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Friday, February 15, 2013

Sherlock Holmes Goes to Court

UPDATE - The Economist doesn't seem to think that The Estate has much of chance on this one.

Another lawsuit regarding ownership of Sherlock Holmes.

Sidney Paget is THE Holmes illustrator
from the original run of stories. If I remember
correctly, this picture (in black and white) was
found rolled up in a trash can or something
like that by his daughter. It was published
for the first time in Leslie Klinger's annotated
I know the person who claims to own the copyright to Sherlock Holmes (usually referred to in some form as the 'Literary Estate.'). Courts have ruled against her more than once, involving her assertion that she owns the characters, not just the stories. She has no relation to the Doyle family.

If I remember correctly, her then-husband Sheldon Reynolds bought the rights from the Doyle family. Reynolds produced the black and white Holmes tv series starring the under-appreciated Ronald Howard. She got the rights in their divorce. Or so the story goes.

As an FYI, all 60 of the original Holmes tales by Doyle are in the public domain in England. All but the last 10 (collected as the Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes) are in the public domain in the US.


I was mistaken. I assumed this was related to the Literary Estate's claim to the Holmes copyright. This is actually a lawsuit against the Doyle heirs, who are trying to block the publication of the book. It's amazing how many different people are trying to make money off of Conan Doyle's work (including his family). At least authors are producing something. The heirs are just milking the talent of their bloodline.

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