MARK TWAIN, PLAINTIFF.
Brings Suit Against Publishers for Alleged Infringement of Copyright and Trade Mark.
Samuel L. Clemens has instituted an action in the United States Circuit Court against Butler Brothers, publishers of this city and Chicago. The action is brought through Augustus T. Gurlitz, who is also counsel for Rudyard Kipling, in a suit against R. F. Fenno & Co., publishers of this city, on alleged infringement of trade mark and copyright. Mr. Clemens recently appeared as a witness for the plaintiff in this case and expressed the view that trade marks ought to be respected, and that there is no difference between counterfeiting a label on a book, a box of blacking, or a bottle of whisky.
As it now stands Mark Twain's action consists merely in a summons requiring the defendants to appear in an action brought against them for damages for violation of copyrights according to the provisions of Sections 4,952 and 4,964 of the Revised Statutes of the United States. It is alleged that Butler Brothers have caused an infringement of trade mark or name in publishing certain books not by the plaintiff, but having as the principal part of their titles the words "Library of Wit and Humor by Mark Twain." The summons states that damages may have been caused in the above described manner to the extent of $10,000.
Charles C. Lloyd, Vice President and Treasurer of the Butler Brothers' concern when seen yesterday afternoon, expressed great surprise at the action.
"We buy the book from Thomas & Thomas, publishers, of Chicago," he said. "on the title page of the book you can see it states 'Copyrighted, 1883, by L. W. Yaggy. Copyrighted, 1898, by Star Publishing Company.' This perfectly satisfied us when we thought of handling the book. There may be an infringement. If there is we are entirely ignorant of the fact. The sales of the book thus far have amounted to just $80."
Mr. Gurlitz, when seen, produced a copy of the book which brought about the suit and pointed out that it was almost identical in appearance with a book published by his client under the title of "Library of Wit and Humor." The name "Mark Twain" is brought out in large gilt letters, while the words "and others" are much smaller and in black lettering, which does not show plainly on the green cloth binding. Mr. Gurlitz said he would decide within a day or two whether he would bring suit against other publishers.
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