MacMlillan and Co Ltd v Cooper: 1923

It is not the appropriation of the raw material that is at issue in copyright claims but the appropriation of another’s labour, skill and capital. Accordingly, Lord Atkinson said: ‘. . it is the product of the labour, skill, and capital of one man which must not be appropriated by another, not the elements, the raw material, if one may use the expression, upon which the labour and skill and capital of the first have been expended. To secure copyright for this product it is necessary that labour, skill and capital should be expended sufficiently to impart to the product some quality or character which the raw material did not possess and which differentiates the product from the raw material’.
After quoting Enersn, he continued: ‘This decision is, of course, not binding on this tribunal; but it is, in the opinion of the Board, sound, able, convincing and helpful. It brings out clearly the distinction between the materials upon which one claiming copyright has worked and the product of the application of his skill, judgment, labour and learning to those materials; which product, though it may be neither novel or ingenious, is the claimant’s original work in that it is originated by him, emanates from him, and is not copied.’
and: ‘What is the precise amount of the knowledge, labour, judgment or literary skill or taste which the author of any book or other compilation must bestow upon its composition in order to acquire copyright in it within the meaning of the Copyright Act of 1911 cannot be defined in precise terms. In every case it must depend largely on the special facts of that case, and must in each case be very much a question of degree.’
Lord Atkinson
(1923) 40 TLR 186, (1923) 1B IPR 204
England and Wales
CitedEmerson v Davies 1845
Mr. Justice Story said: ‘The question is not whether the materials which are used are entirely new and have never been used before; or even that they have never been used before for the same purpose. The true question is whether the same plan, . .
CitedBlack v Murray 1879
Lord Kinloch said: ‘I think it clear that it will not create copyright in a new edition of a work, of which the copyright has expired, merely to make a few emendations of the text, or to add a few unimportant notes. To create a copyright by . .

Cited by:
CitedInterlego AG v Tyco Industries Inc PC 5-May-1988
How much new material for new copyright
(Hong Kong) Toy building bricks were manufactured by Lego in accordance with engineering drawings made for that purpose. One issue was whether new drawings made since 1972, altering the original drawings in various minor respects but added new . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 03 September 2021; Ref: scu.667567