Friday, December 27, 2013

Sherlock Holmes Set Free

Arthur Conan Doyle's classic character Sherlock Holmes first appeared in a story published in 1887. One hundred twenty-six years later, a federal judge in Illinois has ruled that the character of the great detective is in the public domain, free for all the public to use.

The victory for the public, however, is not complete. The judge noted that story elements introduced after 1922 (such as Watson's second wife or Holmes's retirement) remain protected by copyright, so creators who want to use Holmes in their stories still need to be careful.

You can read the court's ruling here.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hello, World

Last month, I published my first book, "The Legal Mind: How the Law Thinks." (Amazon.) The Legal Mind explains in plain English how the law figures out facts and sets rules. These are fascinating topics, but where is the right place for a blog to begin?

I struggled with where to start, and then I saw this:

(Via @rickygervais)

Our ability to perceive events and then describe what we perceived is far more limited than most of us realize. This problem is most acute with eyewitness testimony.

The challenge of dealing with eyewitness testimony in the legal system is discussed at length in The Legal Mind, but a picture is worth a thousand words, and that's as good a place to start a blog as any.