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Netflix is being sued because it showed Sherlock Holmes with feelings

Turns out, our favourite sleuth’s ability to show emotion is still under copyright.

To hear a Holmes solve crimes is hardly newsworthy. But, it will interest you to know it’s no longer Sherlock whom you can turn to solve the most fiendish of mysteries. Please welcome Enola Holmes, the 16-year old sister of Mycroft and Sherlock whose eponymous film hit Netflix this Wednesday (23 September). 

Based on Nancy Springer's 2006 novel "The Case of the Missing Marquess," we see actress Millie Bobby Brown essay young Enola who escapes from her brothers to search for her missing mother and thwart a murder mystery along the way. 

Netflix now finds itself amid a copyright infringement tangle because of the film. Why? Because it showed Sherlock Holmes with feelings. Yes, you read it right. The Conan Doyle Estate had filed the lawsuit in June against Netflix, Legendary Pictures, Penguin Random House, author Nancy Springer, among others. 

As per The Hollywood Reporter, “Back in 2014, the Doyle Estate rather famously lost most of its hold on Sherlock Holmes when it was ruled that all of the stories authored about the iconic fictional detective before 1923 were in the public domain… But the ruling didn't strip away the Doyle Estate's hold on his last 10 original stories authored between 1923 and 1927 — for whatever they are worth… In the latest lawsuit, the Doyle Estate alleges that the difference between the public domain stories and the copyrighted ones is emotions.” 

The complaint states, “In addition to using the public domain Holmes and Watson characters, the 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.”

You can read the entire complaint here.