Edinburgh: Printed by James Donaldson. Published by James Boswell, 1774. Disbound. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Very Good +. Item #003974
1st edition. A Very Good copy, housed in custom slip case. 4to., iv, 37 pp. Disbound at an earlier time from a bound volume. Housed in a red cloth over board, 4-flap folder, further housed in a quarter leather and red cloth slip case, most probably from the early 20th century (1930's). Previous owner's early stenciled name on the title page, with a number "2" in the upper corner of the title page. The title page's lower edge has some minor creasing/curling. A Very Good copy. OCLC locates 24 copies, worldwide. Last recorded at auction in 1982. **** A landmark decision in British law, Hinton v. Donaldson forever changed the British, and eventually, American Copyright law. Donaldson's attorney was James Boswell, who is now known as the author of perhaps the most important biography in the English language, THE LIFE OF JOHNSON. During his lifetime, Boswell was known for his role in Hinton v Donaldson, and its impact on Copyright Law. The first copyright law in England, circa 1710, granted a 14 year term of copyright, not held by the authors, but by the publishers and large booksellers. These booksellers and publisher's, sued to keep thier previous "perpetual copyrights", and won in the House of Lords in the case Miller v taylor. Scottish booksellers Alexander Donaldson and John Wood opened a bookstore in London, publishing cheap copies of English classics. London publishers sued, even though Donaldson was publishing books that should have long ago come out of copyright. Boswell won the case, which was appealed to the House of Lords. This is when Boswell published this tract, The Decision of the Court of Session, upon the Question of Literary Property, with the intent, successfully achieved, of influencing the House of Lords to reverse thier 1769 decision in Miller v Taylor, ending the practice of "Perpetual exclusive property". America followed suit in 1834, rejecting "perpetual copyright" in the decision of Wheaton vs. Peters. (see also Donaldson v Becket ; Statute of Anne 1710; Tonson v Collins)***.