15 Jan NETFLIX REACHES SETTLEMENT ON ENOLA HOLMES’ SHERLOCK LAWSUIT
Netflix has settled the lawsuit with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate that claimed Enola Holmes‘ Sherlock character was a copyright infringement.
The complaint was filed by the estate back in June last year against Netflix, Legendary Pictures, Nancy Stringer (whose book series forms the basis of the movie) and Random House (Stringer’s publishers). The estate claimed copyright infringement over the portrayal of Sherlock and trademark violations in Enola Holmes, a film about Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister played by Millie Bobby Brown from Stranger Things.
While the Doyle estate lost the rights to most of its works to the public domain in 2014, the estate still partially maintains authority over Doyle’s final ten original stories in The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes published between 1921 and 1927. The stories feature a kinder and more empathetic Sherlock than the earlier Sherlock Holmes stories, which depicted him as cold, misogynistic, and incapable of friendship. Because Enola Holmes’ version of Sherlock, played by Henry Cavill, displays a level of kindness and warmness toward his sister, the lawsuit claimed that the film was infringing upon the estate’s copyright.
This is not the first time the Doyle estate has laid claims over the emotional Sherlock character. In 2015, they sued Miramax over their portrayal of Sherlock in the film Mr. Holmes, starring Sir Ian McKellen, but the lawsuit was also settled out of court.
As of January 1, 2023, the last of the ten stories will enter the public domain, meaning the Doyle estate will no longer have a claim over the kind and warm portrayal of Sherlock.