This all started in late December when my cellphone rang as I was walking into a grocery store. It was the mother of one of Taylor’s friends, explaining that she needed Taylor’s help to shut down her own daughter’s MySpace account.
Taylor, then 12, had helped the daughter set up a site without the mother’s permission, and only Taylor knew the password necessary to delete it.
All of this was news to me. With an embarrassed apology, I promised to set things straight.
I didn’t know much about MySpace.com then. I’ve since had to do my homework.
MySpace, I learned, was created by a couple of Santa Monica tech-heads, and over its two-year life, it has become the biggest website that allows people to find dates, keep in touch and socialize. If you sign onto the site, now owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., you get free personal “space” to post profile information and photographs, write blogs, link music and send e-mails to other members. MySpace claims 68 million members, up more than 20 million in just the three months since I began visiting it.
Some of its fans are young adults. Many are kids like Taylor.
In their suit, Baigent and Leigh set out a 15-point analysis of what they called the central themes of “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail,” noting their work argued that Jesus Christ as a Jew would have married and had offspring, and that after his crucifixion, Mary Magdalene fled the Holy Land for France, where their descendants founded the Merovingian dynasty. Its kings ruled parts of France and Germany from the 5th to 8th centuries.
In his 71-page judgment, Smith said that even if there were central themes to the claimants’ book, “it is merely an expression of a number of facts and ideas at a very general level.” Theirs was historical conjecture rather than original work, he wrote, adding that the points raised by Baigent and Leigh were “artificially taken out of [their book] for the purpose of the litigation.”
The claimants were ordered to pay 85% of the legal expenses incurred by Brown’s publisher, Random House. The first payment of $600,000 toward the fee, which could top $1.75 million, is due by the end of the month.
Smith’s ruling erased fears that an adverse decision could severely damage Brown’s reputation and delay next month’s release of a multimillion-dollar film of “The Da Vinci Code” starring Tom Hanks.
NYTimes’ article: Idea for ‘Da Vinci Code’ Was Not Stolen, Judge Says