Straus & Straus v. American Publishers' Ass'n - 231 U.S. 222 (1913)
U.S. Supreme Court
Straus & Straus v. American Publishers' Ass'n, 231 U.S. 222 (1913)
Straus & Straus v. American Publishers' Association
Argued March 7, 1913
Decided December 1, 1913
231 U.S. 222
One who sets up a federal statute as giving immunity from a judgment against him may bring the case here under § 709, Rev.Stat., now § 237 of the Judicial Code, if his claim is denied by the decision of the state court.
No more than the patent statute was the Copyright Act intended to authorize agreements in unlawful restraint of trade and tending to monopoly in violation of the Sherman Act.
The Sherman Act is broadly designed to reach all combinations in unlawful restraint of trade and tending because of the agreements or combinations entered into to build up and perpetuate monopolies. The act is a limitation of rights which may be pushed to evil consequences, and may therefore be restrained. Standard Sanitary Mfg. Co. v. United States, 226 U. S. 20.
As the agreement involved in this case went beyond any fair and legal means to protect trade and prices, practically prohibited the parties thereto from selling to those it condemned, affected commerce between the states, it was manifestly illegal under the Sherman Act, and was not justified as to copyrighted books under any protection afforded by the Copyright Act.
Where the state court dismissed the bill solely on the ground that defendant's acts were not within the denunciation of the federal statute on which plaintiff relied, the judgment will be reversed on
that ground, and it is unnecessary for this Court to decide other federal questions involved.
Quaere, and not now discussed or decided, whether an original action can be maintained in the state courts for injunction and damages under the Sherman Act.
Judgment based on 199 N.Y. 548 reversed.
The facts, which involve the construction of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and its application to agreements regarding the sale of copyrighted books, are stated in the opinion.