According to this article published by LitReactor.com, famed Sherlockian and literary scholar Leslie S. Klinger has filed suit against the Conan Doyle estate, claiming that the Holmsian characters should be freely licensed within the public domain. Klinger has published numerous anthologies on Holmes with little issue; however, the Conan Doyle estate has threatened injunction against Klinger if he doesn’t pony up licensing fees for his next book, In The Company of Sherlock Holmes. Christopher Shultz of LitReactor.com explains:
“Klinger alleges that estate representatives contacted his publisher Pegasus Books and demanded payment for an upcoming anthology titled In The Company of Sherlock Holmes. If no licensing fee was paid, the estate threatened to dissuade major distributors from carrying the book. Klinger hopes to convince the court to ‘put a permanent stop to this kind of bullying.'”
Klinger admits he takes no issue with the copyrighted works owned by the estate–Conan Doyle’s heirs own the rights to at least 10 of the Holmes stories. What he does mind, however, is what he sees as “bullying.” In other words, Klinger believes that the estate is overusing its power in an attempt to profit.
What do you think? Should the Conan Doyle estate back off? Or is Klinger in the right? Whatever your position, you can find more information about the lawsuit on the Free Sherlock! blog.