It does seem a case of kismet that just a day after I posted my review of Solomon’s Freedom, a court has determined that chimpanzees do not have rights:

A chimpanzee is not entitled to the rights of a human and does not have to be freed by its owner, a New York appeals court ruled Thursday.

The three-judge Appellate Division panel was unanimous in denying “legal personhood” to Tommy, who lives alone in a cage in upstate Fulton County.

[ . . . ]

“So far as legal theory is concerned, a person is any being whom the law regards as capable of rights and duties,” the judges wrote. “Needless to say, unlike human beings, chimpanzees cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their actions.”

That, they ruled, makes it “inappropriate” to grant the rights of a human to the animal.

This should not deter you from reading Dennis Meredith’s fine book where — SPOILER ALERT — the judge bases his ruling on a different legal issue.


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The Doyle estate has lost in court.  From the L.A. Times:

It’s official: Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective (and Benedict Cumberbatch’s famous alter ego), is in the public domain.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a case brought by Doyle’s estate, which claimed that authors who wanted to publish stories about Holmes needed to pay the estate a licensing fee. This leaves intact a June decision by 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner, which held that most of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories are no longer protected by copyright.

The case started last year after Doyle’s estate demanded a licensing fee from the publisher Pegasus, which had planned to release an anthology called “In the Company of Sherlock Holmes,” edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger. The book, which features Holmes-inspired stories by contemporary writers, is now for sale.

Klinger sued the estate and won. The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal means Doyle’s estate is out of options in the U.S. The decision does preserve copyright on 10 late Sherlock Holmes stories by Doyle but leaves most of the author’s work and characters in the public domain.

I expect to see a lot of wonderful new stories appearing that are based upon the wonderful Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.


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Well, it’s only a temporary injunction, but a strange one given the circumstances:

A well-known artist in the UK is publishing a memoir, including sections that deal with the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. His ex-wife obtained the injunction on publishing that factual account of his life because she believes it will harm, by her lawyer’s own admission, a single child the two had together. That child is suffering a wide range of health problems, including Asperger’s Syndrome, and the ex-wife is suggesting that reading the father’s account would cause further harm.

So until a trial judge sorts it all out, nobody gets to read it. More details at the Techdirt link.



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