Conan Doyle’s estate sues Netflix for giving Sherlock Holmes too much feeling

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s inheritance has sued Netflix for his upcoming movie Enola Holmes, arguing that the film’s portrayal of public domain character Sherlock Holmes who is emotional and respectful of women violates Doyle’s copyright.

Enola Holmes It is based on a series of Nancy Springer novels starring a newly created teenage sister of the famous detective. They feature many elements of the Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories, and most of these elements are not covered by copyright, thanks to a series of court rulings in early 2010. However, the details of 10 stories are still the property of Doyle’s inheritance. The state argues that Springer’s books, and by extension the Netflix adaptation, extract key elements from those stories. She is suing not only Netflix, but Springer, her publisher Penguin Random House, and the film’s producing company for unspecified financial damages.

Doyle’s property made a similar argument five years ago in a lawsuit against Miramax for his movie. Mr. Holmes among other things, he stated Mr holmes It included details of the plot about Holmes’s retirement, which only occurs in the final stories. But his new plot is much more abstract: Basically, if this movie wants Sherlock Holmes to express emotions, its creators must pay.

The complaint alleges that in the public domain stories, Holmes is famously “aloof and emotionless.” So, that changed due to the life experiences of its creator:

After the stories that are now in the public domain, and before the Copyrighted Stories, the Great War happened. In World War I, Conan Doyle lost his oldest son, Arthur Alleyne Kingsley. Four months later he lost his brother, Brigadier General Innes Doyle. When Conan Doyle returned to Holmes in the Copyrighted Stories between 1923 and 1927, it was no longer enough that Holmes’s character was the brightest analytical and rational mind. Holmes needed to be human. The character needed to develop human connection and empathy.

Conan Doyle made the surprising artistic decision that his most famous character, known worldwide as a heartless brain, would become a character with a heart. Holmes became warmer. He became capable of friendship. He could express emotion. He began to respect women.

He also starts to like dogs, which is actually a judge have described as a potentially protected trait.

Hollywood reporter He notes that Doyle’s estate struggled against the partial public domain ruling by unsuccessfully arguing that Sherlock Holmes slowly became a complex figure who needed full copyright protection to stay consistent. The estate claimed that losing the copyright to some of the stories gave Holmes “multiple personalities.”

So the state now says that Springer and Netflix are building Enola Holmes in the personality that is still protected. And key traits of the new personality include relating to other people and reacting “warmth and excitement” to a female character who happens to be her immediate family; in other words, some of the most basic updates any author could make to a century old. character. The complaint even includes some fun literary analyzes of how tough the original Holmes was:

His closest companion, Watson, revered Holmes and was generous in his admiration. But for Holmes, Watson was utilitarian: he used it when he was useful and then left it aside. Holmes did not treat Watson warmly. Holmes said to him, “You have a great gift for silence, Watson. It makes you very valuable as a partner. ” (“The man with the crooked lip”). Holmes did not even congratulate Watson when Watson told Holmes that he was to marry Holmes’s client, Mary Morstan.

Hilariously, it also suggests copyright specifically It covers Sherlock Holmes worried about whether Watson is injured or kidnapped, which may come as a surprise to the characters’ massive fanfictions.