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Recently I sent the final draft of a collection of early Sherlockian parodies (that appeared during Conan Doyle’s lifetime) to MX publishers (in Britain) and thought that was all I had to do with the manuscript.
About a week or so ago I got back a suggestion from Steve Emerz, the editor, that it would be a good idea to contact Jon Lellenburg about seeing if I needed a license to sell the book in the U. S.
I have as yet not done so.
In retirement I began collecting Sherlockian parodies published before 1930, Conan Doyle’s death.
I made a selection of around sixty of these for the book, most pre World War I. The book would run about 300 pages. I avoided selecting more than just a few of the well known ones. Some were chosen from already published but out-of-print publications, some available in such current publications as Adey’s, and many Julie McKuras dug out for me in the Shaw collection at the University of Minnesota.
To these I added an introduction and comments on each of the entries—where first published, sometimes how I obtained it, author’s dates if known, etc.
2500 Breton Woods Dr SE
Grand Rapids MI 49512
1 616 827 8380
My wife is a screen/TV writer and playwright who has written an original musical play about Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It includes many of Doyle’s characters + Doyle himself as a character. We are both professionals in the entertainment industry residing in Los Angeles. Would you have time to speak with me about this project and the copyright issue?
Good grief! The last filing was in September and it is now December. Has the judge not rendered a decision yet?
I am writing a series of Sherlock Holmes pastiches. I plan to work with MX Publishing (Steve Emecz) in London who wants to publish them. Steve suggested I contact Jon Lellenburg about seeing if I needed a license to sell the book in the U. S. He indicated it wasn’t legally required, but would help to sell my book in abroad.
I contacted Jon Lellenburg trying to confirm information I was given regarding a license fee of what I was told was a fee of 10% of royalties with a $100 advance. I received the following reply from Mr. Lellenburg:
I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. Partly it’s due to the press of business, but it’s also the case that I’m overdue in getting back to Mr. Emecz as promised to discuss regularizing the relationship between Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. and MX Publishing across the board where Sherlock Holmes is concerned. The Estate’s “seal of approval” is not mandatory in the UK where he is, because the Sherlock Holmes stories are in the public domain there, but he thinks it helps the books generally. The legal situation in the United States is very different, and here it’s role is as a trademark seal, and MX’s Sherlock Holmes books if distributed and sold here (where I am) need to carry it, under terms of license for the use of the Sherlock Holmes characters in the USA. I need to get back to Mr. Emecz so we can work out the details for the future.
If you wish, I’m willing to negotiate with you directly on your proposed collection of stories, as I do in most cases with authors. I will need at some point to see your text, and if you’re not at that point some additional information now about the stories you want to write would be helpful. We don’t exercise editorial control over Sherlock Holmes pastiche in detailed ways, but we do need to assure ourselves that the stories and their use of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters don’t make the rightsholders uncomfortable, as Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. is not only concerned for the well-being of the Brand, but is a group of family members.
I am not sure where the $100 advance you mention comes from, because our standard advance on royalties for pastiches published the way you propose is $250. We require (as you note) ten percent of your income from the book, with semi-annual accountings and the $250 advance on royalties upon execution of the license, certain acknowledgments including the trademark seal in all editions of the work, a few copies of any print edition of it, and we reserve our rights with respect to any dramatizations of the work, by which I mean a television or motion picture or other version of it requires a separate agreement between Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. and the producer and/or exhibitor of the dramatization (which is almost always better for its author as well as the Estate).
Since there seems to be the need for further conversations between Steve Emecz and Jon Lellenburg, I am holding off any further communication with Lellenburg until MX Publishing has been able to reach a clearer understanding.
I would welcome any advice and counsel regarding how to proceed.