Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co., Washington D.C. (1903)

Source: University of Texas School of Law Tarlton Law Library Stack 215: 188 U.S. 239 (1903).

Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co., Washington D.C. (1903), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Record-ID: us_1903

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Full title:
Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co., 188 U.S. 239

Full title original language:

A seminal Supreme Court case about the requirement of originality. The 1903 decision was a culmination of a gradual process of development that took place in the nineteenth century. It rejected any substantial originality bar as a prerequisite for copyright protection, expressed the ideological themes underlying this approach, and paved the way for copyright protection to commercial and 'low art' expression. The commentary describes the development of originality thought and doctrine in nineteenth century American copyright law. It places the Bleistein litigation and the Supreme Court decision in this context and discusses the case's importance and future legacy.

1 Commentary:

  • Zimmerman, Diane Leenheer. 'The Story of Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Company: Originality as a Vehicle for Copyright Inclusivity.' In Intellectual Property Stories, ed. Jane C. Ginsburg and Rochelle Cooper Dreyfuss. New York: Foundation Press, 2006.

Related documents in this database:
1869: Court of Cassation on originality
1899: Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co., District Court Decision
1900: Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co., Circuit Court Decision
1902: Bleistein's Brief
1902: Bleistein: Donaldson Lithographing Co. Brief
1902: Bleistein: Three Posters
1903: Bleistein: Cartoon

Author: N/A

Publisher: N/A

Year: 1903

Location: Washington D.C.

Language: English

Source: University of Texas School of Law Tarlton Law Library Stack 215: 188 U.S. 239 (1903).

Persons referred to:
Alexandre, Arsène
Briesen, Arthur von
Day, William Rufus
Degas, Hilaire Germain Edgar
Drone, Eaton Sylvester
Evans, Walter
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco José de
Harlan, John Marshall
Hiatt, Charles
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr.
Kittredge, Edmund W.
Lurton, Horace Harmon
Manet, Édouard
McKenna, Joseph
Ruskin, John
Severens, Henry Franklin
Steinla, Moritz
Wallace, Benjamin E.
Whistler, James Abbott McNeill
Wilby, Joseph
Wilcox, Ansley

Places referred to:
Buffalo, New York

Cases referred to:
Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co. (C.C.D. KY. 1899)
Blunt v. Patten, 3 F. Cas. 763 (C.C.S.D.N.Y. 1828)
Bolles v. Outing Co., 175 U.S. 262 (1899)
Boucicault v. Hart, Fed. Cases, No. 1692 (1875)
Brightly v. Littleton, 37 Fed. Rep. 103 (C.C.D. Pa. 1888)
Broder v. Zeno Mauvais Music Co. (1898)
Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53 (1884)
Callaghan v. Myers, 128 US 617 (1888)
Carlisle v. Colusa County, 57 Fed. 979 (C.C.D. Cal. 1893)
Carte v. Evans, 27 F. 861 (C.C.D. Mass. 1886)
Church v. Linton, 25 Ont. Rep. 121 (Canada, 1894)
Clayton v. Stone, 5 F. Cases 999 (S.D.N.Y. 1829)
Cobbett v. Woodward (1872) L.R. 14. Eq 407
Colliery Engineer Co. v. United Correspondence Schools Co., 94 F. 152 (C.C.D. N.Y. 1899)
Drury v. Ewing (1862), 1 Bond's Rep., 540
Ehret v. Pierce, 10. F. 553, 554 (C.C.D. N.Y. 1880)
French v. Kreling, (C.C.D. Cal., 1894)
Hegeman v. Springer, 110 F. 374 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1901)
Henderson v. Tompkins, 60 F. 758 (C.C.D. Mass. 1894)
Higgins v. Keuffel, 140 U.S. 428 (1891)
Kelly v Morris (1866) L. R. 1 Eq. 697
Martinetti v. Maguire, 16 F. Cases 920 (C.C.D.Cal. 1867)
Morris v. Wright (1870) L. R. 5 Ch. App. 279
Nottage v. Jackson, 11 Q.B.D. 627 (1883)
Palmer v. De Witt (1872) 47 N. Y. 532-536
Prince Albert v. Strange (1849), 1 Hall & T., 18 L.J. Ch. 120
Reed v. Carusi, 20 Fed. Cas., No. 11642 (1845)
Richardson v. Miller, 20 Fed. Cas. 723, No. 11,791 (C.C.D. Mass. 1877)
Rosenbach v. Dreyfuss, 2 Fed. 217 (C.C.D. N.Y. 1880)
Schumacher v. Wogram, 35 Fed. 210 (S.D. N.Y. 1888)
Scribner v. Clark, 50 F. 473 (C.C.D. Ill. 1888)
Thompkins v. Halleck 133 Mass. 32 (1882)
Thompson v. Hubbard, 131 US 123 (1889)
Trade Mark Cases, 100 U.S. 82 (1879)

Institutions referred to:
Kentucky District Court
U.S. Congress
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District
U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Constitutional Copyright Clause 1789
U.S. Copyright Amendment Act 1895 (penalties for infringement of copyright in photographs and fine art), 28 Stat. 965
U.S. International Copyright Act, 1891 (Chace Act)
U.S. Print and Label Law, Amendatory Act of June 18, 1874, 18 Stat. 78

authorship, theory of
constitution, US
employer/employee relations
engravings, protected subject matter
immoral works
personality theory

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