Netflix was recently sued along with Nancy Springer, Penguin Random House and their film production house for their new series called Enola Holmes earlier this June. The series is based on a collection of books authored by Springer. The series is based on the journey of Sherlock Holme’s sister Enola Holmes.
The claim of intellectual property rights infringement was made by the heirs of Conon Doyle over the “feelings” portrayed by Sherlock in Enola Holmes. In the year of 2014, majority of Conon Doyle’s works on Sherlock Holmes entered the public domain. The parties suing claim that the feelings of compassion, sadness and kindness were associated with Sherlock Holmes as portrayed in Doyle’s newer works. This claim was previously made by the same parties against the Miramax’s 2015 release, Mr. Holmes, which was settled outside the court room.
It is important to consider that the author Conan Doyle had created Sherlock to be an extremely intelligent and witty character who paid little-to-no heed to human emotions such as love and empathy. These new additions were made as a part of Doyle’s creative decision in his newer works which are still protected by the copyright law. It is yet to be decide by the US Court as to whether “feelings” can be protected under the copyright or the trademark law in relation to a fictional character.