Supreme Court disinterest leaves Sherlock Holmes firmly in the public domain


After the US Supreme Court declined to hear the Conan Doyle estate's appeal in a case against author Leslie Klinger, the character of Sherlock Holmes has been firmly entrenched in the public domain.

The estate had wanted writer Leslie Klinger to pay a $5,000 license fee before a volume of new stories based on the Holmes character, famed for his genius IQ, deerstalker hat and cocaine habit, could be published.

The court's action means that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from June in Klinger's favor is the final word in the case. The appeals court held that the 50 Sherlock Holmes works published before 1923 are in the public domain as copyright protections have expired.

And across the world, slash fiction writers ready their Holmes/Watson manuscripts for self-publication.

Elementary, my dear Watson: U.S. court rejects Sherlock Holmes dispute [Reuters | Lawrence Hurley]