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'Da Vinci Code' Author Swats Plagiarism Claims

The best-selling author of the "The Da Vinci Code" (search) has gone to court to swat a rival writer who accused him of plagiarism.

In a stinging 15-page complaint, Dan Brown (search) and publisher Random House say author Lewis Perdue was a nobody until he started making accusations that Brown copied material from Perdue's two books, "The Da Vinci Legacy" (search) and "Daughter of God."

Brown said he never read Perdue's novels and noted that "Legacy" was published in 1983 and then "went out of print" because it was a commercial bust.

But Perdue has used the bogus copyright controversy, the suit claims, to "promote sales of his works beyond anything they had ever before achieved, and then file a copyright-infringement suit against Brown and his publisher to further disseminate his unfounded claims."

Perdue had threatened to file a copyright suit since last year, but Brown one-upped him by filing his own pre-emptive suit yesterday.

"There is no basis for Perdue's spurious claims of infringement, and Brown and Random House have filed this declaratory judgment action in order to resolve this dispute and obtain a declaration that 'The Da Vinci Code' does not infringe Perdue's copyright or any other interests in his works," the Brown suit says.

"The Da Vinci Code" is one of the best-selling fiction books of all time. It has sold more than 8 million copies and been translated into 28 languages.

Brown also has licensed the motion-picture rights to Columbia Pictures, and Ron Howard (search) is slated to direct the movie.

Brown's side admits there are similarities between the dueling "whodunits."

In both "The Da Vinci Legacy" and "The Da Vinci Code," Da Vinci scholars are killed, the protagonists battle with secret evil societies over the fate of Christianity, and Da Vinci's works are mentioned in the plots.

Brown's lawyers, however, dismissed these similarities as restricted to "limited ideas" and "historical facts" shared by many other novels, while maintaining the two books are "entirely distinct" in plot, character development, setting and narrative style.