Skip to main content
  1. AXS Entertainment
  2. Arts & Entertainment
  3. Movies

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Compromised Copyright

See also

While you don't think of crime-ridden Chicago as a haunt of the greatest detective in fiction, a major legal case involving Sherlock Holmes was decided only a week ago.

More Photos

Since the tales written by his original author, Sir Arthur Conal Doyle, were penned from 1881 to 1927, according to American copyright law, all the stories written before 1923 are now "public domain", meaning that anyone can reprint them, do adaptations or in other media (movies/tv/radio), or do sequels based on those tales without needing the permission of the Conan Doyle estate, or have to pay royalties to the estate.

However, the stories written between 1924 and 1927 are still under copyright protection, and if they are reprinted or story elements or characters unique to those tales are used in new stories or movie/tv/audio versions, then the users do have to pay the Conan Doyle estate for use of the material.

That's the decision handed down by US District Court Judge Ruben Castillio in a Chicago courtroom this week when Chi-town author Leslie Klinger won his case against the Conan Doyle estate which was trying to stop publication of an annotated edition of new Holmes stories based on the public domain tales. (BTW, the reason the suit was filed here and not in New York or Los Angeles was that both Klinger and Jon Lellenberg, the American agent for the Conan Doyle estate, are based in Illinois.)

Considering that there are currently two tv series updating the character to the present, as well as a popular film series starring Robert Downey Jr as Holmes, who knows how many more versions will pop up in the near future?

Advertisement

Today's top buzz...

  • Coachella
    The set times you need to know have been announced for Coachella
    Festival Buzz
  • Lamar Odom
    The New York Knicks are giving Lamar Odom another shot in the NBA
    Video
    NBA Buzz
  • Porsha Williams
    See why 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' star Porsha Williams posed for this mug shot
    Video
    TV News
  • NHL tickets
    If you're looking to catch an NHL playoff game in NYC, don't expect to do so on a budget
    NHL Buzz
  • Transcendence
    Review: ‘Transcendence’ fascinates, but does it rise above the field?
    Movies Buzz
  • Kobe Bryant
    Kobe Bryant has agreed to cooperate with an all-access documentary about his life
    Video
    Sports Buzz

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about Examiner.com and apply today!