Seth Mnookin: the New Captain Ahab?

Posted on June 7, 2006

He's won every court case brought against him. But Dan Brown has one determined journalist stalker who just won't let the plagiarism charges die. Seth Mnookin is writing yet another article in July's Vanity Fair saying that even though Dan Brown didn't break any laws, he still infringed on someone else's copyright when he wrote The Da Vinci Code.

Vanity Fair, in its July issue out Wednesday, raises new questions about "striking similarities" between Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and other writings. Brown has been acquitted of copyright infringement in U.S. and British courts.

Most of the article deals with novelist Lewis Perdue's unsuccessful legal claims that Brown stole the plot of Perdue's 2000 novel, Daughter of God. On Tuesday, Vanity Fair's Seth Mnookin called Perdue's accusations part of "a snowball effect. Perhaps each similarity can be explained or excused, but in totality they raise questions that haven't been answered." The article also says that Brown's description of "Leonardo's lost robot" appears to be copied from a 1996 academic paper. "If I did that as a journalist," Mnookin says, "I'd be fired." Brown's publisher, Doubleday, cited the court opinions in his favor, saying they "carry a lot more weight than those of Mr. Mnookin and Mr. Perdue."

Mnookin needs to get over it and find something new to write about. There have been endless books written over the years claiming that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene. Brown is just the first author who wrote a readable novel using the theory.

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