1. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Copyright and public domain

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by chicagoliz, Dec 28, 2013.

    Here's an interesting article about copyright. Sherlock Holmes was just deemed to be in the public domain. Although anything in a story about him after 1923 is not. The general characters, though, are. Seems like there may be an argument here for a longer extension of copyright, especially when an author uses characters over a series of books?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/12/27/a-judge-just-gave-an-elementary-lesson-on-copyright-to-the-owners-of-sherlock-holmes/
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I think copyright is long enough already. More than long enough, really. People should be free to use these older characters if they want to.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if no one could use doyle's characters, we'd be denied the brilliant turn given holmes by benedict cumberbatch [yes, that's they guy's actual name--he's english, which explains a lot] in the nifty 'sherlock' series on bbc... and the fun switch on both sherlock and 'dr watson' given us by jonny lee miller and the always exceptional lucy liu, in american tv's 'elementary'... both of which i immediately became addicted to, on first sight...

    oh, and i guess i have to add robert downey jr's hollywood-hamburgered-up versions, as well, though i can't include those in the same class as the classier incarnations noted above...
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Perhaps that's why the article has that big picture of him ;-)
    (Actually it was funny he was featured -- I haven't seen Holmes, but just yesterday we watched the latest Star Trek movie, and he plays Khan. I asked my husband who he was, and he did not know -- he looked him up, and had a similar reaction to the name. Then I saw his picture prominently displayed on this article.)

    The dispute was more about payment to the estate, rather than a prevention of using the characters. (Although that certainly could be an issue.) But it raises an interesting idea about characters in a series and varying expiration of copyright for different aspects of a storyline that might take place within the series. I agree in this instance, that it seems like all the Sherlock Holmes characters are so ubiquitous that it certainly *seems* like they should be in the public domain, and in fact, they are, due to this recent expiration of copyright. But I had not really considered the implications of parts of a story that would be reused. I don't know for certain what I think yet.
     
  5. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Britain does it again. :D
     

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