Sherlock Holmes, the intellectual property of the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and now under the protection of his estate, may soon be the property of Public Domain. That will be the case if American author and attorney Leslie Klinger has his way in court. Klinger, author of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, has been battling the Doyle estate for sometime over this issue.
According to The Hollywood Reporter Klinger brought another lawsuit against the Doyle estate in an Illinois federal court claiming that the copyright laws governing the stories of Sherlock Holmes have expired bringing void the claimed rights of the estate that it alone is in control of the Holmes material.
This isn’t the first attempt from Klinger, who acted as an advisor for the Holmes films starring Robert Downey Jr., to upset the Doyle estate’s copyright apple cart. However, it would appear that this one just might be a win for Mr. Klinger since representatives for the estate failed to respond in a timely manner to the judgment. Their misstep has allowed Klinger to file a motion for summary judgment and it is expected that the federal judge will likely motion in favor of the Klinger lawsuit. What this means for the estate is a loss of control after decades of ensuring it had a say on how Doyle’s most famous character is portrayed in the public media and it will no longer be able to receive licensing revenue from anything Sherlock Holmes, be it video, film, TV, internet or the written page.
Stay with Slice of SciFi for updates to this case as they become available.