Giving It Away at The Strand: A Short Story of Rights and Relationships in Intellectual Property

11 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2015 Last revised: 10 Feb 2015

See all articles by Ross E. Davies

Ross E. Davies

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty; The Green Bag

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

In early 1916, Arthur Conan Doyle (the versatile and productive Victorian/Edwardian-era writer remembered nowadays mostly for his Sherlock Holmes stories), sent a letter and a package to Herbert Greenhough Smith, his longtime editor at The Strand Magazine. Could it be that Conan Doyle was having a little fun, making a slightly grim legal joke about his demand that the Strand return his old manuscripts? He may well have known enough about intellectual property law, or about the history of publishing, to be aware that some of the most important ownership-of-manuscript lawsuits had involved letters and diaries. And in “The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez” (the story in the package Conan Doyle had sent) the killing of an innocent person – a character who might have been based on Herbert Greenhough Smith – happens during a righteous attempt by another person to recover wrongfully withheld letters and a diary.

Keywords: Arthur Conan Doyle, author, intellectual property, manuscript, publisher, Sherlock Holmes, Strand Magazine, The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Davies, Ross E., Giving It Away at The Strand: A Short Story of Rights and Relationships in Intellectual Property (2014). 4 Journal of Law 255 (2014); George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 15-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2561530

Ross E. Davies (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

The Green Bag ( email )

6600 Barnaby St., NW
Washington, DC 20015
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.greenbag.org

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