Page:Copyright, Its History And Its Law (1912).djvu/34
things. The common law does give a man who has composed a work a right to that composition, just as he has a right to any other part of his personal property; but the question of the right of excluding all the world from copying, and of himself claiming the exclusive right of forever copying his own composition after he has published it to the world, is a totally different thing." Baron Parke, in the same case, pointed out expressly these two different legal senses of the word copyright, the right in copy, a right of possession, always fully protected by the common law, and the right to copy, a right of multiplication, which alone has been the subject of special statutory protection.
BlackstoneBlackstone in his Commentaries of 1767, in which the word copyright seems to have been first used, lays down the fundamental principles of copyright as follows: "When a man, by the exertion of his rational powers, has produced an original work, he seems to have clearly a right to dispose of that identical work as he pleases, and any attempt to vary the disposition he has made of it appears to be an invasion of that right. Now the identity of a literary composition consists entirely in the sentiment and the language; the same conceptions, clothed in the same words, must necessarily be the same composition; and whatever method be taken of exhibiting that composition to the ear or the eye of another, by recital, by writing, or by printing, in any number of copies, or at any period of time, it is always the identical work of the author which is so exhibited; and no other man (it hath been thought) can have a right to exhibit it, especially for profit, without the author's consent. This consent may, perhaps, be tacitly given to all mankind, when an author suffers his work to be published by another hand, without any claim or reserve