US judge rules Sherlock Holmes and Watson are in the public domain

If you've had a Sherlock Holmes in space novel idea kicking around your head, now might be a good time to start writing it. A United States federal judge has ruled that Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and other elements of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories are no longer covered by US copyright law. » 12/28/13 10:00am 12/28/13 10:00am

Did Disney steal this Alice in Wonderland image?

Certain corners of Tumblr and the Internet at large have erupted this week after artist Katie Woodger posted this image and explained that an image she created, featuring Lewis Carroll's heroine Alice, appeared on cosmetic bags being sold by Disney—and Disney never asked for her permission to use the image. So how… » 4/14/13 7:00am 4/14/13 7:00am

Why it's so expensive to license the rights to a fictional character

Recently, two seemingly contradictory pieces of copyright law have popped up in the news. One is the case of Jonathan Coulton, whose arrangement of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" was lifted by the producers of Glee. Another is the recent case of a car customizer who was barred from making Batmobiles by a District… » 2/27/13 12:00pm 2/27/13 12:00pm

Judge rules that it's illegal to sell custom Batmobiles because the…

California resident Mark Towle runs car customizing shop Gotham Garage, which makes replicas of cars from TVs and movies. Naturally, Batmobiles were on the menu, at least until Warner Bros. smacked Towle with a lawsuit for violating its intellectual property. Now a U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Lew judge has ruled… » 2/10/13 4:00pm 2/10/13 4:00pm

Archaeologists banned from referring to ancient humanoids as "hobbits"

Homo floresiensis likely stood about 3'6", making this prehistoric human roughly the average height of one of J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbits. For years, Flores Man has been referred to by the nickname "hobbit," contributing to the species' popularity. But one company that owns film rights in The Hobbit has decided that the… » 11/04/12 3:00pm 11/04/12 3:00pm

What Copyright Ruling Really Means For Superman

If you're concerned that the family of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel regaining part of the copyright to Action Comics #1 means that you're going to be deprived of new Superman comics or episodes of Smallville, then I have good news for you. That's not going to happen anytime soon, as DC Comics still owns half of… » 3/31/08 7:30am 3/31/08 7:30am