Sherlock Holmes Is Now in the Public Domain, Declares US Judge

sherlock_holmes_in_public domain

Chief Judge Rubén Castillo of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois has ruled that the characters and story lines used in 50 Sherlock Holmes texts published by Arthur Conan Doyle before Jan. 1, 1923 “are no longer covered by United States copyright law and can be freely used by creators without paying any licensing fee to the Conan Doyle estate,” reports The New York Times. This gives contemporary authors the ability to write their own Sherlock Holmes mystery stories and keep contributing to a rich tradition of detective fiction. It would also seemingly put pre-1923 texts firmly in the public domain. (You can find The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and other related stories in our Free eBooks and Free Audio Books collections. ) Leslie S. Klinger, the editor of The Complete Annotated Sherlock Holmes, who filed the civil suit, praised the judge’s decision, saying “People want to celebrate Holmes and Watson, and now they can do that without fear.” Now it’s time for them to write something that can hold a candle to what Conan Doyle created those many years ago.

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via Arts Beat

Related Content:

Arthur Conan Doyle Discusses Sherlock Holmes and Psychics in a Rare Filmed Interview (1927)

Arthur Conan Doyle & The Cottingley Fairies: How Two Young Girls Fooled Sherlock Holmes’ Creator

Arthur Conan Doyle Fills Out the Questionnaire Made Famous By Marcel Proust (1899)

Watch John Cleese as Sherlock Holmes in The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It


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  1. Larry says . . . | December 28, 2013 / 12:48 am

    Now Europe should remove the pattent from Disney stuff!

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  3. Sally says . . . | March 24, 2014 / 3:12 pm

    Great! It wasn’t enough so many people wrote trash and completely changed the real theme of Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’, a novel more about society than romance; that now poor Holmes is the next target -_-

    Doesn’t anyone have any real ideas anymore!!??

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