The Curious Case of the Modern Sherlock
A simmering copyright fight over Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous sleuth could hold clues for Hollywood's future.
One might assume that Sherlock Holmes, the iconic pipe-smoking detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the 19th century, is a property of the public domain, free for endless spinoffs. Hundreds of films, TV shows, plays and stories featuring Mr. Holmes have appeared since Doyle's four novels and 56 short stories drolly celebrated his crime-solving genius. But producers of the BBC hit show Sherlock and those behind CBS' new pilot Elementary are suiting up for a possible fight over the 125-year-old crusader. The tussle could have enormous implications for an industry obsessed with mining backworks to create lucrative new projects.
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