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Public Domain

The Bible May Become Louisiana’s Official State Book

thebibleThe King James version of the Bible may become the official book of the state of Louisiana. Legislation passed the House Committee on Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs this week. The bill will now head to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

The Times-Picayune has the scoop: “Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, originally filed a bill to declare a specific copy of the Bible, found in the Louisiana State Museum system, the official state book. But by the time he presented the proposal to the committee, he changed language  in his legislation to make the generic King James version of the Bible, a text used worldwide, the official state book.”

Some opponents say that the bill should not be limited to the King James version of the Bible and should include all versions of the Bible or even all religious text to include more religions.

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Sherlock Holmes is Now in the Public Domain

HolmesDrawingAdventuresSherlock Holmes stories are now a part of the public domain, according to a new ruling from a federal judge.

The decision comes out of a lawsuit brought about by author Leslie S. Klinger against the Conan Doyle estate. Klinger was working on an anthology called In the Company of Sherlock Holmes and the estate contacted the publisher  Pegasus Books explaining that they must get a license in order to publish a book. The estate said they would block the book from major book retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The publisher didn’t want to get sued  or get blocked from the big book store chains and dropped the book.

The author asserted that he didn’t need a license, claiming that the characters, character traits and other story elements from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories are free for the public to copy under the Copyright Act.

The judge ruled that while certain character elements that were written post 1923 are protected under copyright law, “Klinger and the public may use the pre-1923 story elements without seeking a license.” (Via The New York Times).

 

J.R.R. Tolkien & George Orwell Removed From Public Domain

Last week, the Supreme Court made a decision to uphold a copyright law for foreign works that will remove works from famous authors from the public domain.

eBookNewser has more: “Texts from  J.R.R. Tolkien and George Orwell have been removed from the public domain in the United States, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling this week. On Wednesday, The Supreme Court upheld a 1994 law which gives copyright protection to body of foreign works that had previously been available for free in the public domain.”

Google fought to overturn the law, while Hollywood wanted the law kept in place.  The Wall Street Journal explains: “Google Inc. was the leading company challenging the law, in an echo of the separate battle in Washington over an Internet piracy bill that pits Google against movie studios. The search company, which didn’t respond to a request for comment, said in court papers that the restored copyrights could affect more than a million books it has scanned through its Google Books Library Project.”