Yesterday evening, illustrious Holmesian Les Klinger ignited the Sherlockian world with some truly cheering holiday news: After months of legal wrangling, a United States District Court freed Sherlock. To be more specific, the court ruled that the literary output of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle prior to 1923 is fully in the public domain.
What does this mean? For some time, the Conan Doyle Estate has contended that all of Doyle’s works containing Holmes should be considered under copyright in the United States, because they all comprise part of the character, and the last story about him was not published until 1927. Practically speaking, this position has been used to justify attempts to gain monetary value from media that uses Holmes and other Doyle characters and plots.
The opposite contention of Klinger and others was a basic one: Literary copyright is based on time elapsed. Once a number of years has passed, works (along with their characters and plots) go into the public domain (free for use by all), like it or not.
The court’s ruling upholds Klinger’s position and affirms that the only works still in copyright are those published after 1923 (which is only the Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes). Both sides agree that using characters and situations specifically (and only) from those stories requires copyright permission (for a few more short years).
The estate has 30 days to appeal the decision, but the current ruling of the court is unequivocally clear. Sherlock is free, and as his creator famously said, writers and artists may go on to ”marry him, murder him, or do anything you like to him” without fear of legal or financial peril.
To read more about the case and check out the full text of the legal decision, visit Free Sherlock
Yesterday evening, illustrious Holmesian Les Klinger ignited the Sherlockian world with some truly cheering holiday news: After months of legal wrangling, a United States District Court freed Sherlock. To be more specific, the court ruled that the literary output of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle prior to 1923 is fully in the public domain. What does this mean? For some time, the… Read More »
[LISTEN] | [DOWNLOAD] (Save Link As) | [TRANSCRIPT] —————————————— Sex. Porn. Slash. The elephant in the room is no more. Babes Curly, Liz, & Lyndsay talk dirty with Les Klinger, Sketchlock, reapersun, and Madlori in this first of two episodes about doing the dirty in Sherlockiana. This is the first of a two parter episode. In… Read More »
[LISTEN] ¦ [DOWNLOAD] ——————————————- “A civil action was filed today in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate by Sherlock Holmes scholar Leslie S. Klinger. Klinger seeks to have the Court determine that the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson are no… Read More »
AKA we’re in The New York Times! BSB Lyndsay comments on the recent lawsuit as well as Shreffgate (which, yes, has now made national press, and tumblr, you’re mentioned!) Find out more about Free Sherlock at free-sherlock.com Leslie Klinger is the man behind #FreeSherlock, a lawyer, and the advisor on the Downey Jr films. We… Read More »
The Illustrated Speckled Band Ed. by Leslie S. Klinger Reviewed by Amy Thomas The Baker Street Babes The idea of Sherlock Holmes in the theater tends to bring images of William Gillette to mind, the actor whose play Sherlock Holmes and portrayal of the detective garnered acclaim that continues to this day. Less well known… Read More »
A Study in Sherlock Ed. By Laurie R. King and Les Klinger Reviewed by Amy Thomas The Baker Street Babes Ever since the publication of the Sherlock Holmes canon, the four novels and fifty-six short stories that comprise Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s official Holmes output, authors have been appropriating his characters for their own use…. Read More »