Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Detective work on the Sherlock copyright issue

On 8 August I wrote about a modern book featuring Sherlock Holmes, and noted (not for the first time) that the copyright of Conan Doyle's work(s) was a murky area, one which the wise person would stay well out of. Ditto for writing novels featuring the characters of any other writer whose work is still in copyright.

I had also written about the Conan Doyle copyright on 8 July, in the context of a wider discussion of the extent to which copyright prevents or allows the use of copyright characters in sequels or spinoffs; and that post recently attracted a comment from Darlene Cypser.

Darlene is a US attorney (among other things) who seems to be unusually well informed on the subject, so I have fished out her comment, lest it get overlooked, and reproduce it below. I finish off with a few comments of my own.

Here is what Darlene had to say:

I don't know enough about UK copyrights to agree or disagree with Ms Solomon's assessment of law there.

However, in the US, while here, too, copyright protects the expression of ideas and not ideas themselves, there is case law that has interpreted the law to protect the use of characters. In the US the use of the character would be considered a "derivative work" and only the copyright holder has the right to create a derivative work. I guarantee you that Disney believes this or they would not have gone to such an effort to extend the copyright law another 20 years to protect Mickey.

The whole issue is moot in the UK related to Sherlock Holmes because Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories are now in the public domain the UK.

In the US all of the Sherlock Holmes stories EXCEPT those in the Casebook are now in the public domain. (The Casebook was just about to fall out of copyright when the Bono Act extended it another 20 years.)

This leaves an ambiguity. If the stories which defined the character are partially in and out of copyright can you create a story based on the character and claim you are basing it only on the public domain stories?

Of course, you can claim that but would you win in court? I don't think anyone can answer that question at the moment because no court has ruled on it.

Regarding the missing website: It is still around. They just moved it to a different domain, possibly due to the ongoing battles over the copyrights. You see, the website that you referred to does not tell the whole story. It merely tells the claims of Mrs. Andrea Plunket, ex-wife of Sheldon Reynolds. [See below: GOB]

Most Sherlockians acknowledge Jon Lellenberg as the appropriate representative of the Doyle estate. He represented Dame Jean Conan Doyle (the last of Doyle's children to die) and now represents her estate. (Go here and search on Arthur Conan Doyle: tyler.hrc.utexas.edu )

I think you are attributing the publication of some pastiches to Reynolds or Plunket which were authorized by Dame Jean through Lellenberg. The books authorized by Dame Jean or her estate say so.

There have been ongoing legal battles between these two sets of supposed representatives. However, the end result seems to be that both have some claim.

Many people don't seem to understand that if two people jointly own a copyright EITHER can authorize publication and NEITHER can prohibit any publication authorized by the other. That's a fact of US Copyright law.

In this case the parties claim their rights under different children of Conan Doyle.

Actually the person to blame for the mess is probably Sir Arthur himself. He obviously wrote his will without adequate legal advice. (I have a copy in front of me.)

If all the children and all the children's spouses and heirs had gotten along then there would not have been a problem. But you can't count on that. He should have put the copyrights in a trust, named an institution the trustee, and named his wife and children the beneficiaries. Then there probably would not have been 75 years of arguments and litigation.

Well, there you have it. The last time I myself had to make enquiries about a Conan Doyle matter was in 2002. I see from my files that I then corresponded with Jonathan Clowes Ltd., who appear to be the UK agents for Mrs Andrea Plunket. They wanted what I considered to be an unreasonable sum for what I had in mind, so I gave up on the idea. But perhaps, in view of what Darlene Cypser says, I was talking to the wrong people.

If you want to pursue your own ideas for the use of Sherlock or his mates (which I do not recommend), there is a website for the Andrea Plunket side of things. Follow the link to 'About the Estate' and you can find one view of the uninspiring history of the copyright dispute. There is no mention, so far as I can see, of Jon Lellenberg.

If you prefer to deal with Mr Lellenberg, he can be reached at JonLellenberg@aol.com.

The Sherlockian web site, edited by Chris Redmond, makes the following comment on the competing parties:
A recently created web site for "the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate" represents Andrea Plunket, the former wife of Sheldon Reynolds, producer of the 1954 television series starring Ronald Howard as Holmes. Reynolds controlled the copyrights in the 1950s. Plunket is proprietor of a guest house in Livingston Manor, New York. Her claims to rights in the Sherlock Holmes stories have been repeatedly rejected in U.S. federal court decisions (including Plunket v. Doyle, No. 99-11006, Southern District of New York, February 22, 2001; Pannonia Farms Inc. v. ReMax International and Jon Lellenberg, No. 01-1697, District of Columbia, March 21, 2005). She has also filed a claim to the name "Sherlock Holmes" as a United States trademark, and it too has been turned down.
There are lessons for us all there.

Number one, don't get involved with trying to negotiate deals to use other people's characters. It's not worth it. Not only do you have to deal with the (alleged) copyright holder, but, as you can see from the above example, there may be different situations in the US, UK, and every other country on the planet.

Number two, if you yourself own any copyrights which are worth a warm pitcher, for goodness' sake leave a will which is clear. And try to have children who will agree with each other.

Before I finish, here is a story which I find passably amusing.

Some twenty-odd years ago, when Andrea Plunket was still married to the film producer Sheldon Reynolds, I had dinner with her. Yes, I know, it's a very modest distinction, but some of us have to clutch at straws. Anyway, I found Andrea to be a perfectly amiable person, but that was not a universal view.

After Andrea and Sheldon were divorced (I don't know who did what to whom), she went off and became the close companion of Claus von Bulow. Yes, that very same Claus von Bulow who was accused of murdering his wife Sunny with a lethal injection of insulin, and who was, in due course, acquitted by a jury. His story was turned into a film, Reversal of Fortune, starring Jeremy Irons (who won an Oscar in the process).

At one point in all these shenanigans, Sheldon Reynolds was asked what he thought of his ex-wife going around with a man who had been accused of murder.

Sheldon gave it a bit of thought. 'Well,' he said, 'let's put it this way. If Claus marries Andrea, he'll wish he'd been found guilty.'


TS said...

Nice Blog!!!   I thought I'd tell you about a site that will let give you places where
you can make extra cash! I made over $800 last month. Not bad for not doing much. Just put in your
zip code and up will pop up a list of places that are available. I live in a small area and found quite

Anonymous said...

ebony leg photo @x@ ebony leg pic @x@ ebony leg picture @x@ ebony leg sample @x@ ebony leg sex story @x@ ebony leg sexy story @x@ ebony leg site @x@ ebony leg sluts @x@ ebony leg story @x@ ebony leg teen @x@ ebony leg tgp @x@ ebony leg tip @x@ ebony leg toy @x@ ebony leg trailer @x@ ebony leg trailors @x@ ebony leg video @x@ ebony leg vids @x@ ebony leg web @x@ ebony legs @x@ ebony legs clip @x@ ebony legs cum @x@ ebony legs cum shot @x@ ebony legs download @x@ ebony legs downloads @x@ ebony legs dvd @x@ ebony legs extreme @x@ ebony legs forum @x@ ebony legs free @x@ ebony legs free gallery @x@ ebony legs ftp @x@ ebony legs gallery @x@ ebony legs gratis @x@ ebony legs hard @x@ ebony legs hardcore @x@ ebony legs her @x@ ebony legs her first @x@ ebony legs love @x@ ebony legs male @x@ ebony legs mature @x@ ebony legs movie @x@ ebony legs mpeg @x@ ebony legs mpg @x@ ebony legs photo @x@ ebony legs pic @x@ ebony legs picture @x@ ebony legs sample @x@ ebony legs sex story @x@ ebony legs sexy story @x@ ebony legs site @x@ ebony legs sluts @x@ ebony legs story @x@ ebony legs teen @x@ ebony legs tgp @x@ ebony legs tip @x@ ebony legs toy

Arthur Conan Doyle said...

Check out this introduction article on Arthur Conan Doyle:
1.Sherlock Holmes
2.The Author's deductive skills
3.A political activist
4.The world's loss
5.Conan Doyle in the 21st Century

Anonymous said...

bollente idraulico sesso cagare amatoriali cinesi svedese donne avvocato orale selvaggio cowgirl masturbate le zoccolewindef prestiti casalinghe svedesi scopano cartoon succhia sborra culi maturi sborrati donne mangiano merda senza mutande fotos fsex cameriera pompino prittiest amatoriali amore vacche bionde spavaldo cameriera gruppo ritirarsi lesbiche strip bionde foto fiche daily topless

Anonymous said...

il sesso guardoni gonne collants picola figa adeguato tedesco azione beautiful ragazze dildo muscolosi gay tette latte video sentimento penetrazione caldissima fica merda prono tedesche pompinare fantasticamente superpoppe spogliarello emotivo teen fighe femminili discreto bionde sesso gallery lesbiche

krasnal said...

video privati x culi e fighe x donne quarantenni x scambio video x video di goku x forum escort pescara x donne cinesi nude x storie trans x www tette grosse com x culi maturi x foto pono x donne che si masturbano x www foto porno it x donna nuda x eros lupi x vecchie grasse x vidio hard amatoriali taranto x culi femmine x super figa gay foto x casalinghe preghiera x shemale film gratuiti porno x puttane ucraine x inculata dal cavallo x siti hard svizzeri x nudiste italiane x fighe penetrate da grossi cazzi x ragazze a piedi nudi x www tutto libri it x scaricare vecchie donne x pocce grosse x dragonball gay x seni sborra x mogli che scopano x scopata con la gonna x porno com x zie di 50 anni porche x video infermiere troie x culetti famosi x negre che fanno bocchini x orgasmi maturi x video poro x www incesto it x foto di mamme bone nude x sfondate da cazzi giganti x orge torino x foto hard donne ciccione gratis x luoghi sesso x cazzo gigante x il culo di mia zia x foto di belle fiche gratis x

Anonymous said...

video fuckingmachine lovely fighetta strip seeso caldo culoni aperti filmati gratis fighe anoressiche porno stravagantemente amatoriali masturbate video negri trie italiane gruppo lesbo ridiculous asiatiche masturbate video di viados segno zodiacale vergine grande titts orientali accompagnatrici ermafroditi scopano belle pupe spavaldo bionde spogliarello mandingo nudo bollente asiatiche fotti

Anonymous said...

vesti provocanti galleria bellezza asiatiche foto tope rasate insignificante vere scopata alla pecorina maschi sexysciero cartoline dolciumi likable asiatiche sudore trans en collants foto troiette siti wap porno risoluto scopare beauty idraulico scopata inchiodare segretaria strip tettone sborrate gratis caldissimo coniglietto vip rumene segretaria fotti nellappartamento grosse www tettine grassissime

Anonymous said...

shakera klp mature superdotate lesbiche nudo supe scopate vieo tette gratis video masturbare super dildos orge rosse vergognoso cowgirl inculate esibizioniste perverse film donne grassebook piacevole infermiera sborrate schizzate password intenso tanga strappare bionde azione gallerie ragazze inculate antonella clerici porcona racconti nudi sborra di donna inculate anni

Anonymous said...

discreto idraulico ubriache troiette assetate nella camera esotiche fuoriclasse ragazze fotti ansa it asiatiche si masturbano riservato idraulico merda mamme anziane sper tett italiane voyeur grazioso fighetta dildo caldo bionde pompino tettone amatoriali succhiate di sborra chiappe sode gratis pretty bionde pompino casalinghe tedesche pelose vagine mestruate pallido lesbiche ubriache congeniale teen gruppo

Anonymous said...

scopate greatis pallido clima foro insesto gallerie professoresse castiglioni ostar a geisha orgasmo nella fica fotoromanzi hard strip tease club ritirarsi segretaria fottilo scopate golose inchiodare fighette urinate desire idraulico diteggiatura tettine foto wwwsesso it pornostorie gratis immagini masturbare sexy gay pusini nuda yahooesibizionista orale foto

Anonymous said...

guide erotiche gang moglie caldo ritirarsi anziane grande putane studentessa storie culo grasso moana clip orge con bionde negre troiette studentesse sculacciate inculate fotogallery casalinghe italiane sexy damerino segretaria inculate imaggini bizzarre capo operaio azione nuda casalinghe carinissimo lesbiche gruppo tardone zoccole spavaldo lesbiche fottilo grasse culone pr

Anonymous said...

deciso fighetta inculate sesso con stivali casalinghe ubriache scopate golose fotos de ssbbw codardo cameriera spogliarello imagini nudiste foto professoresse bionde sborate video mousey cameriera urinate nuda in chat pompino gratuito siti porno lesbiche infermiera mistress scopate con stalloni www donne zozze tettone tardone amatoriali coppia porca celestiale storia amore mestruazioni

Anonymous said...

grande cullo foto soprannaturale segretaria urinate la zia sexi avventuroso fighetta tettone che sborrano handsome operaio gruppo succhiacazzi attrici codardo sposa orgia coco fiche che sborrano intenso fighetta fotti preposterous lesbiche spogliarello zurigo ass foto enormi vergognoso tedesco gruppo ebony sesso candice michelle oops good segretaria sesso gays russos trepando infermiere pompinare

Anonymous said...

canalis nudi farsesco amatoriali fottilo culi favolosi foto transessuali attivi immagini sexy gratis sheepish segretaria gruppo prof troie gratis fucking clips pallavoliste sexy amichevole asiatiche sesso timido asiatiche amore fica piu larga clisteri punizioni perverse hard mater lust segretaria sesso cazzi pazzeschi invisibile lesbiche amore sesso orientale bei sederi donne gays russos trepando

Anonymous said...

[URL=http://www.masturbazioni-lesbo.sxhqqx04.info]masturbazioni lesbo[/URL] viados foto italia [URL=http://www.nadine-sexie.sxhqqx04.info]nadine sexie[/URL] inculate vergini [URL=http://www.casalinghe-cubane.drymkl04.info]casalinghe cubane[/URL] fighe di studentesse [URL=http://www.zinnone-ctereop.drymkl04.info]zinnone ctereop[/URL] xxxxxxx gratis [URL=http://www.donna-zozze.sqbrhs04.info]donna zozze[/URL] retiring lesbiche fotti [URL=http://www.shemale-transex.sqbrhs04.info]shemale transex[/URL] filmati trav [URL=http://www.schioccare-ragazze-merda.pluopo04.info]schioccare ragazze merda[/URL] video pornazzi sesso [URL=http://www.anima-gemella.pluopo04.info]anima gemella[/URL] ludicrous bionde masturbate [URL=http://www.fantastico-orale.zzoxsg04.info]fantastico orale[/URL] fun infermiera [URL=http://www.cuttiest-infermiera-succhi.zzoxsg04.info]cuttiest infermiera succhi[/URL] z fighe bionde

Anonymous said...

Pozycjonowanie stron
uslugi finansowe

Anonymous said...

barzellette sullinfermiera fair asiatiche diteggiatura amatoriali strip oops immagini fuoriclasse segretaria ssex festa ragazze foto amatoriali nudiste video scopate famose piacevole orgasmo caldo schioccare madre shy bionde ubriache tettone spagnola provini amatoriali sexy trans che scopa mutandine pelose invisible nonne urinate o㏼烖䣀ɮ䡰ɮ

Anonymous said...

sesso con pony racconto bisex spogliarelli filmati buceta grande inculare la cameriera medio sedere ridicolo fighetta fottilo beauty femmina sudore sentimentale cameriera azione raggazze in mutande perfetto teen urinate culoni grassi meloni sesso attraente cameriera strip figa vecchia gratis derisorio studente i

Anonymous said...

pecorine ciccione bollente segretaria spogliarello foto capezzoli sborrati movie sesso mestruazioni bollente cowgirl racconto travestiti invisibile fighette ubriache ragazze asiatiche calde perfetto media il culo vergine desiderio lesbiche fottilo attractive lesbiche sex amichevole sborra handsome cowgirl strip pornazzi gatis nel bagno francese 慘M J뭰̤

Anonymous said...

eccellente media strano clip troie novara famoso segretaria azione vecchi maniaci di figa quarantenni nuda coy fighette ubriache cutie inglese gruppo sfondate anale mature taglia forte grasse in calore lovely inglese azione che pompino confessioni di trans peni duri dalila baise

Anonymous said...

ciccione sborrate sperma orale culturiste autoreggenti amatoriale pompini di negre gratis foto merda grossa felicitous ragazze sex tette adolescienti fica di michelle hunziker studentessa dildo autocoscienza segretaria gruppo figone e troie sesso con ingoio tettone esagerate clisteri vaginali risibile infermiera azione

Anonymous said...

banana porno esibizioniste senza slip film inculate gratis orgasmi anali gratis amatorial lesbiche intrepido cowgirl masturbate viados che scopano sega sammy sborro di gruppo foto fica grande video donne in tanga lunghi video lesbo clitoridi in lotta imaggini lesbo gratis sentimento asiatiche amore eva trans 

Anonymous said...

prof lesbica porcate video fica esibizionista foto natiche tope vergini fica grossa e donne sfondate immagini bulma tettone fica senza mutande sorelle lesbiche foto culi cubane piedini gratis figone free storie di inculate orge esbiche ivy bbw 

Anonymous said...

pompino bionde vacche anziane zoccole vogliose vecchi porci immagini spiate sexy sesso tgirl la segretaria troia uomi nudi video travestiti storie ard spogliarello femminile movie video pornazzi gratuiti esibizionista amatoriale dottoresse troiette doppia scopata collant da uomo vibratore in figa r踄˯᷈̓

Anonymous said...

pics juegoa travesti lima download pelicula sexo descarga pics juegoa videos petardas www download adolescente cachonda postura sexo griego relato maravillosos sexo chica sexo sevilla avi bajar pelicula fotos perreo trailer xxx doble enculada mujeres lesbianas cuadros clip asiatica madura ciudad redonda arte porno hetai clip 欺污扥਍秬U

Anonymous said...

ragazze ottantenni galleria fiche naturali fiche arrapate fica dilatata ciccione vogliose webcam studentesse focose studentesse chat gay nudi licei sexy foto studentesse telefonini maialone video schiava sculacciata mature signore racconti fregna leccata belle fichetta manga racconti liceali tult thᜐ۽

Anonymous said...

mature autoreggenti seno sexi tope bionde video sborrata femminile gratis schemale movie lesbiche tettone siliconate immagini di figa nere pornodive piedi sborra uomini maturi superdotati sesso extra nudo collant sadomaso bionde suore monica cruz sexy vecchie fanno sesso inculate con orge amatoriale hard presentatrici turche troie seesso con trans fighe ubriache

Capheind said...

Considering the last posts were in 2007 I'm assuming you may not see this, or discern it from the spam thats overtaken your comments. I'd say the whole issue of Sherlock Holmes is further proof that the copyright system is a bad idea done wrong. Sherlock holmes should be part of the public domain. Holmes is, afterall, a part of popular culture, and how is it in any way right that a single person own a part of everyones culture by a circumstance of birth. I did smile when Charles Sheffield got around the ambiguity by turning a historical personage, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, into a fictionalized "holmesian" character in The Amazing Dr. Darwin.