Stowe v. Thomas

Citation: 23 F. Cas. 201
Docket Number: 13,514
Opinion Year: 1853

At issue in this case was a translation of Harriet Beacher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” which was sold in the United States without the author’s permission. The court claimed that once an author “has published his book, and given his thoughts, sentiments, knowledge or discoveries to the world, he can have no longer an exclusive possession of them. Such an appropriation becomes impossible, and is inconsistent with the object of publication. The author’s conceptions have become the common property of his readers, who cannot be deprived of the use of them, nor of their right to communicate them to another clothed in their own language, by lecture or by treatise.”

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