Conan Doyle estate sues Netflix over inaccurate ’emotional’ Sherlock

By July 2, 2020Adaptations, News

The Conan Doyle estate is suing Netflix for alleged breach of copyright of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes.

The estate accuses Netflix of imagining Sherlock Holmes of having human feelings and showing respect towards women.

The movie Enola Holmes that stars actor Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) is an adaptation of the Nancy Springer novels that imagines the detective has a teenage sister.

A court case held previously had established that Sherlock Holmes novels are public domain, however the lawsuit alleges the detective actually developed feelings in the final 10 books only, and as they remain under the control of Arthur Conan Doyle estate, Springer’s (and in turn Netflix’s) depiction violates copyright.

Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, and Sam Claflin star in Enola Holmes

“Holmes became warmer. He became capable of friendship. He could express emotion. He began to respect women,” the claim stated.

The lawsuit also notes that when Doyle wrote the later novels, he had lost a brother and an eldest son in WWI: “It was no longer enough that the Holmes character was the most brilliant rational and analytical mind. Holmes needed to be human.”

The suit claims Springer’s “novels copy Conan Doyle’s original additions in the Copyrighted Stories. Among other copied elements, the Springer novels make extensive infringing use of Conan Doyle’s transformation of Holmes from cold and critical to warm, respectful, and kind in his relationships.”

In addition to Netflix, the lawsuit also targets Springer, her publisher Penguin Random House and the producer of the latest film Legendary Pictures.

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