Heir to the (not so) Throne – Public Domain and Legacy

Publisher Weekly published an article today regarding the beloved character Sherlock Holmes and an author/lawyer asking that he be legally declared within public domain.

You can read the article here: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/copyright/article/56020-lawsuit-seeks-to-put-sherlock-holmes-in-the-public-domain.html

The debate occurring in the comment thread boiled down to this: once work is able to be considered public domain, should it even be considered so, regardless of the law? Or should the heirs be taken into consideration even if the author has not built a trust in which to do so?

One commenter observed that it’d behoove an author to dictate in detail what should happen with their work and the rights to their work when the public domain time occurs. 

It made me wonder – what would I do?

I love my children. I love my partner. But should my characters or my stories reach a point in which other writers wish to weave them into their own prose, why should I deny them that?

It ALWAYS comes down to money, but coming from a writer who has to seek out other ways in which to make ends meet, money isn’t everything. It really, really isn’t.

If I am so lucky as to have a writing career that is monetarily successful, I will set aside money for my daughters to have a good start. They will go to college and they will not want for anything during those four years in which they discover their passions and pursue their dreams. But then, they’re on their own. They will make their own way. They will work hard. And they will appreciate it when they are older. 

What they will NOT do is grip the noose around my characters and my work purely for money’s sake. My characters were created to live, to thrive, to be read. I hope that they do.

 

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