George H. Doran Company
George H. Doran Company
A federal judge has rejected a copyright appeal brought by the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, opening the way for writers, filmmakers and other creators to make free use of Sherlock Holmes, his sidekick Watson and any elements of their story that appeared in Conan Doyle works published prior to Jan. 1, 1923.You can read more on this decision here and here.
The ruling, issued by Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, affirmed a district court ruling, last December, that the characters were no longer protected by American copyright, and so could be used without paying any permission fees.
In a ruling that cited “Star Wars” as well as Shakespeare, Judge Posner also rejected the estate’s claim that Holmes was a “complex” character, who in contrast to “flat” characters like Amos and Andy, was not fully fleshed out until Conan Doyle laid down his pen, and so remained under protection until the last copyright on the 10 Holmes stories published after 1922 expires.
“What this has to do with copyright law eludes us,” Judge Posner wrote tartly.
|The Great Detective by illustrator Frank Wiles|
As we learned in our April 4th post, “Origins of Science Fiction,” magazines began to reach a much wider audience as Europe and America became more industrialized. Increasingly urban and literate societies required cheap, entertaining, and easily accessible entertainment to escape the drudgery of the mills and offices. Since magazines could be produced cheaply and in a timely fashion, the last quarter of the nineteenth century became “The Age of the Storytellers.” Beginning around 1880, when Robert Louis Stevenson started to publish his first works of fiction, the world would witness the birth of the popular fiction magazine as well as the pulp magazine.
Stevenson’s “Treasure Island,” first serialized in 1881-82, helped to provide the spark for other authors to try their hand at similar fiction. Works such as H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines (1885), “She” (1886), and “Allan Quatermain” (1887), as well as Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet” (1887) demonstrated the need for an inexpensive, popular fiction magazine to be published on a regular basis. Shortly after Christmas in 1890, the first of these—The Strand Magazine—was launched by George Newnes. Filled with illustrations, the periodical really took off during the summer of 1891 with the start of Conan Doyle’s “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” introducing one of the most successful continuing character series of all time.
With the success of The Strand Magazine came a host of imitators, among them Pearson’s Magazine. It debuted in late 1895 and soon became one of the leading publishers of magazine science fiction, featuring the future war stories of George Griffith and the scientific romances of Herbert George Wells. “The War of the Worlds” and “The Invisible Man,” both originally published in Pearson’s in 1897, are still enjoyed today, over a century after their initial appearances. Educated in the sciences as well as a literary genius, Wells’ mastery of both science and fiction was readily apparent. His later science fiction, including “The First Men in the Moon” (1900-1901) and “The Country of the Blind “1904), would run in The Strand.
In our next installment, we’ll turn our attention across the pond where an American entrepreneur named Frank A. Munsey was busy turning a struggling magazine into the first American all-fiction magazine.
To learn more about the images used in this post, click on the illustrations. Click here for references consulted for this article.
After a couple of weeks of grueling work by our communications department, the PulpFest website has been fully updated. Except for the pages referring to conventions past, each and every page was examined from top to bottom and improved using the ideas of both organizing committee members and you, our dedicated supporters. Thank you to everyone for your help and encouragement as we prepare for the 43rd annual summer pulp con. It will be held at the Hyatt Regency Columbus starting on Thursday evening, August 7th and running until mid-afternoon on Sunday, August 10th. So what are you waiting for? Click on the link above, reserve a room, and make your plans to attend PulpFest 2014!
You’ll find plenty to like about the new and improved home page of your PulpFest. We’ve added a downtown restaurant guide, provided by the good people at Experience Columbus. You’ll find it near the bottom of our hotel page, under “Details.” You’ll also be able to learn about parking venues near our host hotel and even link to an interactive parking map to guide you to the cheapest parking in the city. And if you’d like to learn a little more about the town that hosts our annual get-together, including The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at the Center of Science and Industry, stop by the “Visiting Columbus” page. You’ll find links to many of the fine neighborhoods of Ohio’s state capital, including the German Village and the Brewery District.
This year, your summer pulp con rolls out a whole new way to thank loyal attendees who help to defray the convention’s substantial costs by staying three nights at our host hotel: PulpFest will be offering free early-bird shopping to those who stay at the Hyatt Regency. That’s a savings of $30! And we have not forgotten our dealers. For those dealers who will be staying at the Hyatt Regency Columbus, PulpFest is pleased to offer a third table free for every two tables that you rent, a tremendous savings. That’s buy two and get one free to thank you for helping to defray the convention’s substantial costs by staying at the host hotel. Please visit our registration page to learn more about these great deals and much more.
Want to help PulpFest? Then stop at our survey page where you can take a poll and share your ideas on how to improve your summer pulp con. Whether or not you have attended PulpFest in the past or if you are planning to attend in 2014, we’d love to hear from you. And to thank everyone who responds, we’ll be offering three free memberships to PulpFest 2014. That’s a $30 value! All you have to do is fill out our survey and provide your name and best contact information in the space provided on the form. Of course, your responses will be held strictly confidential. Thanks for your help.
From information about our dealers and programming plans to details about nominating someone for the Munsey Award, introductions to our newest committee members, and a brief history of the bloody pulps, you’ll find it here at www.pulpfest.com. Why not take some time right now and click through the site? You might learn something you never knew about the one and only great summer pulp con called PulpFest! We look forward to seeing you in August!
William Lampkin, editor of The Pulpster and creator of The Pulp.Net, designed the 2014 flyer that will promote this year’s PulpFest. Bill used Graves Gladney’s front cover art to the July 1939 Astounding Science Fiction.
|Lilly Library (photo by "Vmenkov")|
G. K. Chesterton was once commissioned to illustrate the Doyle stories (imagine Father Brown on Sherlock Holmes)! The volume was never published, but Lilly has his sketches, among them the Reichenbach scene, done in blue crayon.