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‘Da Vinci Code’ fight dropped

Publisher accepts compromise over similar title
/ Source: The Associated Press

The publisher of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” accepted a compromise and will drop demands that a similarly named critique of the best seller be retitled.

Theologian Darrel Bock named his upcoming nonfiction analysis of the enormously popular mystery novel “Breaking the Da Vinci Code.” It challenges the basis of the original book, in which Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child.

“The Da Vinci Code” publisher Random House Inc. sent a cease-and-desist letter earlier this month to Thomas Nelson Inc., saying Bock’s title was too similar and would confuse consumers.

The Nashville religious book publisher responded this week by filing a federal complaint asking a judge to declare that its book in no way infringed on Random House’s rights or trademarks.

But Random House said Thursday it would relent because Thomas Nelson plans to affix a circular sticker on the cover of “Breaking the Da Vinci Code.” The sticker says, “A Critique of ’The Da Vinci Code’ By Dan Brown.”

“We have withdrawn our objection,” Random House spokesman Stuart Applebaum said.

While Thomas Nelson’s attorney said he has not yet spoken to Random House or its counsel, he was heartened by Applebaum’s statement.

“We’re pleased the litigation is going to be resolved quickly,” attorney John Jacobson said Friday.

Applebaum said the sticker will prevent significant consumer confusion.

“It is a publishing fact of life that all of us in book publishing occasionally indulge in riding the coattails of a hugely successful publication with a newly written or backlist-generated title of our own,” Applebaum said.

Published nearly a year ago, “The Da Vinci Code” has more than 6 million hardcover copies in print. The novel begins with a Paris murder mystery, and its sleuths begin to unravel an alternate view of Christian history.

Bock, a New Testament scholar at Dallas Theological Seminary, asserts that the historical evidence strongly counters the suggestion that Jesus was married or fathered a child.