Sherlock Holmes

News & Analysis as of

Judge Posner Orders Sherlock Holmes Estate to Pay Attorneys’ Fees for “Form of Extortion”

Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. - In another scathing opinion against the Sherlock Holmes estate, Judge Richard A. Posner ordered the estate to pay attorneys’ fees for bringing “nonexistent copyright claims” as a...more

“Free Sherlock” Litigation Raises Specter of Antitrust Liability for Distributors Cooperating With Intellectual Property Owners

Leslie Klinger, noted Sherlock Holmes scholar and lawyer, has waged a nearly all-out legal offensive against the Estate of Arthur Conan Doyle over the Estate’s assertion of a copyright in connection with certain works...more

Judge Posner Solves Sherlock Holmes Copyright Case

Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. - The original character of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, along with his sidekick, Dr. John H. Watson, are no longer subject to copyright protection. In an opinion by Judge...more

Judge Posner, I Presume

Over the past several months, Judge Posner and the Seventh Circuit has handed a couple of rare, but well-deserved wins to the public domain. On June 16, 2014, the Court issued an opinion holding that the primary characters...more

Conan Doyle Estate’s Quixotic Attempt to Protect Sherlock Holmes

Led by Judge Richard Posner, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently refused what Posner called a “quixotic” attempt to extend copyright law. While the holding was perhaps to be expected, the opinion introduced a...more

Business Litigation Report -- June 2014

In This Issue: - Main Article: ..Tronox Inc. v. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (In re Tronox Inc.) – Bankruptcy Court Takes Unusual Steps to Declare Corporate Restructuring a Fraudulent Transfer - Noted With...more

The Scope of Copyright Protection over Sherlock Holmes Characters Is Far from “Elementary”

The copyright clause of the U.S. Constitution incentivizes the creation of original works of art by granting authors exclusive rights in such works for “limited Times.” U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 8. The idea is to strike a...more

Seventh Circuit says Sherlock Holmes is still copyright-free

A district court decision declaring that the character of Sherlock Holmes is copyright-free was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in a unanimous decision written by Circuit Judge Richard Posner....more

Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd.

Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. - USCA, Seventh Circuit, June 16, 2014: Seventh Circuit rules that editor of anthology of stories featuring Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson characters did not...more

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the split copyright personality

Between Benedict Cumberbatch’s sly smile on the BBC’s “Sherlock” and Johnny Lee Miller’s haunted recovering drug addict on CBS’ “Elementary,” there’s no shortage of possible Sherlock Holmes’ in modern culture. (Add in Robert...more

The Abbey Grange, The Quality Of Justice And Codes Of Conduct

In honor of the return of Sherlock Holmes to PBS with Season 3, I begin a week of Sherlockian themed posts. Today we consider the quality of justice that Holmes discussed in The Abbey Grange, he allowed a man who murdered a...more

Advertising Law -- Jan 16, 2014

FTC Makes New Year’s Resolution to Target Deceptive Weight-Loss Claims - While many Americans made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or get in better shape, the Federal Trade Commission resolved to eliminate...more

Federal Judge Declares Sherlock Holmes Characters in Public Domain. Sort of.

Comedian Dmitri Martin has a great joke about the expression “sort of.” Although normally a fairly meaningless expression, saying “sort of” after certain things suddenly becomes very important. Such as after the phrase “I...more

Superheroes of Copyright: When Do Fictional Characters Enjoy Copyright Protection?

Several recent cases have highlighted the interesting issue of whether and when fictional characters – as distinct from the works they inhabit – are subject to copyright protection. Over the years, courts have developed two...more

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