Sherlock Holmes in Public Domain, Says Judge
Or at least, all his stories from before 1923
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Dec 27, 2013 1:47 PM CST
An image of Holmes and Watson from 'The Adventure of Silver Blaze,' which was published in The Strand Magazine in December 1892.   (Wikimedia)

(Newser) – Are you dying to share your Sherlock Holmes fanfic with the world? Well, that's just become (sorry, we have to do this by law), elementary, my dear reader. A federal judge has ruled that Holmes, Watson, and all 50 stories they appeared in before Jan. 1, 1923, are now in the public domain in the US, the New York Times reports. The stories can be reprinted, and the characters used, without paying Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's estate.

The estate argued, and continues to argue, that Holmes and Watson shouldn't be in the public domain because Doyle wrote 10 stories after 1923 that develop their characters "in ways that almost any use of the characters depends on." But the plaintiffs, Leslie Klinger and Laurie King, say they've edited a book of new Holmes stories, called In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, that avoids any post-1923 elements. "Sherlock Holmes belongs to the world," Klinger said, a sentiment shared by many creators who rallied to her cause under the #FreeSherlock hashtag.

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Showing 3 of 21 comments
Cat-Lover
Dec 28, 2013 1:35 PM CST
The entire bible falls into this category which is why someone like Phil Robertson can add whatever he wants into any definition of sin and claim religious freedom. When are Christians going to learn that if Jesus didn't say it, it ain't so? Jesus overrode the entire bible with his one commandment and most Christians refuse to accept that as long as they can shove their old testament morality on the willing.
FURonnie Bed Time For Bonzo
Dec 27, 2013 9:03 PM CST
Too bad they don't have the "Juice" The Wanton Dizzy corporation had in rigging the 1924 date so that Mickey the Rat would not be for public's free use. The new laws are pretty specific. All you kids out there who like to know more should get the Public Domain book by Nolo Press. Further more everybody should check out all their self help law books...the best is especially Neighbor Law it will amaze you what the real law is. "If your neighbors tree drops fruit on your side of the fence can you eat it or sell it? Wrong!!! You cannot, but you can throw it away. I let my goat herd break the law!
Lou Bernardo
Dec 27, 2013 8:03 PM CST
Ooooo! Now they can be re-edited and some sex and blood and gore added so they'll be fit for family viewing on American TV.