Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Sherlock Holmes and the Copyright Tangle

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the making-lawyers'-eyes-roll dept.

Books 290

spagiola passes along a New York Times piece on the copyright travails of Sherlock Holmes. "At his age [123 years], Holmes would logically seem to have entered the public domain. But not only is the character still under copyright in the United States, for nearly 80 years he has also been caught in a web of ownership issues so tangled that Professor Moriarty wouldn't have wished them upon him."

cancel ×

290 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

MOD ME DOWN, WASTE A MOD POINT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829058)

hi, i recently read about sex with insects and fine it fasinated me.i went to a pet store and bought crickets. taking them home i put some in a jar and lowered it over my cock and balls. the sensation of them crawling all over was overwhelming and i orgasmed quickly. is this normal???

Re:MOD ME DOWN, WASTE A MOD POINT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829066)

No, this is not normal.

EAT IT LEFTARDS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829134)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Obama's nazi healthcare plan was found dead in it's Washington, D.C. home. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss it - even if you aren't a socialist, there's no denying it's proposed contributions to the downfall of Western culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:EAT IT LEFTARDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829812)

/me *buys* a lot of stock in insurance companies. They will continue to be able too trow you off for no good reason, and efectively destroying someone's life - what death panels ?

Well well... (0, Redundant)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829068)

for nearly 80 years he has also been caught in a web of ownership

Watson, get me out of this web, for it would appear that the game is afoot!

Re:Well well... (0, Redundant)

plastbox (1577037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829184)

Aaaaw, damn! I just lost the Game!

Re:Well well... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829212)

I am not playing.

heh.. captcha = supreme

Re:Well well... (1)

EmotionToilet (1083453) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829694)

Now we all lost!

Re:Well well... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829466)

for nearly 80 years he has also been caught in a web of ownership

Watson, I seem not to have aged for 80 years. Watson.

Watson the game has something to do with feet. There is a podiatrist in the hall. He is here to put opium on his

feet. Please let him in. His squeaking shoe is interfering with my violin. Have you found the jewel in my

perique.

The copyright cash cow (4, Insightful)

Brian Boitano (514508) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829070)

Basically, nobody wants to give up rights to it because they can make money from it.

Re:The copyright cash cow (5, Funny)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829110)

Basically, nobody wants to give up rights to it because they can make money from it.

Not "Basically", but rather "Elementary"!

Re:The copyright cash cow (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829152)

"Elementary" is equivalent to "basic"; you'd be wanting "elementarily", though I appreciate it obfuscates the joke slightly.

Re:The copyright cash cow (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829194)

if you can milk something infinately, it removes all incentive to create new creative works, completely undermining the whole arguement for copyright in the first place. how does this simple fact fail with law makers?

Re:The copyright cash cow (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829250)

It doesn't fail with them. They just don't care. They get paid to write more long-lasting, restrictive copyright laws, so they do it. All those "for the good of culture" arguments are just smokes and mirrors, so it's less obvious.

Re:The copyright cash cow (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829312)

Answer: Lobbyists.

Re:The copyright cash cow (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829518)

Because the law doesn't say copyrights are eternal. Therefore you cannot milk something indefinitely.

Re:The copyright cash cow (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829566)

"if you can milk something infinitely, it removes all incentive to create new creative works"

For the holder of the original IP, yes. However, for other people this could been seen as a good thing - I can't write a book about Sherlock Holmes because he's still under copyright, etc. etc., so instead I create my own character and scenario.

Which is better? Taking a public domain character and inserting them into a story, or being forced to come up with something new - and possibly better - instead?

It depends on how you look at it - some people haven't got a creative bone in their body and would rather just take existing works and tinker with them. For others, they would rather come up with someone of their own invention.

Surely coming up with something new and original is preferable to delving into the public domain archives.

Re:The copyright cash cow (5, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829910)

Taking a public domain character and inserting them into a story, or being forced to come up with something new - and possibly better - instead?

Dunno. Let's look at Disney classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and compare it with one of their latest, Bolt.

Re:The copyright cash cow (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830080)

You're right - who'd want to see some silly dame choking on an apple when you can watch a TALKING DOG instead???

Re:The copyright cash cow (4, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829590)

Huh? Incentive for creative work was an argument for copyright?

No. It wasn’t. Look at the word. It says copyright. The right to copy. To reproduce the work.
It has nothing to do with creativity or art. It has to do with publishers and money.

What you mean, is the author’s right.
Which, from what I heard, is nearly meaningless in the USA. Right?

In Germany we have the Urheberrecht instead of the copyright. The Urheberrecht (literally “originator’s right”) is the right of the one who created the work. And it can’t be given away. Ever. (The rule is, that if you’re payed by the hour, the payer is the originator. If you’re payed all at once, you are.)
Which is pretty nice.

Except that many people here start to think we are government by US laws. They always see the term “copyright“ and think that’s a German thing. Which results in silly things, like people stating to own the copyright on something they literally just copied. Like this idiot here, who really just scanned stuff in, and now thinks this entitles him to some right [deutschlan...tsorten.de] .

Nowadays, nobody needs publishers anymore. So they are clinging to the last twig they still got: Extending copyright as far as possible. Like with this thing here. If your life would depend on it, you’d do the same. It always gets looong and weird at the end.
But I don’t worry, since it’s impossible to keep this going forever. Sooner or later, there is no art and no artist left. New artists already couldn’t care less about them. And there will be a time, where their extensions will become just so silly, that everybody stops taking them seriously.

Re:The copyright cash cow (4, Informative)

beowulfcluster (603942) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829664)

Copyright laws were made at first because publishers made copies of authors' works without their consent or giving them compensation. The idea was to give authors control for a time to allow them to profit from it and thereby encourage more creative works. That's been twisted now of course but that was the idea at the time.

Re:The copyright cash cow (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829734)

actually i wasn't touching on the meaning of copyright at all, but what it was supposed to achieve.

Re:The copyright cash cow (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829794)

Huh? Incentive for creative work was an argument for copyright?

No. It wasn’t.

Yes it was.

The English Statute of Anne (1710) which predated the German grant of rights by nearly 85 years was in its own words enacted "for the Encouragement of Learned Men to Compose and Write useful Books".

Re:The copyright cash cow (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829610)

if you can milk something infinately, it removes all incentive to create new creative works, completely undermining the whole arguement for copyright in the first place.

I'd point out that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is also very dead, which probably prevents him from making new creative works more than a lack of financial incentive, but I agree with you in principle.

Re:The copyright cash cow (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829806)

Because it doesn't. I don't have anything I can milk indefinitely so the incentive to me to create new works appear to be higher because i would then be able to milk my product for the rest of my life. For someone who already owns something they can milk indefinitely the incentive is still there because even rich people want to get richer.

Logically, by making the reward massive (infinite copyright), the incentive also becomes massive.

Jeremy Brett series is a good example (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829944)

I have to wonder if the 1980s Granada series of Holmes adaptations starring Jeremy Brett, the definitive Holmes adaptations to myself and many others, could've been made had the copyright not lapsed.

Disney (4, Insightful)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829094)

You can blame Disney and their rodent for the current state of copyright laws. Don't think that when copyright period for Mickey once again draws to a close there won't be a large bundle of cash handed out to the nearest person able to extend the period another 20-50 years.

Re:Disney (1, Interesting)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829216)

Interesting that we're talking about Sherlock Holmes and you refer to Disney's rodent (Mickey). Because Disney riffed on Sherlock Holmes with The Great Mouse Detective.

Re:Disney (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829232)

33 hours straight studying law led me to type: @am compute smasmd ... : ( ewew

What is gross about computing how to make a surface mount sma connector?

Quote from article (1, Insightful)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829408)

He wasn't referring to the Great Mouse Detective. He didn't need to to be on topic. From the article:

But Mr. Lellenberg said the group pays careful attention to the management of other venerable pop-cultural properties: the Walt Disney Company, which is preparing to celebrate the 82nd birthday of Mickey Mouse, has “always been at the leading edge” of intellectual property law, he said.

(Yeah, I don't expect anybody to read them. Most of the time I don't either.)

Re:Quote from article (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829438)

I very literally said he was referring to Mickey, not the Great Mouse Detective:

you refer to Disney's rodent (Mickey)

What part of that did you not understand?

Re:Quote from article (0, Offtopic)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829744)

The part where you weren't speaking in complete sentences*. You don't always have to speak in complete sentences to be understood, but sometimes people will misunderstand you. It's a simple fact.

(*Technically, neither of your statements was a complete sentence. It was the second that I misinterpreted, though, and not the first.)

Re:Quote from article (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829776)

I took it as referencing the "Offtopic" mod to your comment rather than anything the GP said, albeit a bit unclearly. I could be wrong though.

Re:Disney (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829452)

Interesting that we're talking about Sherlock Holmes and you refer to Disney's rodent (Mickey). Because Disney riffed on Sherlock Holmes with The Great Mouse Detective.

Perhaps thats the turth behind the The Giant Rat of Sumatra [wikipedia.org] >

Re:Disney (4, Interesting)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829626)

You can blame Disney and their rodent for the current state of copyright laws. Don't think that when copyright period for Mickey once again draws to a close there won't be a large bundle of cash handed out to the nearest person able to extend the period another 20-50 years.

One way to stop this would be to turn Mickey into an pop culture symbol for a pedophile or terrorist...

Degrade the icon to the point where Disney would rather wash their hands of the rodent.

Re:Disney (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829666)

Time to get 4chan to use Mickey Mouse instead of Pedo Bear

Re:Disney (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829880)

What I hate is arguments that if the copyright is allowed to lapse that anyone will be able to create whatever derivative they want and sell them as legit. I've had educated people try to tell my that copyright is keeping Mickey Mouse porn from being sold at Walmart. Talk about a basic misunderstanding. This is the exact bullshit that lets them get away with extending copyrights over and over. I still think the easiest system is to charge a yearly fee that starts off at $1 for the first year and doubles each year afterward. Anyone that doesn't bother to register doesn't want copyright protection. When the cost exceeds the benefit people will let the copyright lapse. I think most material would let copyright lapse within 10-20 years then. Maybe provide an extra time of protection against commercial use if you wanted to be nice - allowing first just personal/non-profit use. One of the problems with patents for example is that companies are willing to wait for your protection to expire and then will use your idea with no renumeration - that IS a problem. I'd also block copyright for any material that uses DRM and hasn't filed a full raw copy with the LoC that can be obtained by the public after the copyright lapses.

Re:Disney (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829914)

As much as the current state of the copyright law and the public domain pisses me off, I can't help but laugh at the rationale that was presented when they extended copyright from life of the author plus 50 years to plus 70 years. They really did argue that it was necessary as an incentive for artists to produce—it wouldn't be worth it to do the work if their heirs couldn't benefit from the work that long.

So, a bunch of lobbyists explained, with straight faces, to some congresspeople—who then went on to repeat the explanation in session, also with straight faces—that an author would actually sit around and say, "Let's see, if I finish this novel and it's successful, the revenue will feed my kids for the rest of my life, plus 50 years after I'm dead. Hmm. Nope, for the work I'd have to put in, I'm gonna need the rest of my natural life plus at least 60 years or so, ideally 70. To hell with this 50-year bullshit, I'm going drinking."

Sherlock Holmes on Project Gutenberg (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829096)

What a crock (4, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829098)

The fact that none of the current living "heirs" is a direct descendant of the author is further proof of how screwed up our system is.

But I can understand why they fight so hard. If they didn't have Holmes, they'd have to all get real jobs and work for a living.

Re:What a crock (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829132)

The fact that none of the current living "heirs" is a direct descendant of the author is further proof of how screwed up our system is.

IANAL, but can't an "estate" be sold just like a copyright or a trademark?

Re:What a crock (4, Interesting)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829190)

I don't see why not, and copyrights can certainly be transferred. The screwed-up bit, in my opinion, is this:

In 1980 Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle’s other works entered the public domain in Britain. In America the passage of the Copyright Act of 1976 gave an author or his heirs a chance to recapture lost rights; Conan Doyle’s daughter, Jean, did so in 1981.

So here in Britain they would appear to be in the public domain, as one would expect, but in the US his daughter was given the chance to say "no, actually, I'd like to keep the copyright for longer please"? Or am I misunderstanding that paragraph?

Re:What a crock (4, Informative)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829306)

This reminds me of the Smiley Face trademark [guardian.co.uk] escapades. The posters for the Watchmen movie were different depending on the country. There was also an issue with Wal-Mart using it, apparently [nytimes.com] .

Copyright lawyers have to earn their salaries somehow, I suppose.

Re:What a crock (4, Informative)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829392)

In America the passage of the Copyright Act of 1976 gave an author or his heirs a chance to recapture lost rights; Conan Doyle's daughter, Jean, did so in 1981.

Yes, and it's a travesty. The heirs of Jack Kirby are using it in an attempt to steal dozens of characters that Kirby helped create while at Marvel back in the 60's, and the heirs of Siegal used it to reclaim the character of Superboy from DC. It is going to happen a LOT in the upcoming decade.

Re:What a crock (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829140)

If they didn't have Holmes, they'd have to all get real jobs and work for a living.

I wonder what the other Holmes's reaction would be? Thinking long and hard until he had an explosive idea I suppose.

Re:What a crock (3, Interesting)

lordholm (649770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829182)

The only reason to extend after the death is to ensure that the husband/wife receives a pension and the children are supported until they can start working by themselves. For the first part, 70 years is most likely a bit excessive for most cases, and for the second case definitely excessive. How about: lifetime of spouse or until the youngest child is 25 years, whichever is greater. This may be difficult to administer, in that case, just make it 25 years after death and you have covered it in 95% of all cases.

Re:What a crock (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829302)

Huh? What's so special about an author, that they get life insurance for free? Everyone else has to pay for that sort of guarantee for our dependants. Copyright should be a fixed term, regardless of the mortal status of the author.

Re:What a crock (2, Insightful)

lordholm (649770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829360)

I am not defending it, I am just simply saying that those reasons are basically the only ones that hold at all for having copyright extended after the death of an author. I do agree with you, but if you want to reform the copyright system you need to come up with ideas that can gain acceptance from more than the slashdot readers. Saying 25 years with the motivation that it covers the children until they start working is pragmatic in the sense that it would be possible to accept it, even for the copyright mafia, since there are virtually no reasons that they can come up with for extending it. 25 years is also a lot less than 50/70 years as in the EU, and 90? as in the US.

Re:What a crock (0, Redundant)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829388)

Bull. There will never be any reduction in the copyright term, regardless of what arguments you make, until the US government is not owned by the corporations. The copyright term has been set and extended based on what is good for those who lobby. Unless you can convince the copyright loby that a lower term will make their industry more profitable for them (good luck) or prevent them from exerting undue influence on Congress, the only change that will be made will be upwards.

They don't need reasons to keep extending it when they have dollars.

Re:What a crock (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829454)

I do agree with you, but if you want to reform the copyright system you need to come up with ideas that can gain acceptance from more than the slashdot readers.

Given that content consumers significantly outnumber content producers, I don't think getting wide acceptance for significantly reduced copyright terms (or any other similar scheme; my favorite is unlimited term, but with a fee required to sustain copyright after an initial period of a few years, growing linearly as time passes) would pose a problem.

Re:What a crock (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829376)

I agree. Why should the works of a long-living author be worth less than the works of an author who dies early?

Re:What a crock (4, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829494)

Huh? What's so special about an author, that they get life insurance for free? Everyone else has to pay for that sort of guarantee for our dependants.

You get paid in real time. Do a month's work, get a month's pay, set some aside for life insurance or pension. An author is more like a long-term investor. They put in a lot of work up front and their rewards come in over years, sometimes decades. If you write a novel, die, and then a year later it gets its second larger print run after good reviews / word of mouth, or it gets bought for turning into a film, or whatever, your widow would get nothing to represent the value of the work. That's why copyright projects forwards in time, because the earnings project forward in time. What, if your partner invests all their hours and money into long-term stocks, you don't get the earnings back from that because they died?

Also, it reduces the incentive for movie producers to kill you so they can use your work for free. ;)

Re:What a crock (2, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829528)

If you write a novel, die, and then a year later it gets its second larger print run after good reviews / word of mouth, or it gets bought for turning into a film, or whatever, your widow would get nothing to represent the value of the work.

Huh? Of course she does. I didn't say copyrights should expire on death - I said they should extend a fixed term. All other things being equal, your widow would get exactly what she would of got from that work had you lived out the entire term.

Re:What a crock (4, Interesting)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829684)

Nope. Actually fixed term copyrights are the best countermeasure against "incentive for movie producers to kill you so they can use your work for free".
If the copyright is fixed at 70 years after publication, then nobody cares you are alive or dead. If the copyright is your life + 70 years, then there is a higher incentive to kill you to get the work in the public domain ASAP.
BTW this extreme privileges that writers, singers and actors get. Painters and sculpturers never had those, and are now fighting to have a cut of their work's re-sales.

Re:What a crock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829790)

BTW this extreme privileges that writers, singers and actors get. Painters and sculpturers never had those, and are now fighting to have a cut of their work's re-sales.

Which God forbid, or we might end up in the crazy situation where you can't sell your house without tracking down everyone who has owned the property in the last 2,000 years to pay them their "earnings".

One sale, one sale only, applied to everything, is the only reasonable way to go. Bet it never happens.

Re:What a crock (2, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829420)

How about: Copyright lasts 30 years.

Why all this 'x after death, or y if z' nonsense? The heirs receive the benefit of the money the creator makes from the work, after all.

Re:What a crock (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829932)

International treaties limit this to a 50 year minimum. For practicality it might make sense to have all copyrights expire at the end of a calendar year. Slight issue as to whether this is after publication or creation (should I get an effectively shorter copyright simply because I spent 30 years making sure it was perfect, or an effectively longer copyright because nobody bothered to publish it until I'd been dead for 90 years? Should my personal diary never be published even if it of considerably historical interest in 2510?)

Aside from that I agree.

Re:What a crock (3, Insightful)

foobsr (693224) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829672)

How about: lifetime of spouse or until the youngest child is 25 years, whichever is greater.

Pff, they will ensure that offspring is created from a sperm bank each quarter of a century.

CC.

Ah, greed (5, Funny)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829102)

Mr. Lellenberg said that Sherlock Holmes remains under copyright protection in the United States through 2023, and that any new properties involving the detective “definitely should” be licensed by the Conan Doyle estate. Asked about a recent Red Bull television commercial that features a cartoon Holmes and Watson, Mr. Lellenberg said he had not seen it. “Very interesting,” he said. “News to me.”

He then twirled his mustache, petted the Persian cat on his lap, raised an eyebrow, tilted his head, rubbed his hands together, and said: "release the lawyers!"

So much for public domain... (5, Interesting)

Manip (656104) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829104)

So you create copyright works in country A, and when that expires you then renew your copyright in country B? After that expires will they just transfer it yet again to another country and extend it yet again? Since all of these countries have [evil] trade treaties copyright in one is copyright in all....

Copyright is seriously out of control and I point the finger squarely at the US for creating this greedy flawed system...

Re:So much for public domain... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829648)

Copyright is seriously out of control and I point the finger squarely at the US for creating this greedy flawed system...

That's fair, because after all we did invent greed and abusing outdated laws.

where does the 2023 date come from? (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829142)

The article doesn't explain precisely why it's still under copyright, except that it was renewed in 1981 after falling into the public domain, as permitted by the Copyright Act of 1976. But why hasn't it fallen back into the public domain again? Looking through this chart [cornell.edu] , I can't find any combination of circumstances that would allow an 1887 work, whose author died in 1930, to remain in copyright until 2023.

Re:where does the 2023 date come from? (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829192)

My guess is:

A few of the short stories are still under copyright because they weren't originally published in the US. Nobody owns the characters because they're in the public domain but the person/group who claims to own them (possibly wilfully) doesn't understand this. Guy Ritchie realised it was cheaper to pay them off than to win in court. The journalist doesn't have a clue but figures he can be vague enough and still get a good story.

Re:where does the 2023 date come from? (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829228)

Even unpublished works by a corporate entity only gets 120 years of protection in the US, which means an 1887 work would have lost copyright protection in 2007.

Re:where does the 2023 date come from? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829314)

120 years.

One. Hundred. And. Twenty. Fucking. Years.

That's just obscene.

Re:where does the 2023 date come from? (-1, Troll)

gnupun (752725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829724)

That's just obscene.

Instead, they should simply hand over their hard-earned works to you goddamn leeches for free?! 120 years is still less than infinity. Many notable authors (especially Conan Doyle & family) deserve the profit as they have entertained hundreds of millions of readers for over a century. Have you ever done anything that benefits hundreds of millions of people? I didn't think so.

Re:where does the 2023 date come from? (3, Insightful)

Donkey_Hotey (1433053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829836)

And they say there's no need for a "-1: Obnoxious, Overbearing, and Clueless" moderation...

Re:where does the 2023 date come from? (1)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829316)

Interesting use of the word 'only' in the phrase 'only gets 120 years of protection'. 120 years is a lot more than 'only'.

Re:where does the 2023 date come from? (5, Funny)

vrai (521708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829374)

But as an author, if I can't receive remuneration for a work I didn't publish 119 years ago, what's my incentive to continue to write unpublished material? People like you would have us live in an age denuded of ancient, unpublished authors!

Re:where does the 2023 date come from? (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829428)

"Only" as in "It has been 122-3 years since 1887, and you only get protection for 120."

Emphasis is on how 120 122, not on the fairness of 120 year protection. You were just itching to read something into my post that I didn't write.

Re:where does the 2023 date come from? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829962)

I think there's some cheat where you can reset by publishing in those 120 years.

Re:where does the 2023 date come from? (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829972)

No. The function is min{create+120,publish+95}

Source [cornell.edu]

Re:where does the 2023 date come from? (4, Informative)

Pretzalzz (577309) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829304)

The last sherlock holmes story was published in 1927 which would theoretically last under copyright until 2023. But the majority of the stories are pre-1920 and presumably public domain. The post-1923 are also considered the worst according to wikipedia. But mostly in the bookstore you see a large compilation of Sherlock Holmes with every story. To publish every story you'd need to pay a royalty for the 5% still under copyright. The estate charges an inflated amount for this 5% and the publisher pays it since he is spreading the cost over the stories that he doesn't have to strictly pay for.

Re:where does the 2023 date come from? (4, Interesting)

Dracul (598944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829440)

And consequently (particularly for those making movies) the key characters and associated details remain protected, preventing their use by others. This allows particularly devious estates the option of commissioning new stories with the same characters so as to create all new copyrights for the future (remembering that the plots of stories are not as well protected as the elaborate details that bring them to life).

"Sherlock Holmes was the Conan Doyle family curse" (3, Funny)

lordlod (458156) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829156)

The Conan Doyle family would like your pity.

They were forced to obtain and maintain the copyright on the Sherlock Holmes stories. It's so terribly hard managing all those bank accounts.

In fact, Jean Conan Doyle said that "Sherlock Holmes was the Conan Doyle family curse."

I certainly feel something for the family now.

Re:"Sherlock Holmes was the Conan Doyle family cur (1)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829266)

I suspect there are more than a few exorcists on /. who could devise some way of lifting that curse. Of course, the curse is borne by choice.

Time to revert back to the 1790-1922 laws (5, Insightful)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829166)

If IP owners are going to be such absolute children about this, maybe we should revert back to the old law.

It was once legally agreed upon that 14+14 years was an adequate amount of time to commercially exploit your copyright. With today's digital distribution and rapid-fire publishing houses, does it really need to be a HUNDRED years?

Re:Time to revert back to the 1790-1922 laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829368)

No.

Re:Time to revert back to the 1790-1922 laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829568)

better would be 1922-1790 laws

Re:Time to revert back to the 1790-1922 laws (1)

Bahamut_Omega (811064) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829756)

True enough; as well as making sure that the Mafiaa racketeers get their just desserts. Hmm; extortion, blackmail, fraud, bribery to name the few. Would there be a punishment that would be suitable enough for them? Exiling them to an arctic wasteland would be fun; at least we would lose some of them to either extreme cold; wildlife or starvation.

Re:Time to revert back to the 1790-1922 laws (1)

IndieKid (1061106) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829840)

That only works if the IP you're planning on exporting isn't already public domain in the countries you plan on exporting to.

In this instance the IP is public domain in the UK (as I understand it) and you would think the UK would probably be one of the largest markets for Sherlock Holmes stories.

Re:Time to revert back to the 1790-1922 laws (1)

IndieKid (1061106) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829846)

Oops, replied to the wrong post... see "Think Like a Politician" posted by Kriss below.

Think like a politician (2, Interesting)

kriss (4837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829222)

If you extend copyright: Some number of jobs (thousands, tens of thousands?) saved. IP exports generating US revenue. No real downside other than "What, you extended it again?" and no clear loser.

No wonder they extend it. They have no real case against doing so.

Re:Think like a politician (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829292)

I definitely can see how politicians could think like this. Now if we could only convince them that realy people can lose their livelihoods in favor of corporations--simply for watching movies they weren't entitled to watch, or reading books they weren't entitled to read--and this is wrong.

HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA who am I kidding?

Re:Think like a politician (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829298)

Except it'll destroy our culture by having no public domain works, and less incentive to create new works.

Re:Think like a politician (5, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829412)

If copyright is extended jobs are lost. You don't need to hire people to create new stuff because you can still earn money from the ancient stuff.

Re:Think like a politician (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829916)

Mod up.

Imagine how many Hollywood Actors could have jobs, if they could just take use anything/anytime.

Oh, that's what China already does with manufactured goods.

Re:Think like a politician (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829464)

If you extend copyright: Some number of jobs (thousands, tens of thousands?) saved.

What jobs? Once the work is created, the author, strictly speaking, doesn't have a job, unless he starts working on a new one.

Or did you mean lawyers and accountants?

Unspeakable Evil... (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829310)

Wasn't Professor Moriarty put in charge of the U.S. Patent Office?

"Really, sir?" (3, Funny)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829336)

"Yes, really, Watson. I'm sure the Traveler will allow us the use of his machine."

"Is there no other way, sir? This seems most excessive..." Watson trailed off, fully aware of the futility in trying to sway Holmes from his conviction. Perhaps Holmes is right. Nip this in the bud while the opportunity still remained.

"Sir, how do you suggest we approach this matter? Surely you cannot expect to drop in from a century in the future and expect tea and scones? The matter of that rather scary looking contraption you wish to employ needs to be addressed as well, sir."

"Quite simple, Watson. I intend that we should mount this "contraption", as you put it, and set the controls to precisely 19 feet in elevation, the corner of Glasshouse and Regent, on the morning of August 16 in the year 1974. Then return." Holmes removed his spectacles and gave them a quick rubbing with the bottom edge of his smoking vest, closely watching Watson from the corner of his eye. The smoke from his pipe cloaked his gaze from Watson.

Watson's eyes glazed slightly as he took in what Holmes had just said. Then they widened. Then they widened more.

"You cannot be serious, sir! You mean to crush Ms. Nina under that contraption?" Watson said, his astonishment tinged with an obvious air of distaste. "Sir, I implore you. Have we really come to this? Time traveling assassins?"

Holmes, more tired then he had ever been in his life, gave Watson a sad, almost regretful smile. "If we are ever to live the life Arthur intended, to solve the riddles that require solving, to live up to our potential, she must die. Then all will be right in the world of Sir Doyle."

Watson, always the one to find some solace in the worst of circumstances, flashed Holmes a quick grin of highly polished teeth. "Can I bring a camera?"

i don't understand (1)

fan of lem (1092395) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829436)

i don't understand.. why is one of his books [amazon.com] being "sold" for free then?

Re:i don't understand (4, Informative)

Jiro (131519) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829512)

Because this is a typical kdawson article, that in this case picked a New York Times article that was itself also clueless.

Most Holmes stories were published prior to 1923 and are in public domain in the US. The remaining stories are copyrighted, but if you don't use any elements from those copyrighted stories you should be fine, and since they are only a few at the end, it really isn't all that hard not to use anything from those stories. To say that Sherlock Holmes is copyrighted until 2023 is a little misleading--if you want to use material covering his entire Doyle career (his last Doyle story was 1927), then you have to wait until 2023, but you generally won't need to.

Re:i don't understand (4, Insightful)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829736)

Or stay the fuck away from the US market. I pray to god, for you guys to have a revolution, since you are being fucked over by all of that "new royalty".

Re:i don't understand (2, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829706)

For me that page says - Print List Price: $3.99, Kindle Price: $2.35 includes VAT & international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet, You Save: $1.64 (41%). So maybe it's free to US Kindle owners, but not international ones. Poor dumb saps.

No shit, Sherlock? (4, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829482)

That Americanism says it all...

Get rid of copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829502)

We need to get rid of copyright. The endless greed of parasites who no longer make any real contribution to society disgusts me. I published my own stuff under Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike). I hope that in a generation or two things will be different.

Fuck all this nazi shit... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829674)

I have only 30-40 years left to live in this Naziworld.

I'll use bittorrent or similar stuff till the end and when I download Sherlock Holmes I'll delete it because I care about pussies not Holmes.

Have a nice day in your Naziworld.

Moriarity was a professor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30829730)

I'll try to remember to ask about that, when I get around to his bar again.

Bring back 50 years (1)

dugeen (1224138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30829862)

We should have left copyright at 50 years, never mind 75 or 100.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?