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Judge: 'Da Vinci Code' Is an Original

"The Da Vinci Code" (search) does not infringe the copyrights of another author's 2000 book, a Manhattan federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels said Dan Brown's (search) best-seller exploring codes hidden in Leonardo Da Vinci's artwork is not substantially similar to "Daughter of God," by Lewis Perdue.

He said both novels tell a story based on religion and history and take place in similar locales, but the factual details in each are quite different.

He said Brown's book "is simply a different story."

"Any slightly similar elements are on the level of generalized or otherwise unprotectible ideas," the judge said in his ruling issued Thursday.

Brown and Random House Inc. filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan last year seeking a declaratory judgment that his work does not infringe on Perdue's.

In a countersuit, Perdue asked the judge to rule that there was infringement and award $150 million in damages. Perdue had alleged that Brown copied the basic premise of "Daughter of God," including notions that history is controlled by victors, and the importance of the Roman Emperor Constantine in requiring a transition from a female- to a male-dominated religion.