New Addition to Professor Ann Bartow Copyright Litigation Collection

Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53 (1884) Napoleon Sarony, the plaintiff in this case, was America's most famous portrait photographer in the latter half of the 19th Century. Before picking up the camera, he was already well-known as an accomplished lithographer. Oscar Wilde is one of the most famous Irish authors of all time, renowned for works like The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest. In the early 1880's, before these books were even published, Wilde had already become famous for his public lectures. In 1882, Wilde crossed the U.S. on a wildly successful speaking tour. During this time, he posed for the infamous photo. A retail store in New York City, Ehrich Brothers, commissioned Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. to print an advertisement for hats, in which it used this photo. Over 85,000 copies of the ad were made by the time Sarony brought the publishers to court. Sarony brought suit against Burrow-Giles, alleging that…

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