U.S. Supreme Court
Little v. Hall, 59 U.S. 18 How. 165 165 (1855)
Little v. Hall
59 U.S. (18 How.) 165
On the 27th of December, 1847, George F. Comstock was appointed state reporter under a statute of the State of New York, which office he held until the 27th of December, 1851.
During his term of office, viz. in 1850, he, in conjunction with the comptroller and secretary of the state, acting under the authority of a statute, made an agreement with certain persons that for five years to come, they should have the publication of the decisions of the Court of Appeals and the exclusive benefit of the copyright.
At the expiration of Mr. Comstock's term, viz. on the 27th of December, 1851, he had in his possession sundry manuscript notes, and the decisions made at the ensuing January term, were also placed in his hands to be reported. Out of these materials he made a volume and sold it upon his own private account.
Whatever remedy the first assignees may have had against Mr. Comstock individually, they are not to be considered as the legal owners of the manuscript under the copyright act of congress, and are not entitled to an injunction to prevent the publication and sale of the volume.
The case is stated in the opinion of the Court. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary