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THE LAW OF COPYRIGHT
BOOKS, DRAMATIC AND MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS, LETTERS
AND OTHER MANUSCRIPTS, ENGRAVINGS AND SCULPTURE,
AS ENACTED AND ADMINISTERED IN
ENGLAND AND AMERICA;
NOTICES OF THE HISTORY OF LITERARY PROPERTY.
COUNSELLOR AT LAW.
33 BELL YARD, LINCOLN'S INN.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847
By GEORGE T. Curtis, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts,
It was originally my intention to have treated the kindred subjects of Copyrights and Patents for Useful Inventions, in the same work. But after having made some progress in both of these topics, the fact that very different classes of persons, out of the legal profession, are interested in the two subjects, has led me to publish this portion of my labors, as a distinct treatise. It will be followed, I hope, by a work on the law of Patents.
It will be seen that in discussing the various questions involved in this branch of the subject, I have not hesitated to express my own opinion, where the doctrine of decided cases seemed to me to be objectionable. Writers of treatises, in the manner of the English bar, generally content themselves with a dry abstract of the decisions, showing barely what the law is. This is well, as far as it goes. It is not the province of any writer to make the law, and he must certainly state the law as it is, if he means to have his book respectable and respected. But while his text should exhibit clearly the actual state of the law, he should never forget that he is dealing with principles ; that it is his task, to exhibit the doctrine of the law, which is its life ; and that unless he does this, his work, however accurately he may have strung the cases together, will be a mere collection of husks, the shell without the germinating principle that lies wrapt in the meat. If, then, he essays the task of eliminating the principle of a rule or a decision, tracing it in all its bearings and following it by the thread of analogy into other systems of jurisprudence, in order to ascertain whether it be really part of the general science, and not a local idea, he cannot avoid the expression of his own opinion, to some extent. The study of the law is the pursuit of truth; and he who undertakes to express and embody such truth, must occasionally express his own convictions.