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123-year-old detective still copyrighted? (Read 569 times)
Webbie
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123-year-old detective still copyrighted?
Jan 20th, 2010, 11:12am
 
From The NYT;
"Though readers were not always informed of his compensation for, say, uncovering the truth of the Red-Headed League or bringing the Hound of the Baskervilles to heel, Holmes remains a valuable literary property. His adventures in books, plays, television shows and movies continue to pay dividends for the heirs of his creator."

More here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/books/19sherlock.html

Which brings me to the question of when is copyright a bad thing?
How long should copyright last?
How far is to far?

I am reminded that the likeness of "Mickey Mouse" is presently copyrighted into the future more so than when it was created.

Could I copyright a collection of words such as "Batteries not included" and then refuse to let anyone else use them?

1) Copyright some collection of words.
2) Sue everybody.
3) Profit!

Seems kinda silly when I put it that way.
Even so, how long should things be copyrighted after the creators death?
What if the copyright is owned by a company that will never die, is it perpetual?

What do you think?
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Jeangoldstrom
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Re: 123-year-old detective still copyrighted
Reply #1 - Jan 20th, 2010, 2:27pm
 
You propose an interesting question, Webbie. Of course I don't know the answer. But talking with another writer today brought to mind how weak copyright protection really is. Some -- quite a few, actually -- years ago I published a book through iUniverse. For a variety of reasons I didn't like the way they did business, so I took the book away from them and ordered them to cease any use of the book.

Hah! They are still peddling the book in bizarre markets like China. Considering people ignored it in droves here where English is pretty much a first language, I have to wonder what is the point of breaking the copyright to peddle it in China?

Of course I don't have enough $$$ to sue them, and I suspect they have enough lawyers on hand to stifle any suit I would bring.

So, rather than protecting authors beyond all logical considerations -- like the Disney-Mouse item with Mickey under copyright for the life of the planet Earth if not longer -- the laws we have do not even discourage such willful scroungers as iUniverse.

Sigh.

      -- Jean
PS -- Has anyone else had such annoying legal problems with publishers?
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Gary A. Markette
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Re: 123-year-old detective still copyrighted
Reply #2 - Jan 21st, 2010, 12:49am
 
Disney gets no sympathy from me. They've stolen more stuff than Dillinger. To cite the most glaring example--their treatment of the A. A. Milne estate and the Winnie the Pooh books and characters. That legal wrangle may, indeed, extend well into the next millenium.
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Webbie
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Re: 123-year-old detective still copyrighted
Reply #3 - Jan 23rd, 2010, 6:23pm
 
It seems that if it makes money it's a big deal, if not, do whatever you want.
The music industry comes to mind as a good example of that.
Oddly enough I have seen some talk on the net that the US Dept of Justice has more than a few ex-music industry lawyers working for them now.

Funny how coincidences work isn't it?
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