Comics A.M. | Judge rules Sherlock Holmes is in public domain

Legal | In a decision that will undoubtedly usher in more Holmes and Watson novels, comic books, movies and television, a federal judge has issued a declarative judgment that the elements included in the 50 Sherlock Holmes stories published by Arthur Conan Doyle before Jan. 1, 1923 are in the public domain in the United States. That means creators are free to use the characters and elements from those stories (but not from the 10 published after 1923) without paying a licensing fee to the protective Arthur Conan Doyle Estate Ltd.

The ruling came as a result of a lawsuit filed early this year by Leslie Klinger, who served as an adviser on director Guy Ritchie's two Sherlock Holmes films and with Laurie R. King edited In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of new stories written by different authors. Although Klinger and King had paid a $5,000 licensing fee for a previous Holmes-inspired collection, their publisher received a letter from the Conan Doyle estate demanding another fee; in response, Klinger sued. [The New York Times]

Comics | Tom Spurgeon continues his holiday interviews with a chat with Dean Mullaney, who once was the co-owner of Eclipse Comics and now is the editor of The Library of American Comics. [The Comics Reporter]

Webcomics | Spurgeon also talks to Fleen blogger Gary Tyrrell about the state of the webcomics industry. [The Comics Reporter]

Creators | Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples's Saga has been the standout comic of the past two years, so it's appropriate that Paste Magazine devotes its first comics-related cover story to an in-depth interview with both creators. [Paste Magazine]

Creators | Artist Chip Zdarsky talks about Sex Criminals. [Comics Alliance]

Creators | Robot 6 contributor Chris Arrant talks to Brandon Graham about the impending end of Prophet. [Newsarama]

Creators | Jon Katz worked behind the scenes on the Scribblenauts Unmasked game, and the covers he created using the game assets led to a gig doing 10 real variant covers for DC Comics. [Polygon]

Best of the year | Crave Online selects its 10 favorite comics writers of 2013. [Crave Online]

Best of the year | Topless Robot counts down the best manga of 2013. [Topless Robot]

Best of the year | The Oklahoman features editor, and direct-market retailer, Matthew Price picks the 10 best comics series of the year. [NewsOK]

Commentary | Martha Thomases looks at the growing importance of women in the comics industry and the significance of everyone talking about sexual harassment these days. [ComicMix]

Commentary | Harry Edmundson-Cornell discusses why so many comics adaptations from other media fall flat. [Sequart]

Digital comics | The yaoi manga publisher SuBLime is now offering digital versions of 53 titles in Amazon's Kindle Store. [Anime News Network]

Retailing | Former English teacher Brad Gile always dreamed of opening a comics shop, and earlier this year he did just that: He's the owner of Stairway to Heaven Comics, in Exeter, New Hampshire, which offers a wide variety of comics for a wide variety of customers. [Seacoast Online]

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