Supreme Court lets Sherlock Holmes remain in the public domain

From today’s Publisher’s Lunch:

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Sherlock Holmes Case

On Monday the Supreme Court declined to hear the final appeal from the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle, which claims the Sherlock Holmes characters remain protected by copyright because of 10 original stories published after 1923. A District Court ruled against the estate in late 2013, and this June an appeals court ruling went even further in affirming that the Sherlock Holmes characters and stories written prior to 1923 are in the public domain.

The original suit was brought by Leslie Klinger, seeking clarification after the Conan Doyle Estate demanded (and was paid) $5000 in licensing fees for an anthology of new fiction featuring Sherlock Holmes published by Random House, then demanded additional fees for a follow-up anthology slated for publication by Pegasus. Klinger’s new anthology, IN THE COMPANY OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, is scheduled for publication later this month.

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