Public Domain/Copyright status of REH's Works and Creations Aug 14, 2019 11:56:16 GMT -5
Post by deepermagic on Aug 14, 2019 11:56:16 GMT -5
This is why it's so important that, in the upcoming years, the stories for characters like Conan and Solomon Kane will definitively become public domain. It essentially clears out all of the weeds and gives us extreme clarity. There will still be trademarks on Conan, etc, I'm sure, but the teeth those license holders have will have less bite. Once the whole of a character's story becomes definitively public domain, then it will be extremely hard to fight a legal battle against anyone using that PD material in whatever way they want.
There is precedent for this. The license holder for Sherlock Holmes tried to use Trademark law to essentially enforce that which was no longer covered by copyright law (because much of Sherlock Holmes had already entered public domain), and the ruling actually made a lot of sense. The newly written stories about Sherlock Holmes were perfectly legal, so long as they did not describe the character in a way that was not yet in the public domain and still under copyright law (not all the works had been released into the public domain yet). That is an extraordinary (and I think correct) ruling that goes a long way in taking the bite out of corporations and estates litigating the hell out of everyone who comes close to infringing on their Trademark. It's got to be a clear violation, usually an attempt to deceive the consumer into thinking it's an official product of the IP holder when it isn't, in order for a holder of a Trademarked IP to sue.
Where we're at with Howard and his many IP characters now is that grey, weedy jungle. That will all soon dissipate and it'll be fantastic.