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Folsom v. Marsh
United States Circuit Court for the District of Massachusetts
9 F. Cas. 342, 13 Copr. Dec. 991 (1841)
Jared Sparks and his publisher, Folsom, Wells and Thurston (plaintiffs) published a book about President George Washington’s life that included letters written by Washington. The letters depicted the life, acts, and character of Washington. Reverend Charles Upham and his publisher, Marsh, Capen and Lyon (defendants) subsequently published a biography of Washington and included exact copies of the letters from Sparks’s book. Although the letters made up only a small portion of Sparks’s book, Upham’s book was almost entirely based on the copyrighted letters. Sparks sued Upham for copyright infringement, and Upham argued that the use of the letters was fair and justifiable.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Story, J.)
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