Page:The copyright act, 1911, annotated.djvu/31

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§1 (2)

include (a) exhibition of the work in public, (b) the issue of photographs and engravings of works of sculpture and architectural works of art; if such acts are complained of as being done without the permission of the author or other proprietor of the copyright in an unpublished work, no action will lie for infringement of a proprietary right, since the common law right is abrogated. The only ground upon which such unauthorised acts can be stopped is breach of contract or breach of trust arising from confidential relationship.

Existing law.—The ambit of the common law proprietary right in unpublished works has always been a matter of some doubt. In Philip v. Pennell[1], Kekewich, J., came to the conclusion that the common law proprietary right in letters went no further than to protect the proprietor from the multiplication of copies and publication of the literary composition contained in the letters. In his view there was no property in the information or facts contained in the letters, and although under certain circumstances it might be a breach of contract or trust to divulge such information or facts, it was no infringement of the common law right of property to do so or to use the information or facts for the purpose of compiling and publishing an independent publication such as a biography of the person who wrote the letters. On the other hand, there is some authority in support of the proposition that the proprietary right in an unpublished document or work of art was a much wider right than the statutory copyright or the mere right of multiplying and publishing copies, and that it did include an exclusive right to make any public use of the facts or information contained therein, except in so far as the author of the document or work of art had expressly or impliedly permitted such use[2]. In many of the cases, however, there is a want of clear distinction between the right to an injunction on the ground of property and the right to an injunction on the ground of breach of trust, and most of the decisions could be supported on the latter ground alone, and are, therefore, not very strong authorities in support of the theory of the wider common law right of property.

"Any translation of the work."The object of paragraph (a) is to make it clear that the author of any work shall have the exclusive translating right for the full term of the copyright in the original. This is in accordance with Articles VIII. and XI. of the Berlin Convention.

Existing law.—Apart from the International Copyright Acts, the existence of any exclusive right of translation has always been

  1. [1907] 2 Ch. 577.
  2. Millar V. Taylor (1769), 4 Burr. 2303, 2379; Tonson v. Walker (1752), 3 Swans. 672; Prince Albert v. Strange (1849), 2 De G. & Sm. 652, 691, 693.

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