Here is the next post in the series of Student Blog Contest. This post is authored by Nitish Chaudhary.
One might ask, how do 127-year-old immortal characters of Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson achieve emancipation? The answer is simple: Sherlock’s free for all now, as a direct result of Leslie Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate Ltd[i]. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, US, vide Order dated June 16, 2014, clarified that the characters of the Sherlockean World, creations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, are in the public domain now, as their copyright expired as early as 1997. With the exception of 10 Sherlock stories written between 1923 and 1927, the copyright has expired on all other 46 stories and 4 novels concerning the very characters of Sherlock Holmes, Watson and the crew, constantly the target of condescension by the duo.
After the death of Sir Conan Doyle, the Conan Doyle Estate took charge, and ownership, of the characters of the Sherlockean world. Therefore, if any author wished to use a character that originated by Conan Doyle’s pen, they had to either seek a license to use the copyrighted work or seek permission from the Estate. The Estate would usually allow the use of Sherlock Holmes and the crew, for a license costing US$ 5000.