214 U.S. 236
In 1899, one Daniel Hernandez painted and designed a painting called “Dolce Far Niente,” he then being a citizen and subject of Spain, which nation permits the benefit of copyright to citizens of the United States on substantially the same basis as its own citizens, as has been determined by the proclamation of the President of the United States. 29 Stat. 871. Prior to November 8, 1902, plaintiff became the sole proprietor of said painting by due assignment pursuant to law. About said date, plaintiff applied for a copyright, in conformity with the laws of the United States respecting copyrights, before the publication of the painting or any copy thereof. Plaintiff inscribed, and has kept inscribed, upon a visible portion of the painting, the words “Copyright by Rich. Bong.” and also upon every copy thereof. By reason of the premises, it is alleged, plaintiff became and was entitled, for the term of twenty-eight years, to the sold liberty of printing, reprinting, printing, publishing, and vending the painting. A violation of the copyright by defendant is alleged by printing, exposing for sale, and selling, copies of the painting under the name of “Sunbeam,” by Hernandez, and that defendant has in its possession over 1,000 copies. By reason of the premises, it is alleged, and under § 4965 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, as amended by the Act of March 2, 1895, defendant has forfeited the plates on which the painting is copied and every sheet thereof copied or printed, and $10 for every copy of the same in its possession and by it sold or exposed for sale, not more, however, than $10,000, whereof one-half shall go to plaintiff and the other half to the United States. Judgment of forfeiture is prayed.
“While it is true that the property in copyright in this country is the creation of statute, the nature and character of the property grows out of the recognition of the separate ownership of the right of copying from that which inheres in the mere physical control of the thing itself, and the statute must be read in the light of the intention of Congress to protect this intangible right as a reward of the inventive genius that has produced the work.”
“confers copyright where the person applying for the same as proprietor or assign of the author or proprietor is a subject of a country with which we have copyright relations, whether the author be a subject of one of those countries or not.”
and there was an explicit definition of the right transferred as follows:
“Considering this feature of the case, it is well to remember that the property of the author or painter in his intellectual creation is absolute until he voluntarily parts with the same.”
of this chapter, have the sole liberty of printing, publishing, and vending the same.’ This would seem to demonstrate the intention of Congress to vest in ‘assigns,’ before copyright, the same privilege of subsequently acquiring complete statutory copyright as the original author, inventor, designer, or proprietor,”
155 F. 116 affirmed.
the United States. His assignee, Werckmeister, was also a citizen of a country having copyright relations with us. But it was the right of the painter which was made prominent in the case and determined its decision.
Bong v. Campbell Art Co., 214 U.S. 236 (1909) U.S. Supreme Court Bong v. Alfred S. Campbell Art Company Argued April 15, 1909 Decided May 24, 1909 214 U.S. 236 Under § 4952,