if he had it would have been in the Bibliography for the reasons that he gave.
221. The significance of the Synopsis is that it was provided to the Defendants as the basis
for DVC. My view, as set out above, is that HBHG did not feature at that stage but I
am firmly of the view that HBHG was the essential tool for the Langdon/Teabing
Lectures which were written at a later stage. That stage is of course much later, but
not as late as Mr Brown suggests in his evidence. The first 190 pages of the book
were delivered in March 2002 and it is accepted that there is no use of HBHG in that
part. It does not of course follow that whilst Mr Brown up until that stage, might not
have used any HBHG material, that Blythe Brown was not already extensively
researching the remainder of the book for subsequent use by him. This is, in my view,
what happened. I find as a fact that Blythe Brown had HBHG (for reasons which will
be amplified below in this judgment) since at least 2000 having been clearly pointed
towards it by the extensive references in TR. At the end of the day her failure to give
evidence without any reasonable excuse is determinative on this issue.
222. She then used that book (and other material doubtless) to provide assistance to Mr
Brown to write the second remaining parts of DVC which process commenced in
March 2002 and finished substantively in August 2002.
223. It follows that contrary to the impression given the Synopsis, in my view, was
prepared on the basis of a very superficial analysis from a small number of books. Mr
Brown in his own evidence said that it was meant to be a broad picture. It certainly
was. Whether or not the research became more detailed when the relevant parts of
DVC came to be written is a matter for debate.
General Observations
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
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
- 49 -

Page 50
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Non Protection For Ideas And Facts Alone
227. Mr Rayner James QC acknowledged as I have set out above that ideas and facts of
themselves cannot be protected but the architecture or structure or way in which they
are presented can be. It is therefore not enough to point to ideas or facts that exist in
the Central Themes that are to be found in HBHG and DVC. It must be shown that
the architecture or structure is substantially copied. The only structure that has been
identified in this case is the presentation of the 15 Themes in a chronological order. A
single textual theme has no structure; it is just a piece of text which is the way the
Claimants ultimately suggested the Central Themes should be considered.
228. The Claimants themselves in this case chose to dissect their Central Themes
ultimately into 15 component parts. Having done that in effect they invited the
Defendants to attack those component parts on an individual basis. This is not
dissection as such in my view; it is a matter of responding to how the Claimants chose
to present their case.
Baigent On Central Themes
229. The Claimants then chose to deploy Mr Baigent as a witness (inter alia) to
demonstrate their case on the Central Theme on a theme by theme basis. In each case
Mr Baigent in his evidence set out the theme, explained why it was important and the
research that was undertaken. Finally in each case he summarised his evidence by
attacking Mr Brown in sarcastic terms “amazingly Mr Brown … reached exactly the
same historical conjecture that we had done in HBHG” (paragraph 117 for
example). Second he asserted that Mr Brown did not undertake his own original
research in relation to the relevant Central Theme (he never said he did).
230. Having chosen to present their case in this way it is unsurprising that the Defendants
attacked Mr Baigent’s evidence. They had no choice. Had they not done so the
failure to attack Mr Baigent’s assertions would have been paraded as evidence of the
Claimants’ case. In other words the Claimants sowed the seed and reaped the
Destruction of Baigent’s Evidence
231. Mr Baigent was a poor witness. Those are not my words: they are the words of his
own Counsel in his written closing submissions (paragraph 111). Those words do not
in my view do justice to the inadequacy of Mr Baigent’s performance. His evidence
was comprehensively destroyed by the thorough and searching cross examination of
Mr Baldwin QC for the Defendant. It is no good for Mr Rayner James QC in closing
submissions to say that Mr Baigent was “over awed by the circumstances and agreed
almost without exception anything that was said by the Judge”. Cross examination
is one of the most important (if not the most important) part of any trial. It is what
essentially distinguishes the Common Law from the Civil Law jurisdictions. It is the
testing of witnesses in cross examination primarily which enables a Judge to assess
the truth of the witness and thus the credibility of the case. Of course allowances have
to be made for witness nerves in the witness box. One has to be alert to mechanistic
and plainly wrong answers being given when a witness’s performance has collapsed
in the witness box. These were all summarised in the case of EPI Environmental
Technologies Inc v Symphony Plastic Technologies Inc [2005] 1 WLR 3456. (The
- 50 -

Page 51
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
dismissal of the appeal from that decision did not touch on these points). They are
also echoed in the Court of Appeal decision in Lennox Lewis referred to above.
Merely because (for example) I disbelieve a witness on one point does not mean that I
necessarily reject his evidence on other points. I must review the evidence overall.
232. I make allowances for the fact that Mr Baigent performed so badly he plainly missed
obvious points when answering questions (these were mostly revived by Mr Rayner
James QC in re-examination). Nevertheless the Defendants are right in their
submissions even when taking in to account the factors mentioned above to submit
that he was a thoroughly unreliable witness. They say that they do no know whether
he was deliberately trying to mislead the court or was simply deluded and that he is
either extremely dishonest or a complete fool. I do not need to decide that issue; it
does not matter why he said what he did. I can place no reliance on any part of his
233. I accept the numerous examples that they give in paragraph 75 through to 89 of their
closing submissions which show the comprehensive destruction of his evidence. I
agree with that analysis by the Defendant.
234. I do not understand the implied criticism in the Claimants’ closing that he accepted
most of everything the Judge put to him. If it is to be inferred that he was somehow
browbeaten by me in to meekly accepting everything I said I reject that suggestion.
235. Mr Baigent did not confine his wild evidence to matters concerning the subject matter
of the litigation. He plainly attempted to bolster the credibility of his evidence by
attempting to draw on other supposed factual areas to give credibility to his evidence.
Thus in paragraph 318 he suggested that Sir Steven Runciman in an account of the
dealing with the Crown of Jerusalem after its capture in the First Crusade suggested
that in the account that Raymond of Toulouse was tricked. Having read Runciman
and re read parts of it for this trial it seemed to me that he did not accurately
summarise Runciman’s paragraph. It was pointed out in Runciman that Raymond of
Toulouse was offered the Crown and refused it. It was then offered to Godfroi. Mr
Baigent acknowledged to me that his witness statement did not accurately reflect what
was said in Runciman.
236. Second at paragraph 328 he stated that any good history of the Holy Land will talk
about the Order of Sion. In fact the “good histories” do not refer to the Order of Sion
at all. Runciman’s book for example (which is generally regarded as a leading
authority on the Crusades in English) makes no mention of it. This too he was forced
to concede.
237. I was criticised by Rayner James QC for putting these points to Mr Baigent. It was
suggested that I should confine my observations to the material that was deployed in
front of me. Even if that is a valid criticism (which I do not accept) Mr Baigent chose
to bolster his evidence by spurious references to a well known text on the Crusades. It
is not unreasonable for the Judge to examine those references himself provided of
course that the parties are aware that he is doing it. I fully accept that a Judge should
not privately decide a case by reference to his own private researches without telling
the parties what he is referring to. I pointed out to Mr Rayner James QC that I had
drawn to the attention of his side that I had read Runciman and it was open to them to
check whether what I had said was true (of course Mr Baigent agreed with it). Mr
- 51 -

Page 52
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Rayner James’ response that he had had enough books to read already was somewhat
lame to put it mildly. It is not a difficult exercise to cross check what is said in
Runciman. I do not think a Judge should accept as truth something that he knows is
untrue provided the parties are given an opportunity to deal with it. It was not
suggested I was wrong.
238. This is important because it is a separate example of the way in which Mr Baigent
exaggerated his evidence for effect.
Change of Course By The Claimants
239. Faced with the patent inadequacy of Mr Baigent’s evidence the Claimants in their
written closing submissions retreated to the stance that his evidence on the Central
Theme s was irrelevant anyway as it was a matter for the Court to decide as to
whether or not there was a Central Theme. I wonder whether such a stance would
have been taken if Mr Baigent had performed well as a witness?
240. It seems to me that if the Claimants as authors are going to assert in their case what
the Central Theme of their book is and give evidence of that the Defendants are bound
to respond by testing that evidence in cross examination. Further I am entitled to see
whether or not the Claimants evidence about their Central Theme is credible. At the
end of the day if they are unable to say in a coherent way what their Central Theme is
that is strongly supportive of the proposition that there is no such Central Theme as
alleged. In addition by dividing their Central Theme up they invited dissection and
attempts at elimination of parts by the Defendants.
Claimants Closing on Central Themes
241. Despite that dissection the Claimants in their closing submissions retreated to the
submission that the Central Theme should be read as a whole it being the Central
Theme of HBHG. They submit that it does not have to be the only possible
description of what is to be found in the book in that there can be other themes that are
dealt with in the book. It was not intended to be a précis full or partial nor was it to be
approached as if it were a substitute for the book. Nevertheless they acknowledge that
without the Central Theme there is little left for HBHG. The Claimants also retreated
from the 15 point division. It was stated not to be critical and was there merely to
make the resulting analysis of HBHG and DVC more manageable.
242. They then submitted that if the Central Theme is dissected into 15 separate and
discreet points in the course of analysis it should “not ultimately be left dismembered
on the mortuary slab. It or at least those parts which survive the analysis (i.e. as to
whether they appear in HBHG) should be re-assembled in to a whole and read as a
whole”. They did not say how many of the Themes could be attacked before they
become too generalised or too low a level of abstraction.
243. Further they deal with the fact that significant parts of the Central Themes were
successfully attacked by the Defendants in cross examination of Mr Baigent. That
does not pose a problem for the Claimants; they simply excise those words as being
irrelevant (see the abandonment of parts of CT6 and CT15 in paragraph 71 of their
closing submissions).
- 52 -

Page 53
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
244. Finally it is asserted that the Central Theme is merely intended to be an aid. It is not
to be construed as if it were a statute let alone by adopting a literal approach (I agree
with that). The language of the Central Theme should be understood to be ordinary
language to see what it is saying (I agree with that). If the idea or concept to what it is
saying is understood then the exercise is to see whether that idea or concept
considered in the context of other Central Theme points is found expressed in HBHG
and in DVC (I agree with that). Equally the precise language is not to be necessarily
found in either book and indeed will probably not be found in most cases in either
book. Given the use of the VSS by the Claimants that is in my view an extraordinary
submission to make and I fundamentally disagree with that.
245. All of this analysis by the Claimants arises out of the way in which they chose to
present their case and their attempts, to recover their position following the
destruction of Mr Baigent’s supporting evidence. It seems to me inevitable that one
starts with the Claimants’ proposition that HBHG always expressed a Central Theme
and that is the Central Theme as presented to the court. The Claimants second
proposition is that without the Central Theme there is very little in HBHG. It follows
therefore that if overall the Central Theme cannot amount to any literary work
because it is too general or too low a level of abstraction or because it is a collection
of facts and ideas without any architecture or structure then the same must be said of
HBHG which is allegedly copied. The Claimants cannot avoid the consequences of
their submission and the way the case is presented.
246. Equally it seems to me that if I reject their submission that the Central Theme as put
by them is the Central Theme of HBHG it cannot be said that even if Mr Brown
copied it that he has thereby copied HBHG or a substantial part thereof.
Claimants’ Difficulties of Formulation
247. I accept the Claimants submissions that one should not overly dissect the literal
language of the Central Themes. Thus the use of casual words by the Claimants
should be disregarded. There are a number of examples where the Claimants are
casual in their Central Themes or are trying to be too clever. For example the
reference in CT8 to “Pauline” Christianity is simply too clever. It is not to be found
anywhere in HBHG or DVC but its absence from CT8 does not detract from CT8
overall. Equally the abandonment of part of CT6 and CT15 do not diminish the
overall impact of those themes. The detailed cross examination of Mr Baigent about
CT12 “administrative and executive arm” did not advance the overall understanding
of the case. It is well known the Knights Templar was a military order and the
importance of CT12 is the assertion that the Priory of Sion created the Knights
Templar as a front for their activities. This was an example of Mr Baigent becoming
over elaborate and confused as a result of the cross examination when he entered in to
a debate about the Knights Templars having clerks and administrators. He was led
down this path in my view by an over dissecting cross examination by Mr Baldwin
248. Nevertheless for the Claimants case to have any credibility the Central Theme has to
be found in HBHG at the first stage before one even comes to consider whether Mr
Brown copied it or even substantially copied it because that is the medium through
which it is asserted that HBHG itself has been substantially copied.
- 53 -

Page 54
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
249. The fact that the Claimants had difficulty formulating their own Central Theme which
was allegedly always in their minds when they wrote HBHG is incredible. I can
forgive the obvious blunder of missing the Grail out of the first 19 but there are limits
to forgiveness. No satisfactory explanation has been given as to why the original
CT16 (colloquially “the Splitting of the Elm at Gisors” in 1188) has disappeared. I
would have thought that that was important. Old CT14 and 15 which dealt with
Godfroi and his special circle of counsellors (allegedly the Order of Sion) and the
creation of the Knights Templar by the Order of Sion to act on their behalf (now CT11
and 12) show the chronological development of the Order of the Sion. I cannot see
how the dissolution of the relationship between the Order of Sion and the Knights
Templar is so insignificant compared with the creation of the two that it disappears as
a Central Theme. Equally the removal of old CT9 with the collapse of “the empire
(unspecified) (Roman or Byzantine) is not explained either. It is a significant part of
that theme that the Church of Rome made a pact with Clovis the most powerful of the
Merovingian monarchs. In return for that conversion it is alleged the church pledged
itself in perpetuity to his bloodline. The betrayal of that pledge survives in new CT9
which was a distillation of old CT10, 11 and 12. This is the converse of the splitting
of the Elm problem. The surviving parts are the breaking of the pact between the
Church and the Dynasty but the creation of the pact is left out. This is unbelievable in
my view.
250. What is going on I conjecture? It seems to me (and this is what the Defendant submit)
is that the Central Theme is not a genuine Central Theme of HBHG and I do no accept
that the Claimants genuinely believe it is as such. In my view it is an artificial
contrivance designed to create an illusion of a Central Theme for the purposes of
alleging infringement of a substantial part of HBHG.
251. I come to that conclusion for a number of reasons.
Reasons for Rejecting Central Themes
252. First I reject the suggestion that the Central Theme as such exists in HBHG. I have
read HBHG many times (over the 20 years since its publication) and to attempt to find
the Central Theme as one cohesive statement as representing in effect the major
substantial part of HBHG by reading the text is a task in my view beyond any reader.
One simply cannot read HBHG and then having read it discern from that reading that
the Central Theme (whether dissected or not) is the Central Theme of HBHG. If it
was one would have expected at least to find somewhere a statement that this is the
Central Theme. This is where the Green case is relevant.
To suggest HBHG has very little in it apart from this Central Theme does a great
disservice to the Claimants and I do not believe for one minute they genuinely believe
it. It is impossible in my view to dismiss Part One for example which was of course
the original platform for their investigations. It is impossible to dismiss the
substantial parts of Part Two that are omitted viz Louis VII, the Cutting of the Elm
(chapter 7). Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9 which are largely omitted from the Central Theme.
254. If there is a Central Theme it is the one adverted to by Mr Leigh namely the merger of
the Merovingian bloodline with the Royal Bloodline of Mary Magdalene. As such it
- 54 -

Page 55
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
is self evident in my view that is an idea which is of a too general level of an
abstraction to be capable of protection. Nor is there any architecture or design in
HBHG if that were the theme which can be said to have been appropriated. The
Claimants simply do not reveal how they came to their idea or conjecture as they
prefer to call it. It not being revealed it cannot be appropriated.
The Task of Analysis
255. I adopt the Claimants analysis of my task in paragraph 33 and 34 of their closing
submissions. Copyright should not protect against the borrowing of an idea contained
in a work. It is necessary to strike a fair balance between protecting the rights of the
author and allowing literary development. It is that fair balance which is in question
in my view in this case. Of course it is dependant on the facts of any particular case.
256. Having read the Central Theme as I have said I am unable to find the Central Theme
expressed as such in HBHG.
257. The reason is obvious from a reading of the Central Themes individually and as a
whole. They consist of a series of generalised ideas, assertions or facts. Some are
incredibly general (CT1-3 and 5 for example).
258. As I have said as a Central Theme they cannot as a whole or individually be found in
HBHG. It has many other facts, ideas or assertions which are not in the Central
Theme. It is quite wrong to assert that HBHG has very little apart from the Central
Central Themes, What Are They?
259. Even if there is a Central Theme as alleged by the Claimants in HBHG its expression
in the Central Theme it is merely an expression of a number of facts and ideas at a
very general level. There is nothing in them in my view that goes beyond that
proposition. It follows therefore that the Central Theme as expressed is not such as to
justify being protected against copying.
260. In this context I follow the accepted submissions of Mr Laddie in Ravenscroft and the
expansion in Lord Hoffman’s speech in Designer Guild. When a book is put forward
as being a non fictional book and contains a large number of facts and ideas it is
always going to be a difficult exercise in trying to protect against copying of those
facts and ideas because as such they cannot be protected. It is the effort and time that
has gone into the way in which those ideas and facts that are presented that is capable
of protection.
Natural Chronological Order
261. Even if the Claimants can overcome the fundamental primary difficulties which I have
set out above, I do not see that there is a role of “natural chronological order”. That
in my view is a meaningless expression. It is significant that the Claimants have
always been coy about their structure and architecture. It is clear that they were alert
to the difficulties of their case and the need to identify such matters to formulate a
claim. They never formulated any such basis for a claim in a coherent way. That is
why the Defendant sought a strike out claim and that is why Lewison J’s order
- 55 -

Page 56
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
required them to do it again. They singularly failed to do so. Instead suggested non
lineal connections were dangled in front of the Defendant in Mr Baigent’s witness
statement and expanded on in the Claimants’ opening submissions. When they were
ordered to explain it all of the complicated inter-relating adverted to in Mr Baigent’s
witness statement and the Claimant’s skeleton fell away leaving in my view a
complete denouement with a lame chronological order. It is not significant in my
view that a series of stated factual events or asserted factual events is listed in a
chronological order. What other order could there be? It is itself too general and a
low level of extraction itself to justify protection against copying.
False Creation
262. Further there is no such chronological order in HBHG as an examination of the
location of the themes in the VSS demonstrates. This too demonstrates the falsity of
the Central Theme and provides clear indication that they are an artificial creation
simply to provide a platform for the present litigation. The Claimants know that their
idea of the merger of the two lines of itself is not protectable. Equally they know that
mere statements of ideas and fact are not protectable. It is necessary therefore to
create a pretence of a structure to found the cause of action. That is what the Central
Theme is about and their repeated re-drafting of it is demonstrative again of its falsity.
Conclusion on Rejection of Central Themes
263. The conclusion I draw from this is that the Claimants started with DVC to find things
in it and worked backwards from that exercise to create the Central Theme in HBHG
rather than identifying the Central Theme in HBHG and seeing whether it was to be
found in DVC.
264. It is equally the case that when one looks at the counterpart asserted infringements in
DVC there is no chronological deployment in that book either.
265. Once again this demonstrates that the chronological order is a lame attempt to find an
architectural structure to protect something which is otherwise not protectable.
266. It follows therefore that the Claimants case fails at this preliminary stage. Mr Brown
is perfectly entitled to copy these themes. Further these themes do not in my view
amount to a substantial part of HBHG for the reasons that I have set out above.
267. The changes of the Central Themes and Mr Baigent’s inability to support even the
revised Central Themes support this conclusion also. I reject any suggestion that
HBHG was always about these Central Themes as alleged by him in his evidence.
268. Why do the Claimants bring the claim I conjecture? I reject Mr Leigh’s reason. It
seems to me that they have received a genuine and handsome recognition of their role
in DVC. Further of course as I have said that recognition accrued benefits to them in
financial terms. They may be disappointed that Mr Brown has done so well by DVC.
There are a number of reasons for that. First the Claimants’ book is categorised as a
book of non fiction (although many would suggest it should be truly categorised as
fiction). Even as non fiction it is doubtful whether the Claimants have any genuine
belief in the conjecture they present. That is why they call it historical conjecture. It
is also why the fruits of their labour are hidden away. In truth as I have said the
- 56 -

Page 57
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Rennes-le-Chateau material which leads to the Priory of Sion and which therefore
comprises a substantial part of HBHG derives from material delivered to them via
Pierre Plantard and his associates. The other major part is of course the Grail legacies
of which Mr Leigh clearly has a profound knowledge but which is material well in the
public domain. I accept the originality of their thought is in the blending of the two
269. This makes HBHG a very interesting book to read whether or not it is credible. It is
unfortunate that the Claimants were not willing to bask in the glow of recognition that
the book gave them when it was published in 1982 and the subsequent revival of
interest in their book entirely as a result of DVC.
270. The latter is of course a work of fiction and its special attractiveness is the way in
which Mr Brown has put together these generalised facts and ideas in to a well
received thriller. By writing in such genre he hugely increases the available audience.
That is something in my view that the Claimants cannot complain about.
271. My assessments above and determinations marks the end of the Claimants’ case.
However I should not avoid dealing with the other parts of the case because of the
possibility that the Claimants might try to overturn my factual determination. In that
eventuality it is essential that I address the remaining issues as well.
Use of HBHG
272. I will now analyse the individual components of the Central Themes by reference to
the relevant component, its supplementing in VSS and in the light of the evidence.
273. I place no reliance on Mr Baigent’s evidence as it was in the light of the destructive
cross examination completely useless. I was greatly helped by Annex 5 to the
Claimants’ closing submissions which is a shorter version of the VSS with references
to Mr Brown’s US HBHG. As I have said my firm view is that the Langdon and
Teabing lectures were written at stage 2 of writing DVC. When Mr Brown wrote
stage 2 which in my view is when the character of Teabing was created the US copy
of HBHG possessed by Mr Brown and Blythe Brown was used as the primary vehicle
for those lectures almost exclusively. I accept that they had recourse to the other
material but I do not believe that other material was used significantly for that part of
DVC. When I say “used” it is my firm view that HBHG was used by Blythe Brown
to provide the material. I am unsure as to whether or not Mr Brown knew that, but it
does not matter as he incorporated it whether he knew its source or not. I make no
finding in that regard.
274. With that in mind I revert to the Central Themes in order. However I should indicate
that I am considering them in the context of language similarities and the source of
such similarities. I am not considering them in the context of textual infringements as
there are not to be any textual infringements. Although in this judgment when
analysing the Central Themes I am using that description as a shorthand description I
am not intending to imply that the texts identified in DVC are thus evidence of textual
or non textual infringement. With that in mind I now consider the Central Themes in
the light of the VSS and the evidence.
- 57 -

Page 58
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Central Theme 1
275. It is plain that this theme is to be found extensively in HBHG and is also to be found
in DVC. Further the Brown’s US HBHG has been extremely annotated in this area.
Central Theme 2
276. Once again I accept that this is to be found in HBHG and DVC. Further more I accept
that the relevant parts of Mr Brown’s US HBHG are annotated. On page 331 for
example there is a pink sticker marked “the marital status of Jesus”.
Central Theme 3
277. Once again there is the linkage as between HBHG, DVC and the annotations in
Central Theme 4
278. Once again in my view there is a connection of this theme in both HBHG and DVC.
Annotations are to be found. There is a further significant annotation at US HBHG
283 where a corner has been turned down and Blythe Brown has written what is
Central Theme 5
279. There is the same connection in this theme also.
Central Theme 6
280. This too is made out in my view in favour of the Claimants.
Central Theme 7
281. I disregard the loose use of the word “Franks”. The essence is the inter marriage
between Jesus’ bloodline and the Merovingian dynasty, and that is to be found both in
HBHG and DVC and the in the annotations at pages 313 and 399 of Mr Brown’s US
HBHG as asserted by the Claimants. In addition there are further annotations at page
314 which support the Claimants’ case.
Central Theme 8
282. I have already discounted the unhelpful word “Pauline”. Once again the linkage
between HBHG and DVC and the annotations in US HBHG is made out.
Central Theme 9
283. I have already commented on the disappearance of the making of the pact with Clovis
as opposed to the church reneging on it earlier in this judgment. Once again, the
Claimant’s case is made out. The annotations are in US HBHG at page 257 and carry
on to page 258.
- 58 -

Page 59
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Central Theme 10
284. I do not see that this theme is made out. It is based on the assumption that Godfrey
embarked to reclaim his birthright. I do not find that in the passages in DVC.
Central Theme 11
285. Whilst this Central Theme can be discerned from the text of HBHG I do not find it is
correspondingly discernable from DVC.
286. The essence of the theme seems to me, to be Godfrey surrounding himself with a
circle of special counsellors; something more than merely the founding of the firing
time, the latter part is there to be found, but the former part is not.
Central Theme 12
287. I have already disregarded the slackness as regards military in this theme. Mr Baigent
should have simply said that he’d made a mistake. The important part of this theme is
that the Priory if Sion created the Knights Templar. That is to be found in both
HBHG and DVC. Further the annotations at US HBHG page 106 cross refer to
further annotations at page 214.
Central Theme 13.
288. I do not see that this theme is found in DVC.
Central Theme 14.
289. I do not see that page 106 HBHG supports Central Theme 14 which is concerned
with the protection of (and thus keeping secret) the Merovingian bloodline, the blood
royal and the so call Holy Grail (see declaration of Sophie’s grandmother referred to
above). In contrast that part of the text declares an avowed intention to restore merely
the Merovingian Dynasty and bloodline to the whole of France. It will be recalled
that one of the criticisms of HBHG was that the Merovingians were not kings of
France but were merely kings in France, so there was nothing to restore. Mr Plantard,
of course, denied that he was any part of the royal bloodline descended from Mary
Magdalene. I do not see that the text in HBHG supports the Central Theme although
it is fair to say that that Central Theme as alleged is to be found in the text of DVC
Central Theme 15.
290. I have already dealt with the additional hyphens and the word “Nautonniers”. It is
plain that the list in DVC was created from the list set out in US HBHG at page 131.
The annotations of Blythe Brown on that page in pencil show the completion of the
list by the date of death of John Cocteau in 1963 and the change of the name from
Filipepi to Botticelli.
291. There are however annotations on the page also in red biro which continue the list of
Grand Masters, starting with Abe Francois Du Cord – Borguet (a misspelling of the
name to be found at page 211 HBHG). The next Grand Master is stated to be Pierre
Plantard, 1981-1984. It has a note “died June 2000” and the Grand Masters since
- 59 -

Page 60
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
1984 are “a matter of speculation”. These notes the Claimants suggest (their closing
appendix 6 on language similarities) have come from page 211-214 HBHG. I cannot
see that. Pierre Plantard was not dead when HBHG was written. Nor is there any
reference to the “matter of speculation” elsewhere in HBHG. I have already observed
Blythe Brown’s notation earlier, 14
October 2000 the discovery of the death of
Pierre Plantard. These additional notes did not find their way into DVC (see page
431). What they do show, however, is that Blythe Brown was not working
exclusively from HBHG. I do not see that it can therefore be said that the DVC text is
drawn exclusively from HBHG; all it provided was 2 hyphens and the date of the
death of Jeanne Cocteau; hardly of any high level of abstraction at all.
292. It is plain from my analysis above that a majority of the individual Central Theme
points can be found both in HBHG and DVC in terms of language similarity. That
does not take the claimant’s case very far for the reasons that I have set out earlier in
this judgment.
293. The failure to establish 4 and possibly 5 of the Central Themes as being either in
HBHG or replicated in DVC weakens the Claimants’ case even further. It makes the
residual Central Themes even more general and of an even lower level of abstraction
and therefore less Central and less a substantial part of HBHG. It reinforces the lack
of genuineness of the Claimants case; even after 3 attempts they still cannot get their
Central Themes correct to a significant degree.
294. Further, the Defendant deny that these themes are to be found exclusively in HBHG.
They have no positive case because Mr Brown has no clear recollection with the
passage of time and an unfortunate loss of documentation when the cellar of the house
was flooded. Elucidation could have been provided, in my view, to a significant
degree by Blythe Brown. I have already determined that when he wrote the Synopsis,
Mr Brown did not use HBHG. The Synopsis does not, in reality, have what is in
effect the Claimants’ case of the Langdon and Teabing lectures. As I have set out
above those lectures are where the Central Themes are found. I have rejected Mr
Brown’s evidence that he acquired HBHG late in the process of writing DVC.
295. Having rejected that evidence I go on to consider whether he copied from HBHG. I
bear in mind that the Claimants do not rely upon textual copying as a basis for
primary liability. They say that there are four grounds for saying that Mr Brown has
been copying:-
296. Points of Central Theme appear in DVC (I agree in a language sense).
297. Language copying occurred and Mr Brown admitted it (see below).
298. There are numerous references to HBHG and the sources used by Mr Brown and his
wife (see below).
299. There are two instances of use of supporting arguments (see below).
300. As I have said I accept that submission as regards language but I must also deal with
the Defendant’s claim that those Themes are to be found in the other books which Mr
- 60 -

Page 61
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
and Mrs Brown undoubtedly relied upon. The Claimants in their closing (appendix 3)
helpfully set out the quotes provided in schedule 1 to the Amended Defence being the
book cited. They face a difficulty in relying upon TR because it plainly draws from
HBHG as the source of a lot of its contentions. It is of no defence to say “we copied
from TR” if TR itself was copied from HBHG. However for this case of indirect
copying to be made out the Claimants must prove if TR is the sole source that TR has
been copied from HBHG. Although there are many attributed references it does not
follow from that the authors of TR did not do their own research. The text suggests
they did. I do not accept the Claimants can prove indirect copying on the evidence
before me via the use of TR.
301. It is even clearer in the case of WAJ where Margaret Starbird, in her preface, sets out
why she came to write the book. As part of her interest in Judeo – Christian
Scriptures in 1985 she read HBHG. She says she was frankly appalled and believed
that the authors of HBHG were not only wrong but their book bordered on blasphemy.
She says (rightly in my opinion) that the core of HBHG was the marriage of Jesus and
Mary Magdalene. She, being a catholic, assumed the authors of the heretical book
were mistaken and that therefore it is quite wrong to believe that the established
church had suppressed ruthlessly the important female role in the early church. She
set about finding the truth. She believed it would be an easy exercise and interestingly
she started at the paintings and the symbolism to be found in paintings. After her
detailed investigations she completely turned round and came to the conclusion that
there was real substance in their theories set forth [HBHG]”. It is clear, therefore,
that WAJ is the product of an independent process of reasoning on the part of
Margaret Starbird. One example suffice is to show that this is the case. She refers
(page 61) to the child of Jesus and Mary Magdalene being called Sarah. That is
plainly the product of her researches; as I have already said it is not to be found in
HBHG. I have already observed that that aspect is also to be found in DVC.
302. Looking at the Claimants’ appendix 3 analyses the other books referred to in
Amended Defence theme by theme (taking into account the above mentioned themes
which I have identified as either not being in HBHG or not being in DVC) it will be
seen that themes 1-4 and 5 can be found in TR, WAJ, and GG. They can also be
found in DVC. The reference to the womb on page 335 DVC is in my view (theme 4)
plainly from page 60 of WAJ which also is where the reference to Sarah is to be
303. Theme 6, in my view, is derived from WAJ. Theme 7 is to be found in TR, WAJ and
304. I did not find any parts of themes 8, 9 or 15 in any of the books. The position is
equivocal as regards themes 10 and 11. There are references in TR and WAJ for
themes 12 and 14 and TR for theme 13.
305. As the analysis at appendix 3 of the Claimants’ closing shows, HBHG is heavily
annotated mostly by Blythe Brown. In the case of the copying text Mr Brown
conceded that it appears that most of those were drawn from HBHG (see below). In
addition there are separate documents prepared by Blythe Brown which, in my view,
the Claimants establish were also drawn from HBHG (again see below). The picture
in respect to the source of the books for the Central Themes is a difficult one. The
major reason for this is the generality of the themes. As they are general it not
- 61 -

Page 62
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
surprising to find them in such a general way in different books. Equally, it is not
surprising to find those generalised statements being drawn from HBHG by other
books (TR is a possible but not proven example of this). Some items clearly come
from HBHG. Some items plainly do not come from HBHG. Mr Brown’s evidence is
of no assistance because of his vagueness. The person who could have unlocked this
complex area is Blythe Brown. She is not here.
306. Taking into account the generality of the central themes and the repeated references to
them, not only in HBHG and DVC, and bearing in mind that Blythe Brown has not
come to explain how she did her research, I conclude that, in the main, the majority of
the Central Themes were drawn from HBHG in a language sense but it was not the
sole source of Blythe Brown’s efforts. She had the other books and they were used
for the Synopsis. However, it seems to me clear that when it came to providing the
Langdon and Teabing lectures a different pattern emerges. The Teacher, so called in
the Synopsis, had no name. When it came to write the rest of the book at a later stage
he was given the name Leigh Teabing, which is drawn from HBHG. It is logical, in
my view, that having drawn the name from the authors of HBHG, Mr and Mrs Brown
would do that at the time when they were writing the lecture parts of the second part
of DVC. That is when they introduce HBHG into the list of books and it is in my
view when the detail of the language of the Themes is created. I have already
observed that in my view Blythe Brown had done significant research using HBHG
from some time in 2000. I do not believe Mr Brown used it, as I have said, for the
Synopsis, but it was deployed at this later stage when these lectures were written. As
the bulk of the material set out in the themes is to be found in HBHG, I can not
believe that Blythe Brown would have adopted a scatter gun approach to find these
various themes in a series of other books. She used the other books to expand slightly
the material which came from HBHG.
307. If it was otherwise she should have come to Court and said so. Mr Brown in reality as
the cross examination showed had no idea what Blythe was researching and when.
He just incorporated it. At that stage they might discuss what to incorporate but only
in the context of writing the book not in the context of evaluating her research
material and its sources.
308. I therefore conclude that the historical parts in the Synopsis were written using TR,
WAJ and GG mainly and not using HBHG. When the later material was deployed,
however, I find that it was done using HBHG possibly supplemented by already
accrued material from, mainly, WAJ.
309. That I deduce from the language of the remaining parts of the Central Themes as they
appear in the DVC. I therefore accept the Claimants’ first point to show that there are
grounds that Mr Brown copied language from HBHG. I do not accept they are
evidence of copyright infringement by substantial copying of HBHG whether textual
or non textual as they are as I have said too general and too low level of abstraction.
310. I stress again that it is no part of the Claimants case that any language copying is a
copyright infringement in respect of HBHG.
- 62 -

Page 63
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
311. Mr Brown was extensively cross examined on the copying examples. I permitted the
Claimants to add to those copying examples at the opening of the trial by which time
they numbered 9.
312. Mr Rayner James QC’s careful and cumulative cross examination forced Mr Brown in
my view to accept that the 9 language similarities were drawn from the corresponding
text in HBHG.
313. This is self evident in my view when one compares the annotations on the US HBHG
and the subsequent counterpart text in the manuscript of DVC of 15th August 2002
which led to the final DVC. It was reinforced by the concessions that Mr Brown
made. He was driven to deny matters only when a page was not marked (item 3 for
314. Once again the overwhelming majority of the annotations are from Blythe Brown and
she is not before me. If there are any residual doubts as to the source of the language
similarities (and I have none) her absence would be the final justification for rejecting
the Defendant’s case on the language similarities.
315. In so doing I reject Mr Brown’s evidence that HBHG was acquired later and was not
used in any significant way. Blythe Brown’s underlinings (absent any other
explanation from her) tell their own story. In my view as I have said this is
overwhelmingly supportive of the view that when Mr Brown came to write the second
part of DVC the historical context that was then inserted was the Langdon and
Teabing lectures. At that time Sophie was linked to Sauniere (he was then given a
name). Teabing was similarly created from the anagram of the Claimants and the
textual insertions show that they were drawn from HBHG.
316. I regard the suggestion that Mr Brown and Blythe Brown created the
Langdon/Teabing lectures from the other sources as completely unsustainable. It flies
in the face of logic and the documents as carefully demonstrated by the Claimants in
the annex of language similarities set out in their closing submissions. The conclusion
is irresistible. Blythe Brown provided the material for the lectures with HBHG in her
317. Once again I do not necessarily accept that Mr Brown knew that is what was
happening. Much of the material provided by Blythe Brown is unattributed. I do not
accept he knew necessarily where she was obtaining her material form. I do not think
for one minute he cross-checked his wife’s work. That was her valuable input in to
DVC. Mr Brown has always acknowledged this and it would be a pointless waste of
exercise if he went over the same ground. As I have said elsewhere the fact that
Blythe Brown was the true researcher of historical facts and not Mr Brown has
certainly caused him difficulties when he submitted to the glare of publicity.
318. None of this actually matters very much in the overall scheme. First, Mr Brown has
always acknowledged that he used HBHG at some stage. Second, the use of HBHG
for copying of these generalised parts of the text is not of itself actionable. They have
no independent cause of action. They fall with the primary decision that I have made
- 63 -

Page 64
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
319. The Claimants were right not to rely upon these as evidence of textual infringement
because an examination of them shows they are extremely generalised. Many of them
are in effect the only way in which they can be expressed. The Claimants were alive
to this as Mr Leigh’s evidence showed when he was cross examined about his
approach to lifting sentences and text from other books, as he acknowledged in cross
examination (he really put it forward as a matter of pride).
320. As I have said I am firmly of the view that Blythe Brown at least had access to HBHG
before the Synopsis was written. It does not actually matter when she used it or had
access to it or when Mr Brown saw it or had access to it. The real question to be
answered is the extent to which it was used. I have already set out my finding as to
when HBHG was used by Blythe Brown.
321. This is supported in my view by reference to three research documents provided by
the Defendants in disclosure namely “Jesus survived”, “Langdon reveals” and
Jesus Survived
322. This is a composite document. The first part came from the internet an article at
323. The second part of the document (which starts at page 13) is headed “Jesus the Man”.
The source of pages 13-25 has been largely agreed. In a copy produced for the trial
the words coloured red have been agreed as being drawn from HBHG. That
represents the vast amount of that part of this document. It is reflected in the fact that
on page 352 of US HBHG there is a pencil marking and the page is turned over and in
pencil is written “Jesus survived” in Blythe Brown’s handwriting.
324. Faced with this Mr Brown wriggled in the witness box. He picked on the word
“behaviour” in the last line on page 25. This was spelt in UK style and he opined that
Blythe would not write a piece of text using an English spelling. He suggested there
were instances of English style in the text. He expressed the view that this was a
complete document which had been downloaded from the internet. He was unable to
identify the relevant internet document and none has been identified. This is a classic
example of where Blythe’s absence in my view tells against the Defendants. I should
observe that in the text at page 19 the word “behavior” is spelt in US style. This is a
US spelling out of the US version of HBHG.
325. I was unimpressed with Mr Brown’s attempts to explain away this document. It is
plain that the document was drawn from HBHG and I am satisfied that the Claimants’
case is made out that this document was created by Blythe Brown before the Synopsis
using HBHG.
326. In the “properties” of “Jesus Survived” it is stated that it had been edited for a total of
18 minutes. The Defendants rely on this point as showing that it is far more likely
that the complete document had been downloaded from the internet which could
reflect 18 minutes. That length of time cannot possibly reflect copying out by Blythe
- 64 -

Page 65
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Brown and creating “Jesus The Man” (I agree). There maybe something in that point
but I have not had a full and complete explanation. If I had been shown internet
documents that would have been of assistance. If I had had evidence from Blythe
Brown on this point that would have been of considerable assistance. There remains
the possibility that the final produced document was downloaded in 18 minutes or
copied in 18 minutes from another document which reflects Blythe Brown’s true work
and is now lost. Once again in my view Blythe Brown’s absence counts against the
Defendants and this point cannot be used against the Claimants detailed analysis in
the respect of the balance of the document.
327. Nevertheless once again this does not take the matter much further. I do not accept
that Mr Brown used it when he wrote the Synopsis. I am not convinced that it can be
established that he was aware of it at the time he wrote the Synopsis.
Langdon Reveals
328. This document is agreed to have been distilled from three sources, namely the History
of the Knights Templar, HK and HBHG. The Claimants’ case has this dated after the
Synopsis. Once again the document was put extensively to Mr Brown in Mr Rayner
James QC’s careful and cumulative cross examination and I accept what the
Claimants say about it. However this too does not advance the matter any further for
the same reasons. That is further reinforced by the fact that HBHG (with other books)
is acknowledged in the notes to the text.
329. This document too is virtually entirely drawn from HBHG. This document also the
Claimants contend postdates the Synopsis.
330. I accept that these are instances which show the text of HBHG was copied by Blythe
Brown when she prepared research material for Mr Brown to write the second part of
331. However these are not relied upon by the Claimants as evidence of textual
332. The point however is that all these matters do not lead to a conclusion that Mr Brown
copied the Central Theme. Indeed as the Defendant in its closing point out (paragraph
320 and following) it was never put to Mr Brown that he had copied the Central
Themes. That in my view is a surprising failure. It may be capable of being
explained away on the grounds of something that can be inferred. Nevertheless it is
something in my view which should have been put to Mr Brown as it is central to the
Claimants’ case.
333. As I have said above there are no Central Themes in HBHG. Mr Brown cannot have
copied the Central Themes in any event. It is true that aspects of the Central Themes
can be traced through the textual parts identified by the Claimants. That is because
the Central Themes are too general and nothing significant is to be concluded from
that identification. If it was the Claimants would have elevated the textual citings of
the Central Themes to evidence of textual infringement. However they have
studiously avoided doing that.
- 65 -

Page 66
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
334. All of this material therefore shows simply that as part of a mechanistic exercise
Blythe Brown used HBHG in providing generalised and low level abstract material
primarily from HBHG but also from other sources as background material for Mr
Brown when he wrote DVC.
335. It follows therefore that there has been no copying of the Central Themes and the
Claimants’ case is not made out based on this material. If there is no copying of the
Central Themes there is no copying of the Central Themes when they are to be found
in HBHG.
336. Equally there can be no substantial copying of the Central Themes for the same reason
and thus no substantial copying of HBHG.
337. None of this material even though established by the Claimants, assist them in their
case because they do not lead to a direct allegation of textual infringement.
338. The destruction of Mr Baigent’s evidence shows that the Claimants have not in my
view created the Central Theme as alleged as a substantial part of HBHG by their time
and effort (as opposed to writing HBHG generally). It is true that the determination of
that issue is for me and not Mr Baigent but the destruction of his evidence reinforces
my own view that the Central Themes are not a substantial part of HBHG and they
have not been substantially copied by Mr Brown in DVC.
I should say something about various witnesses in addition to the specific points I
have made. I will exclude Mr Baigent from that analysis as there is nothing more that
can be said about his evidence.
Mr Leigh
340. I am not sure what Mr Leigh thought was the purpose of his evidence. He seemed to
want to have a fight over something and was clearly disappointed at the relative
shortness of his cross examination. I did not find his evidence of any significant use
in the case save the telling observations that I have already referred to, namely that
there is one theme only of HBHG and that he will lift textual matters if he likes them
and it suits him.
341. Other than that his evidence did not in my view assist me in the overall evaluation of
the case.
342. Mr Lincoln did not give evidence. He is a key part of the saga of HBHG but I do not
see that his absence has any significant impact on the overall case.
Mr Brown
343. The Claimants say I should treat his evidence with caution. That is too high in my
opinion. He started confidently enough but ultimately his confidence was gradually
eroded by Mr Rayner James QC’s protracted and carefully measured cross
examination. In that cross examination Mr Rayner James QC established that in
reality Mr Brown knew very little about how the historical background was
researched. He in my view simply accepted Blythe Brown’s research material when
- 66 -

Page 67
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
incorporating it in to the writing of part two of DVC. I do not believe for one minute
he was analytical of it or critical of it; he simply accepted it.
344. The Claimants in cross examination also in my view as I have said established that
HBHG was possessed by the Browns far earlier than Mr Brown was stating in his
evidence. However I do not believe that those failures of Mr Brown’s evidence lead
me to conclude that I must reject everything he says. For the reasons already set out
for example I have accepted his evidence concerning the books he had when he wrote
the Synopsis.
345. It ought to have been obvious to Mr Brown that if he had carefully prepared his
witness statement that his case on HBHG as he put it would simply fall apart on an
examination of the US HBHG, the copying similarities and the other documents to
which I have referred. I do not believe he consciously lied. His failure to address
these points in my view shows once again that the reality of his research is that it is
superficial. This in my view is the explanation for his evidence. He has presented
himself as being a deep and thorough researcher for all of the books he produced.
346. The evidence in this case demonstrates that as regards DVC that is simply not correct
with respect to historical lectures. The Synopsis was prepared using a minimal
amount of material from the books TR, WAJ and GG primarily. The major part of the
writings of the lectures at a later stage have substantially come from HBHG.
347. I am aware (this may be an understatement) that the case has wide interest. It is very
important that people do not take parts of the judgment out of context.
348. Mr Brown is a fiction writer. As a device to writing fiction he is perfectly entitled to
dress up factual scenarios to give an illusion that supports his fiction. He is not
(contrary to the complaints of the Claimants) going into deep and detailed research for
these factual matters.
Indeed as he said in his evidence that would be
counterproductive; he wishes to create “grey” areas not black and white. He simply
needs therefore a mystery and a series of unanswered questions. He can do that
without deep research and that he has done. As he has taken matters at a general and
low level of abstraction and he has only taken ideas and facts without any of the
architecture (if any) he has done nothing wrong. It would be quite wrong if fictional
writers were to have their writings pored over in the way DVC has been pored over in
this case by authors of pretend historical books to make an allegation of infringement
of copyright. I accept that if that was allowed to happen it would have a serious
impact on writing. This case whatever its result would not have that impact in my
view. However cases can be used for improper purposes.
349. It should also be appreciated that this case is about the taking a substantial part out
from HBHG and placing it in DVC. It does not cover the large significant other
aspects of DVC. First there is the material from other sources vis the detail about
Leonardo da Vinci and the art forms. Second there is the input of the locations and
finally there is the interweaving of these factual and locational parts with the thriller
elements. This is where the effort and skill really lies. This judgment should have no
impact on Mr Brown’s reputation as a thriller writer.
350. Mr Brown should not be denigrated because of the adverse findings I have made
against him in respect of some aspects of his evidence. Nor should his book be
- 67 -

Page 68
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
criticised or his writings skills be criticised because of those matters. They reflect but
a part of the overall package. The package has proved to be extremely successful and
like everything (in any sphere) that is successful when one reads Mr Brown’s
evidence it seems very easy to do.
351. It was said in evidence that there is at least one book in every person. The skill of the
great is always (in whatever area is being talked about) in making it all seem very
Blythe Brown
352. I have already commented on her absence in certain areas.
353. This case does not involve any further examination of how she did her research. Nor
does it involve any criticism of that research and none should be drawn in my view
from this judgment.
Mr Ruben
354. Mr Ruben’s evidence in my view simply demonstrated how important the art of
publicity is in the world of publishing. His enthusiasm of the book knew no bounds.
I am not sure that it is as good as he says but then I am no literary person.
Mr Janson-Smith
355. His evidence did not assist me at all in the overall pattern except to suggest there
might have been discussions between him and Mr Leigh when Mr Leigh may have
given an impression that litigation was brought for the purpose of extracting money in
the expectation of settlement. I do not need to form a view as to that. All I will say is
that if Mr Leigh believed that he demonstrated a folly which inflicts Claimants from
time to time. It is a very dangerous exercise to commence litigation in the hope that
the other side will settle and make a payment. I rather suspect this will be driven
home to Mr Leigh (if that was his thought) at the conclusion of this judgment.
356. Both sides left no stone unturned in attempting to reconcile every part of the Central
Themes, every part of the text of HBHG and DVC and to recreate a factual scenario in
a complete way.
357. This provides assistance for me in writing a judgment but it does not mean that all of
the material will be used.
358. A judgment is not a work of fiction (I hope) nor is it a piece of conjectural fact. It is a
document which ought to deal with the major facts to resolve the dispute. That
necessarily involves distillation. It means that unlike literary works of the type
featured in this case it is not necessary or productive to attempt to resolve every
factual disagreement that arises. Indeed it is quite wrong for a Judge to attempt to
reconcile everything and to create his own account. A Judge distils the facts and
determines those facts which he concludes are necessary to enable him to come to a
decision in the case. That is what I have attempted to do.
- 68 -

Page 69
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
359. I am nevertheless grateful for the great amount of work that has gone in to the
presentation of the case by both sides.
360. For the reasons set out in this judgment I dismiss the Claimants’ action.
- 69 -

Page 70
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
Central Theme Point
1. Jesus was of royal blood, with a legitimate claim to the throne of Palestine
2. Like any devout Jew of the time, and especially like a Rabbi and any royal or aristocratic
claimant, he would have been married.
3. As expected of any Jew at the time, he would have children.
4. At some time after the crucifixion, Jesus’ wife, the figure known as Mary Magdalene,
fled the Holy Land and found refuge in one of many Judaic communities then scattered
around the south of France. When she fled the Holy Land, the Magdalene might have been
pregnant with Jesus’ offspring, or such offspring might already have been born and brought
with her. We concluded from studying the Grail Romances and early manuscripts that
Mary Magdalene fled the Holy Land with the Sangraal and that by turning Sangraal into
‘Sang Raal’ or ‘Sang Réal’ we suggested that Mary Magdalene fled with the royal blood.
5. We considered what the Holy Grail was, whether the Holy Grail was a cup or whether
the Grail was in some way related to Mary Magdalene and the Sang Real. We concluded
that the Grail would have been at least two things simultaneously. On the one hand it
would have been Jesus’s bloodline and descendants and it would have been quite literally
the vessel that contained Jesus’s blood. In other words it would have been the womb of the
Magdalene and by extension the Magdalene herself.
6. In a Judaic community in the South of France, the bloodline of Jesus and the Magdalene
would have been perpetuated for some five centuries - not a particularly long time, so far as
royal and aristocratic blood lines are concerned.
7. Towards the end of the 5
century, Jesus’ bloodline intermarried with that of the royal
line of the Franks. From this union, there issued the Merovingian dynasty.
8. In the meantime, the Roman Empire in the fourth century AD, under the auspices of
Constantine, had adopted “Pauline” Christianity as its officially sanctioned and tolerated
form of Christianity. This was done as a matter of convenience to foster unity; and once
“Pauline” Christianity became the official orthodoxy, all other forms of Christianity
became, by definition, heresies. By the end of the century Christianity had become the
official religion of the Roman Empire. The Church’s dogmatic religious stance thus
benefited from the support of secular authority.
- 70 -

Page 71
Approved Judgment
Baigent & Leigh v Random House
9. When the Merovingian dynasty grew weaker under Clovis’ successors, the Church
reneged on its pact and colluded in the assassination of Dagobert II, last of the Merovingian
rulers. Although Dagobert died and the Merovingians were deposed, Dagobert’s son,
Sigisbert, survived and perpetuated the Merovingian bloodline through a number of noble
houses. Towards the end of the 11
century, the Merovingian blood line emerged on the
central stage of history in the person of Godfroi de Bouillon, Duke of Lorraine.
10. When Godfroi embarked on the first crusade in 1099, he was, in effect seeking to
reclaim his birthright and heritage, the throne of Palestine to which his ancestors had
possessed a claim a thousand years before.
11. Godfroi surrounded himself with a circle of counsellors, who were endowed with the
Abbey situated on Mount Sion in Jerusalem and became known as the Ordre de Sion, or,
subsequently, the Prieuré de Sion (Priory of Sion).
12. The Ordre or Prieuré de Sion created the Knights Templar as their administrative and
executive arm.
13. In the mid-12
century, members of the Ordre de Sion established themselves in
France, from where they subsequently spread out to own properties across the whole of
Europe. When the Holy Land was lost, France became the Prieuré’s primary base and
14. The Prieuré continued to act as protectors and custodians of the Merovingian bloodline,
the “blood royal” or “sang réal”, the so-called “Holy Grail”.
15. During its early history - until the 14
century - the Grand Masters of the Prieuré were
drawn from a network of interlinked families, all of whom could claim Merovingian
descent. From the 14
century on, the Prieuré (according to its purported statutes, which
Brown would appear not to have seen) would, for complicated reasons, move outside the
family. Grand Masters would then be, on occasion, illustrious names - Leonardo, for
example, Botticelli, Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, Debussy, Cocteau. Sometimes,
however, the names would be rather more obscure, like Charles Nodier. In any case, all
“outsiders” listed as Grand Masters still have close connections with the network of families
claiming Merovingian descent.
- 71 -