Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd.

With the net effect on creativity of extending the copy-right protection of literary characters to the extraordinary lengths urged by the estate so uncertain, and no legal grounds suggested for extending copyright protection be-yond the limits fixed by Congress, the estate’s appeal bor-ders on the quixotic. The spectre of perpetual, or at least nearly perpetual, copyright (perpetual copyright would vio-late the copyright clause of the Constitution, Art. I, § 8, cl. 8, which authorizes copyright protection only for “limited Times”) looms, once one realizes that the Doyle estate is seeking 135 years (1887–2022) of copyright protection for the character of Sherlock Holmes as depicted in the first Sher-lock Holmes story. AFFIRMED.

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