Commentary on Baller v. Watson (1737)

Ronan Deazley, Lionel Bently (Editor), Martin Kretschmer (Editor)

Research output: Other contribution


This case marks the first occasion, following the passage of the Statute of Anne 1710 (uk_1710), on which a living author sought to prevent the infringement of his own copyright before the courts, as well as the first time on which a ‘perpetual' injunction was granted to prevent the further unauthorised reproduction of the work.
The commentary describes the circumstances which led Gay to publish the work himself, by subscription, as well as the success he enjoyed (albeit posthumously) in preventing unauthorised versions of the work from being published. That a ‘perpetual' injunction was granted at the conclusion of the litigation was subsequently interpreted, by advocates of common law copyright, to suggest that, regardless of the Statute of Anne, the Lord Chancellor considered copyright to be a perpetual right.
Original languageEnglish
TypeScholarly Commentary
Media of outputOnline
PublisherUniversity of Cambridge
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Please cite as: Deazley, R. (2008) ‘Commentary on Baller v. Watson (1737)', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


  • copyright history


Dive into the research topics of 'Commentary on Baller v. Watson (1737)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this