Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sherlock Holmes - The Curious Incident of the US Court in the night time

A US court has ruled that Sherlock Holmes, along with many stories and novels are now in the public domain.  In other words, the copyright protection for these works has expired.  In other words, any lazy, no-talent bozo can use the prestige and literary luster of this character to mislead the public into a bad purchase.

I will concede the point that there are talented people who have dedicated themselves to the world of Sherlock Holmes and to the much beloved characters contained within.

However, think about it for just a moment.  In situations like this, who is more likely to be protected by this decision?

1) The talented, practiced, learned Sherlockian devotee?

2) The hack, corporate douche bag?

As a medical student Conan Doyle encountered a remarkable professor who demonstrated that keen observation and logical deduction could make the seemingly unknowable readily accessible.  Conan Doyle honed that experience into a literary experience that thrilled and dominated the Victorian era.

Along with parlor tricks of logic, Conan Doyle wove the Anglo Saxon paragon who became a symbol of late 19th century English manhood.  This took much time and cultivation.  Holmes became a burden to Conan Doyle and, eventually, a portal to literary immortality.

So now anyone and everyone has unfettered access to the name and character and experiences of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson?

Not everyone who writes is up to it.  Why must we endure such people and their efforts?

I do not sympathize with the estate of Conan Doyle.  I mourn for the rest of us who are to have cubic yards of literary sludge heaped upon us.

A talented writer (or just an ordinary, honest one) would invent his own characters and weave new adventures.

When I want to read the adventures of Perry Mason or Lam and Cool, I read Erle Stanley Gardiner.

When I want to visit with Travis McGee, I read John D. MacDonald.

When I am in the mood for James Bond, I read Ian Fleming.

Is this unreasonable?  Should one person's literary invention become another's schlock, all with the protection of the US courts?

Oh, well.

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