The New York Times reports on a case covered in my book, On Your Case: a federal appeals court handed a big victory to Leslie Klinger, an author who sued the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle and not only won, but can get his legal fees reimbursed. Klinger sued to challenge the estate’s position that Holmes was a copyright protected character, which meant that the estate could collect licensing fees from authors, like Klinger, who write about him. The court disagreed, held that Sherlock is in the public domain and called the estate’s demands for fees “a form of extortion.”
As the Times points out, this is one of many cases testing the limits of copyright law, which protects creators but can make it expensive to reuse their works. The fight over whether the song “Happy Birthday to You” is free for all, as almost everyone thinks, or still protected, as a subsidiary of Warner Music Group insists, continues, the Times reports.