Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus - 210 U.S. 339 (1908)
U.S. Supreme Court
Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus, 210 U.S. 339 (1908)
Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus
Argued March 12, 13, 1908
Decided June 1, 1908
210 U.S. 339
There are differences between the patent and the copyright statutes in the extent of the protection granted by them, and the rights of a patentee are not necessarily to be applied by analogy to those claiming under copyright.
At common law, an author had a property in his manuscript, and might have redress against anyone undertaking to publish it without his authority.
Copyright property under the federal law is wholly statutory, and depends upon the rights created under acts of Congress passed in pursuance of authority conferred by § 8 of Art. I of the federal Constitution.
The copyright statutes are to be reasonably construed. They will not by judicial construction either be unduly extended to include privileges not intended to be conferred nor so narrowed as to exclude those benefits that Congress did intend to confer.
The sole right to vend granted by § 4952, Rev.Stat., does not secure to the owner of the copyright the right to qualify future sales by his vendee or to limit or restrict such future sales at a specified price, and a notice in the book that a sale at a different price will be treated as an infringement is ineffectual as against one not bound by contract or license agreement.
147 F. 15 affirmed.
The facts are stated in the opinion.