Originally posted 2014-01-03 09:48:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
“Not much. But there is this decision from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois…”
It would be tempting, to be sure, to try to embellish a discussion of the recent Sherlock Holmes decision with Holmesian flourishes, but this blawger isn’t going to do that—even though the decision has recognized his—and yours, for that matter—freedom to use the “characters, character traits, and other story elements from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories”—or at least those published before 1923. That said, a simple recitation of the relevant facts is in order—a method Holmes himself might have employed—in a bulleted list (and Holmes would have been able to tell you whether I am left- or right-handed just by examining these bullets!):
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote four novels and fifty-six short stories featuring the fictional characters Sherlock Holmes and his friend and chronicler Dr. John H. Watson.
- The first story, “A Study in Scarlet,” was first published in 1887 (in the United States in 1890). Forty-five further stories and the four novels were published in the U.S. before January 1, 1923. All of these works are in the public domain.
- The remaining ten stories, published after 1922, are still protected by copyright, owned by a company whose principals are relatives of Conan Doyle.