The Legal Journey of Paterson’s Roads

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Imago Mundi, 2015, 67 (1), pp. 12 - 32
Issue Date:
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© 2014, © 2014 Imago Mundi Ltd. In 1771, Daniel Paterson entered into a publishing agreement with the bookseller Thomas Carnan to print and publish a travel itinerary known as Paterson’s Roads. This book was to become the most enduringly popular practical road book of the period. However, Paterson and Carnan were soon embroiled in litigation. This article examines the legal cases that arose when the geographical information contained in Paterson’s Roads was re-used, and improved upon, in a subsequent publication. It explores the background to the cases, focusing on what they reveal about the inner workings of the book and map trade of the period, as well as considering some of the broader historical ramifications. The article also demonstrates that these cases are of ongoing legal significance because they played an important role in developing some of the doctrines and principles of copyright law that continue to be controversial today.
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