Gyles v Wilcox, Nutt and Barrow; 6 Mar 1740

References: [1740] EngR 77, (1740) Barn C 368, (1740) 27 ER 682, [1740] EngR 78, (1740) 2 Atk 141, (1740) 26 ER 489 (C), [1740] EngR 90, (1740) 3 Atk 269, (1740) 26 ER 957 (A)
Links: Commonlii, Commonlii, Commonlii
Coram: Lord Hardwicke LC
Ratio The plaintiff bookmaker was publisher of Matthew Hale’s Pleas of the Crown. The first and second defendants hired the third to abridge it and they began to published the result as Modern Crown Law. The plaintiff sought to restrain further publication.
Held: The application failed. ‘The Stat. of 8 A. cannot be said to tend to a monopoly. The Stat, of 8 A. shall be said to be made for the publick Benefit and Advantage, by reason that it tends to the Advancement of Learning. This Statute must not be construed strictly, but according to the Intention of the Legislature. When Complaints have been made of a Book’s being printed contrary to the Statute, the only Question has been, Whether it is the same Book with the former?’
Ratio The Lord Chancellor said of the Act: ‘ . . When Complaints of this Sort have come before the Court,the single Question has constantly been, Whether the second Book has been the same Book with the former ? And where the second Book has no otherwise differ’d from the former than by reducing or shortning the Stile, or by leaving out some of the Words of the first Book, the second Book has been construed the same with the former. But where the second Book has been an abridgment of the former, it has been understood not to be the same Book, and therefore to be out of the Act.’
. . and ‘Whether the second Book is the same Book with the former is a Matter of Fact, and a Fact of Difficulty to be determined. It is hard to say in what manner the Court ought to determine this Fact ; and his Lordship said he could not see how it could be determined but by reading both the Books over, and that would be hardly proper for him to do.’
Statutes: Statute of Anne 1708
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Prince Albert -v- Strange ChD ((1849) 1 H & Tw 1, 2 De G & SM 293, (1849) 1 Mac & G 25, Bailii, [1849] EWHC Ch J20, [1849] EngR 255, Commonlii, (1849) 41 ER 1171, [1849] EngR 261, Commonlii, (1849) 47 ER 1302, (1849) 2 De Gex & Sim 652)
    The Prince sought to restrain publication of otherwise unpublished private etchings and lists of works by Queen Victoria. The etchings appeared to have been removed surreptitiously from or by one Brown. A personal confidence was claimed.
    Held: . .

(This list may be incomplete)

Last Update: 25-Mar-16
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