September 22, 2014
CHICAGO (AP) - It's the kind of puzzle that might have amused Sherlock Holmes himself.
Copyright protections have expired on nearly all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's tales about the pipe-puffing detective in the deerstalker hat. So are writers free to depict the character in new mysteries without seeking permission or paying license fees?
A federal judge in Chicago says yes, so long as they don't stray into territory covered in the 10 stories still protected by copyright. But the Doyle estate is considering an appeal this month.
Descendants of the Scottish physician and author argue he continued to develop the characters of Holmes and Dr. Watson in the later works so they should remain off-limits until the remaining copyrights run out at the end of 2022.
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