Decisions in Brief

Decisions in Brief

John C. Gatz

©2015. Published in Landslide, Vol. 7, No. 3, January/February 2015, 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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Conan Doyle Estate Ordered to Pay Attorney Fees in Holmes Case

Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate Ltd., 761 F.3d 789 (7th Cir. 2014). Leslie Klinger anthologized stories written about Sherlock Holmes by modern authors, who used elements of out-of-copyright Holmes stories in their own works. The estate of Arthur Conan Doyle threatened to work with Amazon and other booksellers to block sales of Klinger’s anthology unless a license was obtained. Rather than paying for the license, Klinger sued for declaratory judgment and succeeded in district court and on appeal. Doyle estate’s argued that the anthologized stories used more “rounded” characters found in Doyle works still under copyright. Klinger asked for an order awarding him the $30,000 in attorneys’ fees he spent on the appeal.

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