Annotated Sherlock HolmesLeslie S. Kilnger, who edited one of my most prized books (actually three books), The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, has launched a blog site to chronicle his legal battle with the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Klinger wants a US court to determine that Holmes and Watson are no longer protected by federal copyright laws and that writers are free to create new stories about them without paying fees to the estate.

The Conan Doyle Estate contacted our publisher and implied that if the Estate wasn’t paid a license fee, they’d convince the major distributors not to sell the book. Our publisher was, understandably, concerned, and told us that the book couldn’t come out unless this was resolved.

See Free Sherlock! and follow the twitter hashtag, #freesherlock.

About pastoffences

Past Offences exists to review classic crime and mystery books, with ‘classic’ meaning books originally published before 1987.
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2 Responses to #freesherlock

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Thanks, Rich, for the information.It looks to be an interesting debate about who really can use those characters.


  2. Thanks Rich – I hadn’t heard about this – having said that, speaking as a once-upon-a-time lawyer, it is a knotty issue separating the character from the stories and the Doyle estate isn’t necessarily in the wrong here in trying to protect their rights. it will be very interesting to see if there is a real outcome in the courts (or anyway before before 2022 …)


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