In earlier days unlike today mathematicians didn't reveal their findings or formulas they came up with as they would use them in things like sort of maths competitions.

An example is-

In the 16th Century Tartagalia came up with a general solution to a cubic equation which was a milestone achievement in itself and a huge jump over the quadratic equation solution which had been long known however his method somehow managed to reach Gerolamo Cardano who published it despite having promised that he wouldn't and one of his student got an idea and built such a formula for a quartic equation as well.

The sad part of the story is despite his accomplishments Tartagalia died penniless and unknown and even the formula was tributed to Cardano as it was named after him.

Tartagalia engaged Cardano in a decade long battle over the publication however Cardano exploited a loophole in their agreement and a finding to win the argument.

I gave this example to illustrate what sort of situation i am concerned with now my main question is that is such a violation occurred at this time period was there any legal mechanism to prevent the exploitation of the original author? I found many sentences online concerning crimes of fatal nature such as those resulting in deaths in that time period but none which deals with rights over publication and it's implications

For further reading about the example given this source is helpful.


I believe that Tartaglia could have sued for either breach of contract or for damage to his reputation, but a better answer would include better legal scholarship. (Someone trained in law.)

Please check Wikipedia first. There was no legal battle, and consequently there was no potential for legal penalties.

Nevertheless, this led to a challenge to Cardano by Tartaglia, which Cardano denied. The challenge was eventually accepted by Cardano's student Lodovico Ferrari (1522–1565). Ferrari did better than Tartaglia in the competition, and Tartaglia lost both his prestige and income

  • What does better legal scholarship mean? – StackUpPhysics Sep 26 at 14:06

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