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Copyright Blog

The Case for Infringement Continues

Defendants respond to Doyle Estate's allegations of infringement

On June 23, 2020, the estate of Conan Doyle (the "Estate") filed a lawsuit against multiple defendants ("Defendants") alleging infringement due to the recent book series and Netflix movie about Enola Holmes. We first reported on this case in our June 29, 2020, post.

The Defendants have filed Answers to the complaint. One of the answers was filed by Nancy Springer, author of the Enola Holmes book series. A separate answer was filed by several defendants, including Netflix who produced the new Enola Holmes film.

Silhouette of Detective

While there are multiple defendants in this case, their arguments are basically the same. The Defendants deny the Estate's infringement allegations while asserting that the Estate has a “well-known and long-established unlawful business practice of falsely claiming ownership over material that is in the public domain and demanding licensing fees to which it is not entitled for the use of such material.”

The Defendants deny that the Doyle works as a whole are copyrighted material and they claim that derivative works can be published. They argue that these “’copyrighted stories’ – in fact, at least four of the ten stories are in the public domain” and because of this they claim that they did not have "any obligation to seek permission from the Estate."

We will continue to provide update as litigation continues.