Prince Albert v Strange: ChD 8 Feb 1849

The Prince sought to restrain publication of otherwise unpublished private etchings and lists of works by Queen Victoria.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: The jurisdiction in confidence is based not so much on property or on contract as on a duty of good faith. In granting an injunction restraining the publication of the catalogue containing descriptions of etchings, the court said it was ‘an intrusion – an unbecoming and unseemly intrusion . . offensive to that inbred sense of propriety natural to every man – if, intrusion, indeed, fitly describes a sordid spying into the privacy of domestic life – into the home (a word hitherto sacred among us).’ The plaintiff’s affidavits: ‘state distinctly the belief of the Plaintiff, that the catalogue and the descriptive and other remarks therein contained, could not have been compiled or made, except by means of the possession of the several impressions of the said etchings surreptitiously and improperly obtained. To this case no answer is made . . If then, these compositions were kept private, except as to some . . sent to [B] for the purposes of having certain impressions taken, the possession of the Defendant . . must have originated in a breach of trust, confidence, or contract, in [B] or some person in his employ taking more impressions than were ordered, and retaining the extra number.’ Lord Cottenham LC said: ‘privacy is the right invaded.’

Vice-Chancellor Knight-Bruce, Lord Cottenham LC
(1849) 1 H and Tw 1, 2 De G and SM 293, (1849) 1 Mac and G 25, [1849] EWHC Ch J20, [1849] EngR 255, (1849) 41 ER 1171, [1849] EngR 261, (1849) 47 ER 1302, (1849) 2 De Gex and Sim 652
Bailii, Commonlii, Commonlii
England and Wales
CitedAnn Paxton Gee v William Pritchard And William Anderson 17-Jul-1818
The Lord Chancellor repudiated an argument that the publication of letters should be restrained, because their publication would be painful to the feelings of the Plaintiff; and said, ‘The question will be, whether the bill has stated facts of which . .
CitedWilkins v Aikin 4-Aug-1810
The defendant was said to have copied works of the plaintiff. The court considered the defence of fair use. . .
CitedSpottiswoode v Clark 11-Dec-1846
A plaintiff seeking an injunction to restrain publication of documents must first demonstrate a title in them. . .
CitedRigby And Another v The Great Western Railway Company 1-Dec-1845
. .
CitedAbernethy v Hutchinson 17-Jun-1825
An application was made to restrain the Defendants from publishing, in ‘The Lancet,’ Mr Abernethy’s Lectures, which had been delivered extemporally. Lord Eldon, at first, refused the application; but afterward granted an injunction, in the ground . .
CitedSaunders And Benning v Smith And Maxwell 22-Jun-1838
. .
CitedGyles v Wilcox, Nutt and Barrow 6-Mar-1740
Copyright Purposes claim limited
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 . .
CitedMacklin v Richardson 5-Dec-1770
A short-hand writer took down the words from the mouths of the actors on the stage playing the farce of ‘Love a la Mode’, and the Defendant afterward published them, and an injunction was granted to restrain him, on the ground that the author had . .
CitedCarr v Hood QBD 1808
Lord Ellenborough said: ‘it is not libellous to ridicule a literary composition, or the author of it, in so far as he has embodied himself with his work.
Every man who publishes a book commits himself to the judgment of the public, and anyone . .
CitedClarke v Tipping 18-Apr-1846
The Defendant had bribed the Plaintiff’s agent to make extracts of false entries from the books of the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff did not move for an injunction on the Defendant’s answer; but, on the cause coming on for hearing, it appeared that . .
CitedMurray v Elliston 3-May-1822
The defendant represented Lord Byron’s tragedy of ‘Marino Faliero, Doge of Venice,’ on the stage, with some alterations from the printed tragedy.
Held: The manager of a theatre having publicly represented for profit a tragedy, altered and . .
CitedGreen v Folgham 10-Jun-1823
. .
CitedAldred’s Case 1619
An action would lie where a pig-stye was erected so close to the plaintiff’s house as to corrupt the air in the house, and also and similarly for a lime-kiln with smoke, or where filth from a dye house runs into a fish pond. Where the plaintiff . .
CitedPope v Curl 17-Jun-1741
The defendant, on his answer being put in, moved to dissolve an injunction against his vending a book of letters from Swift, Pope,and others.
Held: A collection of letters as well as other books, is within the intention of the 8th of Queen . .
CitedBridgeman v Green 1757
The question before the court was whether certain money, which had been obtained by fraud, ought to be returned to the Plaintiff by a party who had received it, but who was not a party to the fraud. Lord Commissioner Wilmot said, ‘Whoever receives . .
CitedDuke of Queensberry v Shebbeare 31-Jul-1758
The court considered the grant of an injunction to restrain publication of a manuscript of Lord Clarendon’s ‘History of the Reign of Charles the Second’ delivered to the defendant, but not for publication.
Held: The injunction was granted. . .
CitedMillar v Taylor 20-Apr-1769
Yates J said: ‘It is certain every man has a right to keep his own sentiments if he pleases. He has certainly a right to judge whether he will make them public, or commit them only to the sight of his friends. In that state the manuscript is, in . .
CitedDonaldson v Beckett HL 22-Feb-1774
Copyright Must Be Limited in Time
The booksellers’ statutory copyright rights had expired. They requested the court to recognise a continuing right akin to copyright under common law.
Held: Following Hinton -v- Donaldson, the Lords dissolved an injunction against Alexander . .
CitedSir Charles Thompson And Others, Executors of Lord Chesterfield v Eugenia Stanhope, Widow, And John Dodsley 23-Mar-1774
Lord Apsley granted an injunction, on the application of Lord Chesterfield’s executor, to restrain the widow of his son from publishing letters which the son had received from Lord Chesterfield. . .
CitedLord And Lady Perceval v Phipps 3-Jun-1813
Copyright in private letters remained even after transmission and an injunction could be granted to prevent further repubication. However here where the defendant was relying upon the letters to disprove false allegations made against him, that . .
CitedEarl Cholmondeley v Lord Clinton 3-Feb-1815
An Attorney or solicitor cannot give up his client, and act for the opposite party, in any suit between them. . .
CitedSouthey v Sherwood And Others 18-Mar-1817
Lord Eldon refused an injunction to restrain the publication of Wat Tyler, because he held the work itself to be of an injurious tendency; but he maintained the principle, that, if the work had been innocent in its character, the author would have . .

Cited by:
CitedDouglas etc v Hello! Ltd etc ChD 11-Apr-2003
The claimants were to be married. They sold the rights to publish photographs of their wedding, but various of the defendants took and published unauthorised pictures.
Held: The claimants had gone to lengths to ensure the commercial value of . .
CitedBritish Steel Corporation v Granada Television Ltd HL 7-May-1980
The defendant had broadcast a TV programme using material confidential to the plaintiff, who now sought disclosure of the identity of the presumed thief.
Held: (Lord Salmon dissenting) The courts have never recognised a public interest right . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
CitedCoco v A N Clark (Engineers) Ltd ChD 1968
Requirememts to prove breach of confidence
A claim was made for breach of confidence in respect of technical information whose value was commercial.
Held: Megarry J set out three elements which will normally be required if, apart from contract, a case of breach of confidence is to . .
CitedDouglas and others v Hello! Ltd and others (No 3) CA 18-May-2005
The principal claimants sold the rights to take photographs of their wedding to a co-claimant magazine (OK). Persons acting on behalf of the defendants took unauthorised photographs which the defendants published. The claimants had retained joint . .
CitedMurray v Express Newspapers Plc and Another ChD 7-Aug-2007
The claimant, now aged four and the son of a famous author, was photographed by use of a long lens, but in a public street. He now sought removal of the photograph from the defendant’s catalogue, and damages for breach of confidence.
Held: The . .
CitedTchenguiz and Others v Imerman CA 29-Jul-2010
Anticipating a refusal by H to disclose assets in ancillary relief proceedings, W’s brothers wrongfully accessed H’s computers to gather information. The court was asked whether the rule in Hildebrand remained correct. W appealed against an order . .
ApprovedLamb v Evans CA 1893
The plaintiff printed and published a multi-lingual European trade directory, engaging the defendants as commission agents to solicit paid entries for the directory. The businessmen could, if they wished, supply wood blocks or other materials from . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Intellectual Property, Information

Leading Case

Updated: 15 January 2022; Ref: scu.181403