LITERARY property. Authors, it should seem, had, by the common law, the sole and exclusive copy-right remain ing in themselves or their assigns in per petuity, after having printed and put.
fished their compositions. This, as a com mon law right, was strangely questioned by some of our judges, who studied spe cial pleading more than common sense. But by statute 8 Anne, c. 19, it is secured to them for fourteen years, from the day of publishing ; and after the end of four teen years, the sole right of printing or disposing of copies, shall return to the authors, if then living, for other fourteen years. This statute, it has been held, re strains the right of the author and his assigns to the fourteen or the twen ty-eight years, whatever it might have been at the common law. A penalty on each sheet found in the possession of a party pirating a work, is inflicted by the statute, 9 Anne, c. 19 ; and, in order to entitle the plaintiff to recover this penal ty, the book must have been entered at Stationers' Hall. But an author whose
work has been pirated, may maintain an action for damages merely, without hav ing so entered his book. When an author transfers all his right or interest in a pub lication to another, and happens to sur vive the first fourteen years, the second. term will result to his assignee, and not to himself. By statute 12 Geo. II. c. 36. 34 Geo. III. c. 20, s. 57, books printed in England originally, may not be reprinted. abroad, and imported within twenty years. A last act extends also to Ireland, where English books were frequently pirated. By statute 8 Geo. II. c. 13 ; 7 Geo. III. c, 28; 17 Geo. III. c. 57. Engravers have a property in their prints and engravings for twenty-eight years absolutely. A fair abridgment is equally protected with an original work. Acting a play on a stage is not a publishing within the statute, 8 Anne, c. 19 ; but one cannot take a piece in short hand and print it before the au thor has published it.