filed with the United States District Court of New Mexico.
In June 2014 the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit issued its decision in Leslie Klinger v Conan Doyle Estate, in which upheld the decision of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois - Eastern Division that author Leslie Klinger was free to use material in the 50 Sherlock Holmes stories and novels that were no longer protected by copyright. Writing on behalf of the Court, Circuit Judge Richard Posner recalled the decision in Silverman v CBS, in which the 2nd Circuit held that when a story falls into the public domain, its story elements - including its characters - also do. Works derived from earlier works whose copyright has expired may nonetheless be protected, but copyright will only extend to the "incremental additions of originality contributed by the authors of the derivative works." The Supreme Court refused an appeal.
Now Benjamin Allison, the attorney for the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate, has told TheWrap that it has reached a settlement in principle with filmmakers: The terms of the settlement are still unknown, but Cullin’s novel will cite the use of copyrighted material moving forward. Law360 confirms that papers have been filed to settle the case.
In a somewhat more friendly approach than earlier legal actions and public statements, Mr Allison went on to say “We admire both the book and the movie — and we have told the defendants that” adding “But much of the setting, plot and especially the character and emotional makeup of Sherlock Holmes as an older man come straight from copyrighted stories. Those stories are among the most original and creative works of modern fiction, and they should not be ripped off just because older Conan Doyle stories are in the public domain.”
The film has grossed close to $17 million since its domestic (US) release on July 17.