Thornton v. Schreiber,
124 U.S. 612 (1888)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Thornton v. Schreiber, 124 U.S. 612 (1888)

Thornton v. Schreiber

Argued January 19-20, 1888

Decided February 13, 1888

124 U.S. 612


An employee of a business house who, having a principal place in the establishment, is entrusted by his employers under their direction and on their behalf with the custody and possession, but in a building occupied by them and subject to their control, of printed copies of a copyrighted photograph, printed in violation of the provisions of Rev.Stat. § 4965, has not such possession of them as will entitle the proprietor of the copyright to proceed against him for a forfeiture of one dollar for every sheet under that section.

The words "found in his possession" in § 4965 of the Revised Statutes do not relate to the finding of the jury that the articles in question were in the defendant's possession, but require that there should be a time before the cause of action accrues at which they are found in his possession. Whether the provision in Rev.Stat. § 4965 that one-half of the profit shall go "to the proprietor and the other half to the use of the United States" does not relate solely to the "case of a painting, statue, or statuary," quaere.

The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 124 U. S. 613

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