has an article looking at Paul Kane’s plans for a Sherlock Holmes crossover with Clive Barker’s Hellraiser franchise: Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell, scheduled for release in the summer of 2016. The Tor article goes into detail about Kane’s inspiration for the franchise, and the synopsis, and you can certainly go read it if you like.

But the thing that will interest TeleRead readers about it most is that—though the article doesn’t go into this—this has to be one of the fruits of the Supreme Court’s refusal to review the decision that stated once and for all that Sherlock Holmes is a public domain character. Holmes and Watson may freely be used in the USA as long as you don’t tread on the one still-in-copyright collection (which features the least popular, least-well-written stories from the entire canon). No more does any potential Sherlock Holmes pastiche require paying a Danegeld to the Conan Doyle estate, as long as it doesn’t trespass on minor elements of Holmes canon like Holmes keeping bees or Watson playing rugby.

I have little doubt that there will be many more-forgettable Holmes pastiches to come out of that decision, but it also means that this sort of crossover is fair game. Who knows what Holmes might cross over with next?


  1. Disney must be most unhappy about this. At some point Mickey Mouse and their other early cartoon characters will begin to slip into the public domain by this ruling. That is when we will need to watch that they don’t buy themselves another copyright extension.

    I suspect that there’s another issue lurking in the shadows. At what point do all the toys and other marketable accessories to fictional characters enter the public domain? Is that when the first of the stories/movies do so, when the appearance is fixed, or only when all are complete. The latter would allow a copyright holder to extend those rights almost forever by creating new stories.

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