Sherlock is Free!

Some months ago my good friend Les Klinger filed a court case against the Conan Doyle Estate claiming that the Estate had no right to block the use of the characters as established in the first fifty of the Conan Doyle Holmes stories (the last ten of which, published after 1923, do remain clearly under copyright.) The instigating factor in his case was the second anthology of Holmes-inspired tales that Les and I are editing (In the Company of Sherlock Holmes), which the book’s publishers delayed until we could settle the question of whether or not the Estate had the right to demand payment of permission.  Spec-08

In a lovely Christmas present, the court has decided in Les’s favor.  The Estate has 30 days to appeal the judgment, but the court’s decision was clear:

Sherlock is Free!

The press release is here, along with yesterday’s post of the court’s transcript.


  1. Fran Friel on December 27, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Wow. Congratulations!

  2. maria on December 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Your use of the French language is grammatically incorrect in several instances in the Bones of Paris

    • Laurie King on December 28, 2013 at 8:20 am

      Maria–yes, I know, very sorry. The publisher’s editor…didn’t. It’s being fixed for the next edition, but it’s very embarrassing in the meantime.

      • Bill Messner-Loebs on February 6, 2014 at 11:49 am

        After several years of living in Northern Maine I reckoned to be quite fluent in French, so I had a character my story say, in French, “Where is my brother? I followed him in here!” My editor (who it turned out was raised in Quebec) replied, ” I bet you think you said ‘Where is my brother? I followed him in here!’ not: Where is my brother? I’m standing behind him in line!” French can be pretty tricky.

  3. Ron on December 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Very gracious response. It’s impressive, too, that you and your editors actually revise; many don’t, as you’re likely aware.

  4. Margaret Wood on December 29, 2013 at 10:14 am

    When I remember the huge fuss the Dorothy Sayers’ copyright holders made of the delightful Peter sequence Laurie slid into “A Letter from Mary” I have to laugh. I bet that won a huge number of NEW readers, and purchases, for Sayer’s wonderful mysteries.

  5. Cari on December 30, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Hooray! Your Holmes has been my companion for the past few years on every road trip I have had to take alone. He (and Russell) have made those trips not only less lonely but even enjoyable. Thanks, Laurie!

  6. Meredith Taylor on January 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    About Sherlockian time, too. Well done!

  7. Samantha Tyler on January 3, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Simply amazing, for once the courts have given us a late Christmas present. I’ve been a huge fan of how you have brought my old friend Sherlock Holmes back to life. Thank you! 🙂

  8. […] writer Laurie King who writes the popular Mary Russell series based on a character who has a relationship with […]

  9. Georgianna Miller on January 21, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    I am so glad to hear the good news! I should think that they would be glad that someone is carrying on the Holmes legacy! I have never understood all the fuss…

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