Many of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are reaching the end of their 100-year copyright period, meaning the books become public domain and may be freely shared. But what of the characters they contain? Can anyone now write their own Sherlock Holmes book based upon the deductive cocaine/nicotine addict?
US author Leslie Klinger is pushing through the battle in local courts, claiming the Conan Doyle estate ought to have run out of time when it comes to ownership of the rights to the famous Holmes novels. A US court has already ruled that Klinger is able to release his own novels based on Holmes, as long as he doesn't refer to characters and events that Conan Doyle wrote about in later, still copyright protected, stories.
The estate of the author claims he continued to develop the character of Holmes until the end of the series, so his works ought to be protected for a further nine years. If the estate's appeal on these grounds fails, Klinger's forthcoming collection of new Holmes stories titled In the Company of Sherlock Holmes will be published.
It also means the likes of the BBC and other film and TV producers might be able to get away with paying less or indeed nothing to create their Holmes works, so, if you weren't already bored of the constant bombastic remakes, there could be even more on the way. [Metro]