1. Merlin
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    Merlin Member

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    Sherlock Holmes Questions

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Merlin, Feb 21, 2012.

    Hey all,

    Apologies in advance if this is in the wrong section, I was just briefly wondering about the following.

    Basically, my novel (YA Urban Fantasy), is set in a world where the characters of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series were real, Moriarty, Mycroft, Adler etc, but existed in the Victorian Era (obviously not within the Sherlock BBC era), and I was wondering if I would be able to use the characters in my story. They never actually appear, as it is set in the modern day setting, and follows the descendant of Mycroft (not Sherlock), on his adventures, and I was just wondering if this was legal or not. Would this be defined as a breach of copyright, do I have to contact the Conan-Doyle Estate, or do I not need to worry?

    I'm wondering this because although there's been several novels featuring Sherlock Holmes and the characters (Including, more recently, a Steampunk The Great Game by Lavie Tidhar (Angry Robot) - although Sherlock Holmes is only referenced by 'The Bee Keeper', and Mycroft and Irene Adler are the only major characters that, if I recall correctly, appear.

    Thanks for any and all answers that come my way. Also, please stay on topic, and don't insult me for ruining the Sherlock Holmes stories before you've even read my work.
     
  2. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    If it was in public domain, I think it would be okay. But I guess people aren't sure whether or not it is.

    If you've read published books that use Sherlock Holmes characters, maybe you could try contacting the authors and ask them what they had to go through? They might be busy, but they might give you a response if you rave about their books a little ;)
     
  3. Merlin
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    Merlin Member

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    Cool, thanks for the heads up. :). I'll give that a try.
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Sherlock Holmes was published in the late 1800s, which means it's probably been around long enough to be in the public domain now. But I'm not positive on this and you should check with an expert to be on the safe side. ;)
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I believe the Conan Doyle family still retains the rights to Sir Arthur's writing.
     

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