No copyright in football fixtures

February 15, 1893
A singular claim at Burslem
At the Burslem County Court, on Wednesday, before Judge Jordan, Mr. Smith appeared for J.G. Fenn, printer, of Stoke, who claimed £10 damages from R. Clarkson, printer, Burslem, for breach of his copyright of the Stoke football fixtures.

Mr. Smith stated that Mr. Fenn purchased for £5 from the Stoke Football Club the sole right of publishing the list of their fixtures for the season of 1892-3. On August 20th plaintiff registered this at Stationers’ Hall. He dared say his Honour knew the process. Judge Jordan: “I don’t know anything about football. I have to pay several medical bills owing to it, (laughter) – but I don’t know anything directly. I have paid for two broken shoulders and other things already, but I don’t know anything personally.

Ultimately his Honour found that this was not a subject for copyright, and registration did not make it so. He gave a verdict for the defendant.
(Source: Blackburn Standard: February 18, 1893)

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