Legal Subject: Copyright

Case Date Legal Subject Abstract
Cadell and Davies, and Others v. Stewart 1 Jun 1804 Intellectual property rights, Copyright Defender Thomas Stewart, a bookseller in Glasgow, released a book consisting of previously unpublished letters from the late poet Robert Burns to "Clarinda" (Agnes Macelhose), who consented to the letters’ publication. Booksellers Cadell and Davies in London and William Creech in Edinburgh owned the rights to all of Burns's compositions, and they petitioned the court for an interdict against Stewart's publication. The brother and children of Robert Burns appeared in court to support the petition. The booksellers and family members, as pursuers, claimed that the interdict was warranted because Burns had not transferred his rights to the letters by sending the documents to Clarinda.
Clark v. Bell 29 Feb 1804 Statute of limitations, Literary Property, Copyright Andrew Bell, an engraver, included pages from James Clark's book in the Encyclopedia Britannica without permission. James Clark claimed that he had the copyright to the information, but Bell argued that the statute of limitations had expired on the claim. The case had originally been heard by a Lord Ordinary who had required Bell to return the pages to Clark. However, Bell appealed the statute of limitations issue to the higher court, which agreed with him that it was possible Clark's claim to the material had expired. As a result, the case was remanded to the Lord Ordinary to reconsider the penalty he had imposed requiring Bell to return the pages to Clark.

Note: Clark is indexed as "Clerk" in the digest.
Hinton v. Donaldson 28 Jul 1773 Copyright This case was about the right to publish a literary work. Stephen Austin obtained a patent from the Crown to publish the second edition of “A New History of the Holy Bible,” by Rev. Thomas Stackhouse. Austin died, leaving his estate to his wife, Elizabeth. She then died after marrying John Hinton, the pursuer. In 1765, defender James Meurose completed another edition of Stackhouse’s book, and in 1767, defenders Alexander Donaldson and John Wood agreed to reprint copies of certain volumes. Hinton sued all three men on the ground that the new edition violated his common law property right in the work. By this time, the patent had expired, and there was no statutory claim. The defenders argued that the common law of Scotland did not provide a perpetual right to so-called literary property.