A legal fight is brewing over ownership of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes character. In a lawsuit filed in February, Leslie Klinger, a Holmes scholar, argues that the entirety of the Holmes canon should be public domain, and the Conan Doyle estate should be barred from further claiming rights and demanding permissions. According to the Hollywood Reporter:
Klinger worked on the book, In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, and in the course of doing so, was contacted by agents for the Doyle estate who asserted a license was needed. Instead of agreeing, Klinger sought a declaratory judgment in Illinois federal court, pointing out that many of Doyle’s stories were published before 1920s, which is argued puts them in the public domain.
Techdirt explains the technicalities:
For a few years now we’ve discussed a few times some of the confusion as to why Sherlock Holmes isn’t considered in the public domain in the US, even though he probably should be. As we’ve explained, all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books except for one are in the public domain. The Conan Doyle estate claims that having that single book under copyright means that the entire character is covered by copyright.
Responding, seven months later, to the lawsuit, the estate has …read more
Via: Melville House Books