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Sherlock Holmes Finally In the Public Domain In the US

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the and-mycroft-is-even-older dept.

Books 207

ferrisoxide.com writes "As reported on the Australian ABC news website, film-makers in the US are finally free to work on Sherlock Holmes stories without paying a licencing free to the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle after a ruling by Judge Ruben Castillo. A quirk of U.S. copyright law kept 10 stories out of the public domain, on the basis that these stories were continuously developed. In his ruling Judge Castillo opined that only the "story elements" in the short stories published after 1923 were protected and that everything else in the Holmes canon was "free for public use" — including the characters of Holmes and Watson. Holmes scholar Leslie Klinger, who challenged the estate, celebrated the ruling. 'Sherlock Holmes belongs to the world,' Mr Klinger said in a statement posted on his Free Sherlock website. IANAL, but the ruling of Judge Castillo that "adopting Conan Doyle's position would be to extend impermissibly the copyright of certain character elements of Holmes and Watson beyond their statutory period," is surely going to have implications across U.S. copyright law. Mark Twain must be twisting and writhing in his grave."

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A bad remake is a foot! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45802797)

I smell a lot of vile and unsavory SyFy productions ramping up with this ruling.

"SyFy, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained."

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (2)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 9 months ago | (#45803079)

They already ruined Star Trek for me by casting Sherlock in the role of Khan, who looks nothing like the previous Punjabi-Mexican...

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803123)

What, no complaint about Buckaroo Banzai being cast as Admiral Marcus?

Re:A bad remake is a leg! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803161)

Hey now, Buckaroo Banzai is all kinds of cool.

Peter O'Toole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803253)

also played a character in a two-part episode of Enterprise:
Demons and Terra Prime, the next to the last episodes.

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (2)

Chas (5144) | about 9 months ago | (#45803883)

And the reason he failed?

No high stress watermelon apparatus!

As such, Rawhide loses a lung!

it is confusingly ironic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803287)

that in order to avoid making a 'punjabi-mexican' out to be the bad guy, they made an old, white man in power to be The Man and the current bad guy, while a genetically superior ultra-white man is the bad guy in waiting...

i liked the latest movie but i do miss Ricardo Montoban, not just as Khan but as your host on Fantasy Island.

Re:it is confusingly ironic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803327)

that in order to avoid making a 'punjabi-mexican' out to be the bad guy, they made an old, white man in power to be The Man and the current bad guy, while a genetically superior ultra-white man is the bad guy in waiting...

i liked the latest movie but i do miss Ricardo Montoban, not just as Khan but as your host on Fantasy Island.

Don't lie. You miss Tattoo the most.

No one could work an airport like he could. No one.

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803121)

Pretty sure that's a movie, not a foot.

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (1)

Panoptes (1041206) | about 9 months ago | (#45803305)

"A bad remake is afoot!" - corrected that for you.

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 9 months ago | (#45803153)

Perhaps they should be covered by some other means of protection so that the blood sucking scum called Hollywood can't piss all over great literary works. I shiver to think of the shit they will produce as a result of this,

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (5, Insightful)

narcc (412956) | about 9 months ago | (#45803263)

Er, the "the blood sucking scum called Hollywood" has already pissed all over Sherlock Holmes. I don't see how this changes anything.

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803233)

SyFy? Sherlock holmes?

That doesnt sound like ghost hunters or monster hunters or wrestling....

That's whats on syfy these days.

I alway wondered about the 'hunters' shows... Everyone on the planet now has a multi megapixel camera in their phone.
Yet all the monster hunting shows are shot with the most obsolete outdated camera they could find from the 80's and look like supreme shit.

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803541)

Yet all the monster hunting shows are shot with the most obsolete outdated camera they could find from the 80's and look like supreme shit.

It's amazing what you can do with Windows Media Maker

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803669)

Yet all the monster hunting shows are shot with the most obsolete outdated camera they could find from the 80's and look like supreme shit.

It's amazing what you can do with Windows Media Maker

It's amazing what you can do with iMovie. FTFY

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (3, Funny)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 9 months ago | (#45803297)

Finally, someone finds a great case for extending copyright.

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (4, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | about 9 months ago | (#45803357)

I believe Congress now has a first order of business when they next convene, to add another 20 years to copyright, retroactively applied of course. Because Doyle would never have written a word knowing his heirs would not be able to continue mooching off his work 3 generations later.

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (2)

drkim (1559875) | about 9 months ago | (#45803497)

Doyle would never have written a word knowing his heirs would not be able to continue mooching off his work 3 generations later.

Doyle was only making about £500 an installment.

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 9 months ago | (#45803687)

If the purchasers had known the work would eventually leave copyright protection, they would have paid less. Much less.

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (2)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 9 months ago | (#45803761)

Doyle would never have written a word knowing his heirs would not be able to continue mooching off his work 3 generations later.

Doyle was only making about £500 an installment.

Back then, a £ was worth $2.65 American or so. And in the 1890's, 1325 bucks was REAL MONEY

Re:A bad remake is a foot! (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 9 months ago | (#45803789)

And? I never understood why this so called "IP" deserves to be treated differently than regular property. Does Ford get a cut of every used Ford ever sold? Does Joe the carpenter get a cut every time a house he built changes hands for decades?

Of course not and that is because IP is bullshit and has given rise to "forever minus a single day" copyrights and to the wholesale theft of our public domain. Hell Doyle has been dead longer than most of us has been alive yet it is only coming out of copyright NOW? Copyrights were a contract between the artist and We,The People to gain a richer public domain while allowing the artist to make a living on his/her art. That contract is broken and until REAL reforms happen, such as ONLY the artist being allowed to hold their copyrights and for ONLY the length of time in the original law? Well like any other unjust law it should be disobeyed and ignored until We,The People get a seat at the negotiations again.

It might not be that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803579)

The fact he's based in L.A. and gets involved in relationships with scantily clad bimbos before racing through the streets in a souped up car whilst stuff explodes all around him as he chases the evil genius bent on world domination to a soundtrack of horrid bump 'n' grind download chart hits could be a groundbreaking advance in cinematic art.

Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45802807)

But of course US Law is World Law because the US rules the world by bombing the shit out of anyone who disagrees.

Re:Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish (1)

msauve (701917) | about 9 months ago | (#45802867)

Bombs are so old school. We have drones these days.

Re:Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45802941)

"Droning the shit out of the terrorists" just sounds wrong.

Re: Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish (4, Funny)

GTRacer (234395) | about 9 months ago | (#45802959)

Have you *heard* bagpipes played? Badly?

Re: Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803145)

Instruments of mass destruction.

Re: Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish (5, Insightful)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 9 months ago | (#45803169)

Have you *heard* bagpipes played? Badly?

Is there any other way?

Re: Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish (5, Insightful)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | about 9 months ago | (#45803601)

I've heard that the definition of a Scottish gentleman is one who knows how to play the bagpipes, but refrains from doing so.

Re:Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 9 months ago | (#45803203)

They paint them black and call them Reapers for a reason.

Re:Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish (2)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 9 months ago | (#45803765)

"Droning the shit out of the terrorists" just sounds wrong.

Don't watch CSpan much, do you?

Re:Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45802869)

Get use to it, faggot. What country you from? If Obamy isn't busy playing golf maybe he can fly a few drones your way.

Re:Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45802923)

No the US law applies because a Georgian Princess bought out the other English heirs of the Scottish author who then assigned it to Swiss to manage it.Later when the swiss started skimming off the top, she then sold the whole thing off.The person who purchased it was American but the estate was managed by another Swiss man. Due to a quirk in the US law, the british (dis)inherited tried to reclaim the property, but were conned by a texas lawyer who sent the notices to a non existent address in Switzerland instead of the correct address in US or Switzerland. So the ownership of the estate remains in the US. Hence US law applies.

I did not make any of this up [sherlockholmesonline.org] .

You did make it up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803019)

At least the conclusion. US law governs a copyright's enforceability in the US. How could it be any different?

Re:You did make it up (4, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#45803565)

US law governs a copyright's enforceability in the US. How could it be any different?

Because of international treaties; the Berne convention, among others.

Re:You did make it up (5, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 9 months ago | (#45803685)

No, according to US copyright law (17 USC 104(c)), the Berne Convention has no effect in the US.

And this isn't odd; copyright treaties are typically not self-executing. They obligate the various treaty states to enact domestic legislation that brings them into compliance with the treaty, but do not serve as copyright laws themselves. In addition, in the US, all treaties stand at an equal level with ordinary federal legislation, and a last-in-time rule dictates which trumps in the event of an irreconcilable conflict. This means that Congress is not bound to adhere to treaties, and can refuse to pass laws that treaties require, and can even pass laws that directly contradict the treaty. This may embarrass the executive branch, and may cause problems for the US in its foreign relations, but sometimes that's the way the cookie crumbles.

A fun example is WTO Dispute 160, the gist of which is that certain copyright exceptions in US copyright law violate our treaty obligations, a complaint was brought against the US by the Irish, the US lost the case, and we've never bothered to comply by changing our laws in the decade-plus since we lost.

Re:You did make it up (2)

swillden (191260) | about 9 months ago | (#45803689)

US law governs a copyright's enforceability in the US. How could it be any different?

Because of international treaties; the Berne convention, among others.

The Berne convention requires that signatories' copyright statutes meet some requirements for duration and scope of copyright, but it doesn't say that people in one country must apply the law from another country.

US copyright laws apply in the US, regardless of whether the copyright owner is US-based. Same for other countries; they each get to apply their own laws.

Re:You did make it up (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#45803751)

The Berne convention requires that signatories' copyright statutes meet some requirements for duration and scope of copyright, but it doesn't say that people in one country must apply the law from another country.

Look up the "rule of the shorter term."

Re:Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish (1, Informative)

ixuzus (2418046) | about 9 months ago | (#45803259)

replying to undo incorrect moderation

Re:Arthur Conan Doyle was Scottish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45802989)

No the USA is beholden to the all might buck, just as the rest of the word is. We only bomb the fuck out of peoples who are not beholden to money. My guess is that your country is also bought out. Why bomb people when you can offer unfair trade sanctions instead. All the US politicians are bought out by the PRC and foreign nationals, so you can't really say that it is the USA is world law anymore. The heads of all the major media copyright holders are in a real sense 'citizens of the world' They all have offshore accounts in other countries (perhaps yours). The USA is pretty much sunk at this point. Stop trying to make it out like it is big bad. Hell we can't keep illegal drug runners out of our country (because the politicians are making too much money off the trade). We are kind of like China back in the days when the British forced them to accept their opium trade. The USA has been sold. I am just glad there are still exist an 'axis of evil' where the good old fashioned conservative values and freedom may be found. If you live in one of these places you might face a drone strike but at least you will know you are free. If your countries law makers rigidly enforce copyright laws, it just means your country has also been bought out. In that respect we are brothers in slavery. Mammon is truly the God of this world.

I thought Conan Doyle was Irish.

My favorite Sherlock Holmes quote (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45802811)

"Watson, come here, I want you!".

Re:My favorite Sherlock Holmes quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45802863)

"Computer, Arch!"

You're surprised by the gay undertones? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45802891)

I thought that the subtle homosexual undertones throughout the entire series were well known. In fact, they play prominently at the start of the The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes [imdb.com] , a feature film from 1970. No, it's not a pornographic flic, but a comedic mystery directed by Billy Wilder that even features Christopher Lee.

In my personal view, however, there's nothing homosexual about Sherlock Holmes. Just because a man dislikes women, and prefers the company of another man, treating him as a life-long companion in work and play, even when at the Turkish baths, it does not mean that he's a homosexual. He might like to smoke a pole as much as he likes to smoke a pipe, but again, that does not make him a homosexual. It's perfectly normal and straight for two completely heterosexual males to touch one another's genitals. Just because two men love each other and form a bond stronger than steel it does not mean that they are gay.

Re:You're surprised by the gay undertones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803003)

Just because a man dislikes women, and prefers the company of another man, treating him as a life-long companion in work and play, even when at the Turkish baths, it does not mean that he's a homosexual. He might like to smoke a pole as much as he likes to smoke a pipe, but again, that does not make him a homosexual. It's perfectly normal and straight for two completely heterosexual males to touch one another's genitals. Just because two men love each other and form a bond stronger than steel it does not mean that they are gay.

The magic 8-ball says :

You have anal cancer.

Soon you won't be joking about any of your faggot behavior.

Soon you will be on your deathbed in a hospital.

Re:You're surprised by the gay undertones? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803099)

How is he going to get anal cancer if he's a heterosexual?

Re:You're surprised by the gay undertones? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803143)

From all those times your mom put on a strap-on and pegged him

Re:You're surprised by the gay undertones? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803155)

From your mom pegging him in the ass with a strap-on dildo

Re:You're surprised by the gay undertones? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 9 months ago | (#45803091)

They attempted to resolve the orientation question for conservative US audiences by casting Lucy Liu as Holmes in Elementary.

Re:You're surprised by the gay undertones? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 9 months ago | (#45803771)

They attempted to resolve the orientation question for conservative US audiences by casting Lucy Liu as Holmes in Elementary.

So what? Holmes still isn't banging Watson, even with the switchup.

Archive.org: MAME 0.151 ROMs (November 2013) 42.8G (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45802821)

Archive.org: MAME 0.151 ROMs (November 2013) 42.8GB zip/torrent

#

that's the jingle bell
that's the jingle bell
that's the jingle bell rock!

https://archive.org/details/MAME_0.151_ROMs [archive.org]
https://archive.org/download/MAME_0.151_ROMs/MAME_0.151_ROMs.zip [archive.org]

MAME 0.151 ROMs (November 2013)

MAME (an acronym of Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) is an emulator application designed to recreate the hardware of arcade game systems in software on modern personal computers and other platforms. The intention is to preserve gaming history by preventing vintage games from being lost or forgotten. The aim of MAME is to be a reference to the inner workings of the emulated arcade machines; the ability to actually play the games is considered "a nice side effect".

This item is part of the collection: MESS and MAME
https://archive.org/details/messmame [archive.org]

Identifier: MAME_0.151_ROMs
Date: 2013-11
Mediatype: software
Year: 2013
Publicdate: 2013-11-23 12:59:45
Addeddate: 2013-11-23 12:59:45
Language: English

#

Internet Archive releases hundreds of classic game console ROMs

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/12/internet-archive-releases-hundreds-of-classic-game-console-roms/ [arstechnica.com]

Re:Archive.org: MAME 0.151 ROMs (November 2013) 42 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803639)

You should submit that as a story [slashdot.org] .

Finally... (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about 9 months ago | (#45802853)

Disney will now be able to bring the stories of the the brothers Grimm [wikipedia.org] to the big screen, like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. No longer will our culture be stolen from us by dead people and uncreative "owners of intellectual property."

Re:Finally... (3, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 9 months ago | (#45803311)

What you can't use is any recent (re)translation or re-imagining or edition from [publisher].
That's the reason that "American Classics" keep getting new editions cranked out, even though the story hasn't changed in a century.

So while Disney doesn't own Snow White (or any of the other stories), they own their version.
The Disney version strays enough from the Brothers Grimm that Disney has claimed and received copyright and trademarks.
Of the two legal claims, Disney is vastly more likely to slaughter you with trademarks than copyrights.

Re:Finally... (2)

PRMan (959735) | about 9 months ago | (#45803335)

Cool. I'll get right on my new Mickey Mouse stories...

is Peter Pan next? (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 9 months ago | (#45802875)

both Scottish based.

Re:is Peter Pan next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45802931)

Peter Pan? AFAIK, homosexual pedophilia is illegal these days. Really, Tinker Belle is a fairy.

Re:is Peter Pan next? (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 9 months ago | (#45803013)

Peter Pan is a different story...
From the copyright page on the official website:

Copyright in the USA is governed by the Universal Copyright Convention, by which a publication enters the public domain 25 years after the author’s death – in Barrie’s case, 1962. However, it was agreed in 1971 that the Berne Convention should take priority over the UCC in countries signatory to both conventions, and therefore Barrie’s extended copyright [was] guaranteed until 2007 in the USA as well. In the UK, the situation is a little more complex with regard to the Peter Pan Gift in that the House [of] Lords passed a special resolution in 1988 via the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act, effectively granting the Great Ormond Street Hospital a perpetual extension to its right to royalties in the UK “in respect of the public performance, commercial publication or any other use of Peter Pan.”

Yes, in the UK they can do that. At least it's for a good cause (Pan royalties fund the hospital).

Re:is Peter Pan next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803635)

Just think, what if every hospital was funded by a perpetuity from royalties on a beloved children's franchise from a long dead author?

I honestly can't tell if that would be a good or bad thing.

But now he won't write anymore books! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45802935)

How can Sir Arthur Conan Doyle be incentivised to write more Sherlock Holmes books, if he can't enjoy exclusive rights to his works?!

Nooooooooooooooooo!

Re:But now he won't write anymore books! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803341)

How can Sir Arthur Conan Doyle be incentivised to write more Sherlock Holmes books, if he can't enjoy exclusive rights to his works?!

Nooooooooooooooooo!

Haha, yes how ironic that creativity must now be justified by greed extended over several lifetimes.

I'm sure the great-grand-trustifarians would appreciate that if the vacuum of narcissism surrounding them actually allowed it.

Better late than never, I guess (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 9 months ago | (#45802955)

Still, 90 years is an awfully long time... these copyrights should have reasonably expired several decades ago.

Re:Better late than never, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803039)

"Reasonable" has no place when the unreasonable have the money.

Re:Better late than never, I guess (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 9 months ago | (#45803781)

"Reasonable" has no place when the unreasonable have the more expensive l*wy*rs.

Fixed that for ya...

Re:Better late than never, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803193)

So now the mvie studios will pounce on this like a wounded pigeon in the cat cage of the local animal shelter.... and THEIR (holy) results will be (C) until Doomsday (plus one millenium). The entire world is very very tired of America and its antics.

Re:Better late than never, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803353)

The entire world is very very tired of America and its antics.

You can fix this particular case by not watching our movies.

THEIR (holy) results will be (C) until Doomsday (plus one millenium)

However, you can still ignore the USSA and derive your own movies from the original.

A correction: (1, Funny)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 9 months ago | (#45802977)

Holmes scholar Leslie Klinger, who challenged the estate, celebrated the ruling.

Holmes scholar Leslie Klinger, who challenged the SCUM SUCKING PARASITE LAWYERS AND WORTHLESS TWATWAFFLE DESCENDENTS OF DOYLE, celebrated the ruling.

TFTFY

Re:A correction: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803073)

I don't know the specifics of the Sherlock Holmes copyright controversy, but authors (and by extension, some of their heirs; yes not all of them are purely driven by money) tend to be protective of their creations. They don't necessarily like the idea of anyone coming up with new adventures of Sherlock Holmes, some of which may be badly thought out and create confusion, for instance. If people want to create more stories in that vein, why don't they come up with their own characters and plots, even if there is an obvious similarity to Holmes and Watson? If I have an urge to compose Viennese classical music in the style of Mozart, is it parasitic to legally prevent me from calling my new creations "Mozart symphonies"?

I know that Charles M. Schulz, creator of the Peanuts cartoon strip, had it written into his contract with King Features than nobody would continue the strip after he died.

Trademark as ersatz copyright (2)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45803159)

You're thinking trademark. In the United States, it appears per Dastar v. Fox that a trademark cannot be used to extend the term of an expired copyright. It might be different in Canada, given what I've read about Anne of Green Gables.

Re:A correction: (2)

DirePickle (796986) | about 9 months ago | (#45803363)

I think that at some point society becomes inseparable from the creative works that influence it. A culture becomes so suffused with references and allusions to novels, music, movies, that they become almost essential knowledge. At that point (and this is what the expiration of copyright is supposed to enforce), the rights ought to go to the public. This concept where copyright could last for 90 years is a pretty new one. It was supposed to be much shorter.

Today's myths and legends and fairy tales and other cultural keystones were someone's creative "property," once, and it would be bizarre if one were, say, prevented from reinterpreting King Arthur, Robin Hood, Beowulf, Shakespeare, the Bible, the Iliad, etc. etc. Some things from a century and less ago like Holmes, Cthulhu, Superman, Mickey Mouse, and so on could be argued to be getting pretty close to a level like that.

Shocked (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#45802991)

From a the NYT [nytimes.com] :

Chief Judge Rubén Castillo of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, stated that elements introduced in Holmes stories published after 1923 — such as the fact that Watson played rugby for Blackheath, or had a second wife — remain under copyright in the United States.

I'm pretty sure Sherlock Holmes is gay. I was on tumblr the other day...

Re:Shocked (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803061)

From a the NYT [nytimes.com] :

Chief Judge Rubén Castillo of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, stated that elements introduced in Holmes stories published after 1923 — such as the fact that Watson played rugby for Blackheath, or had a second wife — remain under copyright in the United States.

I'm pretty sure Sherlock Holmes is gay. I was on tumblr the other day...

does that mean we can't say no shit sherlock anymore

Couple of Cases for Sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803005)

Decision text (4, Informative)

Flamerule (467257) | about 9 months ago | (#45803031)

There's a slightly more detailed story posted on the plaintiff's website [free-sherlock.com] . They're also hosting a copy of the full decision [wordpress.com] from Judge Castillo, of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Re: Decision text (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803141)

OMG, the decision says nothing like what's reported. First, it pertains only to this one guy, not film makers. Second, it says the stuff in the public domain is in the public domain, and the stuff that isn't, isn't. The Court didn't even see the material, so how can all these story authors, etc, have any idea what's permissible and isn't? This is shockingly bad journalism. Maybe next time we should wait for an IP lawyer's account- maybe even one who has read the decision

On Twain... (3, Insightful)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 9 months ago | (#45803049)

Reports of Mark Twain twisting and writhing in his grave have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, the late Mr. Twain has been quite immobile since the most recent reports of his death.

Guy's probably dead anyway. (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#45803055)

The Mark Twain article reproduces a 100 year old NTY microfiche where somebody corrected a spelling incorrectly.

Don't call me a spelling Nazi because it was 25 years before that.

Wrong about open to everyone (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803071)

Even if I'm just cleaning the toilets at a major film studio, there's no way I let a license-free Sherlock get going on the basis of this suit. Any first year law students care to explain res judicata to the masses here? Or that declaratory judgment proceedings don't necessarily mean fully litigated due to the positions of the parties?

sigh (3, Funny)

bigdavex (155746) | about 9 months ago | (#45803117)

Great, now he'll never write any more.

Hitler must be pissed (4, Interesting)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 9 months ago | (#45803131)

Sherlock Holmes --- an imaginary character --- has more rights than real people.

Hitler, Albert Einstein and Elvis make frequent cameos in media and often star in YouTube videos, having no rights because they are *REAL* people.

But Mickey Mouse and Sherlock Holmes and Barbie have more rights as imaginary characters.

Curious legal system we have. Feel free to use Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter or Richard Nixon (hello Futurama!) in a story ... it's just bizarre!!!

Re:Hitler must be pissed (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 9 months ago | (#45803183)

I am not sure what you find bizarre here. Why would you think real people should be covered by copyright protection? the characters have no rights, the owners of the art have the rights, i.e. real people.

Re:Hitler must be pissed (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 9 months ago | (#45803289)

So where would you fit the typical psuedo celebrity whose public image is an imaginary work created by public relations (PR=B$) specialist who crafted it to market and promote crappy products. Are they a person or an imaginary caricature of a person.

Oddly enough to in order to gain copyright protections in court for those fake caricature of psuedo celebrities, the public relations types would have to prove what kind of narcissistic arse holes the typical pseudo celebrity really is versus the crafted public image (of course destroying the value of the crafted image). So thing many a psuedo celebrity has managed to do on their own, when their ego starts make them ignore their public relations handlers.

Re:Hitler must be pissed (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 9 months ago | (#45803309)

Generally it comes under trade mark protection and protection against false endorsements.

Re:Hitler must be pissed (1)

lxs (131946) | about 9 months ago | (#45803681)

There's a thing called portrait rights although according to Wiki it's officially called personality rights in the English speaking world (or at least where the editor lives).

Re:Hitler must be pissed (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | about 9 months ago | (#45803227)

In many cases you are not free to do this, as celebrities and their likenesses are trademarked and highly regulated. I imagine if you tried to use Ronald Reagan in any significant way in a novel or artwork you'd hear from his estate. Unless it was fair use or parody, and then you have a lot more flexibility.

Re:Hitler must be pissed (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 9 months ago | (#45803813)

In many cases you are not free to do this, as celebrities and their likenesses are trademarked and highly regulated. I imagine if you tried to use Ronald Reagan in any significant way in a novel or artwork you'd hear from his estate. Unless it was fair use or parody, and then you have a lot more flexibility.

I'm thinking that's unfair. After all, when Ronnie Raygun did his last acting job, that of El Presidente, he sure used us unfairly. We're still paying down the debt he saddled us with, and we haven't seen a cent of teh 1.5 TRILLION he looted from Social Security to pay for Star Wars.

Re:Hitler must be pissed (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 9 months ago | (#45803455)

Sherlock Holmes --- an imaginary character --- has more rights than real people.

Not really. Though imaginary characters' rights most likely last for longer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personality_rights [wikipedia.org]

Hitler, Albert Einstein and Elvis make frequent cameos in media and often star in YouTube videos, having no rights because they are *REAL* people.

I know Einstein & Elvis' estates are litigious, but I couldn't say for sure about Hitler's estate.
They almost exclusively go after people who don't get a license to use the image for *commercial* purposes.

Re:Hitler must be pissed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803649)

Reportedly, Hitler's closest living relatives live in constant fear of being publicly identified. They also live on Long Island.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/1348850/Hitlers-lost-relatives-found-on-Long-Island-in-terror-of-identification.html

I'd venture a guess that they would be more likely to sue to disclaim any inheritance (provided that they can prevent the court records from being made public).

Oh wonderful FILM MAKERS are free (1)

MXB2001 (3023413) | about 9 months ago | (#45803157)

Now we get more crap like Peter Jackson's take on Tolkien but for Holmes. (rolls eyes peevishly)

NO SHIT SHERLOCK !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803177)

Free at last !!

Whatever happened to Granada Holmes ?? A&E would rather Duck Dynasty is what happened !! Tell me poeple am I going insane ??

Granada Television (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803721)

You can buy the DVD set of Sherlock Holmes episodes produced by Granada Television. You can also watch the episodes on YouTube. In my opinion, Jeremy Brett portrayed Sherlock Holmes in the manner in which I always imagined the character when I read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works about Sherlock Holmes.

I'm confused... (5, Interesting)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 9 months ago | (#45803299)

Doyle has been dead since 1930. That means that Sherlock Holmes has been in the public domain in Scotland since 2000. If something is PD in the country of origin, it is PD to all Berne signatories. That's part of how the CTEA was sold to the US public, as our authors would be 'disadvantaged' if we kept a shorter term.

Clemens and Copyright (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 9 months ago | (#45803317)

There's no grave gymnastics to be had here. Clemens had planned to add to his stories over time, so that people would want to preferentially purchase his editions over the free-culture versions. He didn't want to sit on his laurels while jackbooted thugs ensured him a rent-seeking income - he was, after all, a writer.

Today, those against the Copyright regime frequently propose similar strategies.

Re:Clemens and Copyright (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 9 months ago | (#45803421)

copyright has been a problem for a least 400 years since an unauthorised sequel to Cervantes.

70 years sounds about right but I do wish Hollywood would stop remaking films from 30 years ago and create some new material.

Re:Clemens and Copyright (3, Interesting)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | about 9 months ago | (#45803513)

You got an extra zero in there, right? As in 7 years sounds about right?

I know some authors protest that seven years is too long, and the majority of income is made in the first three years and after five it would be advantageous to have the works available in the public domain (but the publishers don't want the competition from previously released works), but I think that varies from author to author, so doing a compromise of seven seems reasonable - we can experiment with shortening it further after having seen what happen when we cut it to seven.

Re:Clemens and Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803603)

70 years is 3 generations ffs! Based on life expectancy, I will never see anything created in my lifetime move to the public domain. If I can't find and legally purchase an unpopular song 50 years after it was made, I can't ever show it to my grandkids to see if they like it too.

The Law was never in any doubt but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803467)

we all know had Holmes been the intellectual 'property' of Disney, the Law would simply be changed by US politicians with large cheques from Disney Inc in their back-pockets. In the UK, a 'Jimmy Savile' style clique of music celebs that have always kept close relationships with UK politicians, easily won massive extensions to copyright periods covering their recordings, against the wishes of almost the entire UK public.

There is no democracy in any meaningful sense of the word in either the UK or USA. Those that pay-off the politicians (often with surprisingly small amounts) get to make the Laws. The People, on the other hand, are just the smelly, cretinous, hopeless, forgettable scum to all major politicians, brain-dead scum who are easily convinced to 'vote' for either face of the same beast every five years or so.

This is a lesson in respect. Sheeple get no respect because, to the politicians, they literally do nothing to earn respect. And when the politicians' celeb chums ask for anything, even if their wishes require p*ssing on the public from a great height, the politicians say "consider it done".

But, as I said at the top, as for the existing law, well despite the 'best' advice from the usual legal suspects, the existing Law cannot be gamed with nonsense about ongoing changes to character. These copyright laws were NEVER about 'orphan works' untouched for years by potential owners. These laws are about ALL works, including works actively published up the the last date of their copyright protected period.

PS in Europe, a decade back or so, powerful European IP lawyers tried to claim things like the Mona Lisa were still under copyright, and that use of images derived from ANY art (regardless of age) owned by the RICH in the EU had to happen with the permission of the owner. Dishonest lawyers working for scummy companies and estates, trying it on, is nothing new.

Gotta love the US legal system (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | about 9 months ago | (#45803485)

I guess this means a US court will bravely stand up to bring Mickey Mouse into the public domain somewhere around 3500 AD.

Re:Gotta love the US legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45803617)

But if they unfreeze Walt's head in 3450, what incentive would he have to write more childhood classics like Cinderella, Robin Hood or Snow White?

Re:Gotta love the US legal system (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 9 months ago | (#45803827)

I guess this means a US court will bravely stand up to bring Mickey Mouse into the public domain somewhere around 3500 AD.

Wouldn't count on it that soon. When the Sun explodes, the only thing that will survive are the roaches and Disney copyrights.

Donald Duck, here we come - a few more years (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 9 months ago | (#45803741)

Hmmm. A Donald Duck pr0n version?

Wait, a pr0n version of Sherlock and Wa..., err, John Holmes? A century worth of speculations is over?

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