Decisions in Brief

Decisions in Brief

John C. Gatz

©2014. Published in Landslide, Vol. 6, No. 5, May/June 2014, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

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Basic Elements of Sherlock Holmes Stories in Public Domain

Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd., 2013 WL 6824923 (N.D. Ill. 2013). Leslie Klinger, a Sherlock Holmes expert, had previously co-edited a collection of new Sherlock Holmes stories by a variety of authors. During the development of that collection, the Conan Doyle estate approached the publisher and said that a license would be necessary. Klinger did not think the license was necessary because most of the Sherlock Holmes stories were in the public domain. The publisher accepted the terms anyway. While Klinger was working on a sequel to the new story collection, the publisher of the sequel was approached by the Conan Doyle estate about licensing terms. While Klinger still thought such a license was unnecessary, the publisher, concerned about potential litigation, backed out of the project.

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