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<i>Da Vinci</i> case reappeal

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London (Reuters): Two historians who lost a plagiarism case against the British publishers of Dan Brown's bestseller The Da Vinci Code plan to appeal against the verdict, court officials said. The officials yesterday said the appeal could take place later this year, but no specific date has been set. The Bookseller reported the appeal was due to be heard in early 2007. Random House, which won the copyright case earlier this year at the High Court in London, expressed disappointment at the decision by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh to appeal.

''We have the utmost respect for the British legal system and acknowledge Baigent and Leigh's right to appeal the ruling in the DVC case,'' a Random House spokesman said. ''We regret, however, that more time and money is being spent trying to establish a case that was so comprehensively defeated in the High Court,'' he added. Baigent and Leigh's lawyer in the original case, Paul Sutton, could not be reached for immediate comment.

A judge ruled in April that the central themes which the historians said Brown had copied from their 1982 book ''The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail'' were ''too general'' to be protected by copyright law even if they had been reproduced. Brown, who testified during the month-long trial, had expressed astonishment that Baigent and Leigh filed the suit in the first place. The historians faced a legal bill of more than one million pounds (1.84 million dollars) after losing the case. The Da Vinci Code has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and been turned into a Hollywood hit starring Tom Hanks.

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