It’s Official: Sherlock Holmes is Public Domain

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.


1 Comment

  1. Sherlock Holmes in the public domain will make him more cooler.

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