Sherlock Holmes is public domain!*


*Well most of the stories are–The Seventh Circuit Court ruled on Monday that a large portion of the Sherlock Holmes stories are in the public domain. Public domain in the United States includes works published before 1923. Leslie Klinger is the editor of a set of stories based on the Sherlock Holmes stories and filed suit against the Doyle estate to assert that those stories written before 1923 were in the public domain and not subject to licensing fees. The Doyle estate argued that the last 10 stories published after 1923 greatly helped to round out the Sherlock Holmes character so all the stories should still be subject to copyright. The estate was basically asking for 135 years of copyright protection. It will be another 8 years before all of the stories fall into public domain.

The decision is good news for those who would like to reuse and re-purpose the character. It would have been markedly more messy if the judge had decided in favor of the estate. Copyright is already messy enough without extending protections for works that may not have finished their whole runs in the public domain range.


One response to “Sherlock Holmes is public domain!*

  1. Tramp, the World’s Best Dog Detective is very happy. He quotes Sherlock all the time.

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