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Extracts from Sir William M. James' Judgment. On December 14th, the Vice-Chancellor delivered judgment.
Amongst other things the Vice-Chancellor said : “Every question of literary piracy is a question, as they would say in Westminster Hall, for a jury, and I apprehend that a jury would receive some such direction as this : “Take the two books into your hand; weigh all the circumstances connected with the defendant's work, and then ask yourself this question - Is
any material and substantial part of the defendant's work a transcript of the plaintiffs' work, with colourable additions and colourable variations, and without any honest and real literary labour bestowed by the defendant in the composition of it, as an original literary work? If so, it is piracy.' I have taken the two books into my hands accordingly, and I have given myself that direction.
“And a comparison merely of the two works enables me at once to dispose of a great part of the plaintiffs' case. A mere inspection of the pages of the defendant's book, from which passages are alleged to have been taken, satisfies me that, with regard to all that part of the defendant's book under the heads of 'Heat' and 'Light,' any suggestion of literary piracy is entirely out of the question. You cannot, as it appears to me, sustain a charge of literary piracy where you have to track passages and lines through hundreds of pages of the one work, to find those passages and lines tesselated through hundreds of pages in the other.”
The defendant's counsel, however, has gone through the works question by question, fact by fact, and he has satisfied me.”
“In many cases—in the majority of cases, in fact—which are charged as piracy, the things I find in the defendant's book were taken from the other books which have been produced before me. And upon this it is not immaterial to observe that part of the plaintiffs' case is this : it is 'that though there is a difference in language between your book and my book, that difference in language is only part of the fraud of which you have been guilty. You stole my work, and you disguised it in order to conceal the theft. In many cases the very words which were alleged to have been 80 fraudulently varied, have been traced to my satisfaction to the other books which have been produced ; and every case of that kind not only fails, but, in my judgment, recoils with destructive effect upon the whole of the plaintiffs' case.”
“ It goes far to show that the defendant, was really, honestly, and substantially applying himself, as he might do, to the various sources of information before him for the purpose of enabling him to produce his work. In truth, the explanation that was given by the defendant's counsel of these facts was 80 strong, was 80 conclusive, that the plaintiffs' counsel in reply was driven to allege," &c., dc.
book which shows the substantial labour in adding to that which is found in the plaintiffs' book, in Wells's book, and in 'The Reason Why.""
“ I am satisfied the defendant's book was not taken from the plaintiffs' book at all."
Speaking of the least distance at which an echo can be heard, the Vice-Chancellor, in reference to the “Class-Book,” said: “A very material and very important scientific fact, which I find no trace of in the plaintiffs' work at all. That satisfies me even upon that part that he was not stealing the plaintiffs' book.”
“He” (the defendant's author) “must have used a considerable amount of literary labour.”
'My verdict as a judge is, that the plaintiffs have failed to prove that the defendant's authors have been guilty of the literary larceny with which they have been charged, and that being 80, the plaintiffs' Bill must be dismissed, and DISMISSED WITH COSTS.”
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The London Times' report (Dec. 15th) in the Cause Jarrold v. Heywood, has the following on the Judgment of Vice-Chancellor Sir W. M. James. “ His Honour said ..... he was satisfied that
the defendant's authors had bestowed substantial labour and given independent thought and research, with a considerable amount of literary merit, in adding to that which was to be found in the plaintiffs' and other works of the same character." The Methodist Quarterly Review says: “This admirable compendium
. . a work which reflects great credit on its authors. They have been conspicuously successful : no better elementary work could be placed by a father or a teacher in the hands of a son or pupil .... will probably supersede other works of the kind in the family and the school. The substantial originality of the book being thus vindicated in the Court of Chancery], we wish for it the circulation its merits de The Athenæum says,
It would be a powerful instrument in