First Copyright Infringement – The Irish Copyright War – The war of Irish Monks.
St. Columba (521–597), Finnian of Moville (495–589)
The first known decision of what we now call copyright infringement was made by King Diarmait mac Cerbaill of Tara. When Colm Cille, an Irish monk later known as St. Columba, visited Abbot Finnian of Moville, his old instructor and mentor, he secretly copied a psalter, or book of psalms, causing a feud. Columba was well-known as a missionary, manuscript collector, and prolific scribe who frequently copied the writings of intellectuals he met. Finnian sought the copy after learning of Columba’s deed, saying that it belonged to him as much as the original. Columba turned down the offer.