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Old 01-22-2010, 01:00 PM   #1
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Fascinating NYT article on Sherlock Holmes copyright

For those interested in copyright issues (who of us are not???) here's a great article from the New York Times about the muddled history of the copyrights on "Sherlock Holmes":

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/books/19sherlock.html

Guaranteed to leave you angry at the "Copyright Lords" once again....

Where's balance? Where's reason? Where's Waldo? (Oops, got carried away...)
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:08 PM   #2
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Ooooo, thanks for this. Copyright is always such a muddle at times, I'm definitly going to read this.

Cheers!
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Old 01-22-2010, 03:13 PM   #3
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Mr. Lellenberg said that Sherlock Holmes remains under copyright protection in the United States through 2023
Hands up everyone who thinks that we'll get to 2023 without them extending copyrights again?
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:27 PM   #4
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Hands up everyone who thinks that we'll get to 2023 without them extending copyrights again?
Why am I not seeing any raised hands? (Of course mine isn't raised either, but I know why that is.)
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:29 PM   #5
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Why am I not seeing any raised hands? (Of course mine isn't raised either, but I know why that is.)
You didn't see my raised finger???? (Two fingers for our British commonwealth friends...)
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:33 PM   #6
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You didn't see my raised finger???? (Two fingers for our British commonwealth friends...)
Well, that's just rude
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:34 PM   #7
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Reads like a case for Holmes & Watson themselves. Copyright has always done my head in and this is no different
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:38 PM   #8
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For those interested in copyright issues (who of us are not???) here's a great article from the New York Times about the muddled history of the copyrights on "Sherlock Holmes":

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/books/19sherlock.html

Guaranteed to leave you angry at the "Copyright Lords" once again....

Where's balance? Where's reason? Where's Waldo? (Oops, got carried away...)

Where's the truth? The stories, up to 1923 are P.D. in the US. The entire canon is P.D. in Life + 70 and Life + 50. Trademarking of the Characters have been denied. Just what does the guy claim to own?
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward View Post
Where's the truth? The stories, up to 1923 are P.D. in the US. The entire canon is P.D. in Life + 70 and Life + 50. Trademarking of the Characters have been denied. Just what does the guy claim to own?
That, my dear Watson, is the question.
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:42 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward View Post
Where's the truth? The stories, up to 1923 are P.D. in the US. The entire canon is P.D. in Life + 70 and Life + 50. Trademarking of the Characters have been denied. Just what does the guy claim to own?
Maybe the iconic images? Although I'm of the opinion they came from the films but they *were* described in the books.

And I salute your raised (hand). Exactly my sentiments towards extending copyright periods. (I do support copyrights, just so you know-I just don't support infinite copyrights. I'm open to discussion of what the period should be, but anything longer than 50 years just doesn't seem reasonable to me.)
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:49 PM   #11
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While I'm all for authors receiving their just rewards, it angers me immensely to see descendants skimming off royalties without performing an ounce of work, these people need to get off their asses and earn their living like the rest of us.

I, too, am confused as to why copyright should even be an issue with Sherlock Holmes, the article certainly did nothing to explain what rights these greedy bums are fighting over.
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:59 PM   #12
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While I'm all for authors receiving their just rewards, it angers me immensely to see descendants skimming off royalties without performing an ounce of work, these people need to get off their asses and earn their living like the rest of us.

I, too, am confused as to why copyright should even be an issue with Sherlock Holmes, the article certainly did nothing to explain what rights these greedy bums are fighting over.
To a certain extent, you're right-but taken to extremes this essentially invalidates the entire principle of inheritance-and even casts doubt on the idea of gifts.

Basically, isn't a person entitled to leave something to his/her heirs? You can argue that the author can leave whatever's earned during his/her lifetime, but what if that lifetime is cut short? Check out when the author of Confederacy of Dunces died vs when his book was published. (Possible a bad example as, IIRC, the author's heir was his mother. But the principle is still valid. An author can die before realizing anything from his work.)

that's why I prefer a set time. Or maybe a combination, but then it should be something like '50 years or life of author, whichever is longer'.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:17 PM   #13
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Not bad for an Inspector Dupin rip-off, huh?

Just kidding, I love Holmes even if Doyle borrowed from Poe a little... But that is a pretty ridiculous tale of copyright maneuvering.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:49 PM   #14
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Here is an idea, if you are a descendant and you want to profit off your famous dead relative, write a book about them and their work. Then *your* book will be under copyright and you can profit from it all you want.
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:45 PM   #15
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Here is an idea, if you are a descendant and you want to profit off your famous dead relative, write a book about them and their work. Then *your* book will be under copyright and you can profit from it all you want.
You don't even have to write it, just get some ghost-writer to do the leg work and slap your name on there, doesn't even matter if you're a grand-daughter. *cough* Stoker *cough* Barring all that you could just be the son of one of the world's biggest selling authors, use a well established and known by everybody in the business pseudonym, get published and live the rest of your life thinking that you did it all through merit and it had nothing, nothing at all to do with your famous writer father. *cough*Hill *cough* Third option is to have an influential Scientologist father who....well, you can figure out who I'm talking about with that one easily enough.
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