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Mystery Solved: Holmes Not Under Copyright, 7th Circ. Says

Law360, New York (June 16, 2014, 6:58 PM EDT) -- The Seventh Circuit on Monday ruled that Arthur Conan Doyle's character of Sherlock Holmes was almost entirely in the copyright public domain, striking down a bid by the author's estate to extend control of the famed detective that Judge Richard Posner called “quixotic.”

Most of the Holmes stories were published prior to 1923 and are in the public domain, but the estate pushed a novel argument in an effort to retain control: that character traits developed in 10 still-protected post-1923 short stories meant the character wasn't...
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Case Information

Case Title

Leslie Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd.

Case Number



Appellate - 7th Circuit

Nature of Suit

3890 Other Statutory Actions

Date Filed

January 22, 2014

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