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4812US Supreme Court declines to hear Sherlock Holmes copyright dispute

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  • Sajan Venniyoor
    Nov 4, 2014

      Bully for the US Supreme Court. It's bad enough that US copyright protection extends to an incredible 120 years in some cases, and that you have to apply half a dozen Acts and a couple of aspirins to actually figure it all out. 

      Still, the bottom line is that all works published in the United States before January 1, 1923, are in the public domain. So, only the Holmes stories published between 1923 and 1927 remain under copyright. 

      Beyond the obvious facts that the Doyle estate's rapacity puts the East India Company to shame and that most 'intellectual property' laws are bulls**t on steroids, this sort of grandstanding by greedy descendants compromises a whole range of works of art that may or may not be derivative. Back home, the great granddaughter of the painter Raja Ravi Varma has sent a legal notice to Ketan Mehta, whose film 'Rang Rasiya' is based on a Marathi novel loosely based on Ravi Varma's life, claiming that the movie depicts her great, granddad in an 'erotic' manner.

      Ravi Varma died more than a hundred years ago, and what possible damage could be caused to his reputation by a Bollywood movie is a mystery. It's not like Robert Downey Jr. is playing Ravi Varma in drag.