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The war of the booksellers: Natural law, equity, and literary property in eighteenth-century Scotland

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-257
JournalJournal of Legal History
Issue number3
Early online date15 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


This article analyses the case of Hinton v Donaldson (1773) in which the judges of the Scottish Court of Session refused to follow their English brethren in recognizing an author's right of property outside the Statute of Anne (1710). The decision must be understood against the background of distinct notions of common law and equity in Scots law, drawn from the Natural law tradition of the European jus commune. At the same time the decision reveals developing strands of Enlightenment thought and concepts of the judicial role in relation to legislation.

    Research areas

  • copyright, Statute of Anne, Hinton v Donaldson (1773)

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