Thursday, February 14, 2013

221 be mine, if you're free, Holmes.

Twitter is certainly earning its electrons today.

The past twenty-four hours have been a lovefest for BBC Sherlock under the hashtag #221BeMine (from a line found in the Baker Street Babe's theme song, "Won't you 221 be mine?"). And then the first word of a Sherlockian lawyer versus lawyer legal battle with #FreeSherlock.

The former was plentiful and lovely, little poems and quips of Valentine's love for a show we haven't seen for a year, yet obviously inspires true love in its fans. Reading them brought back many a fond memory of just how good Sherlock was, and to put it in the mode of the day: Roses are red, violets are blue, a rewatch of Sherlock is long overdue.

The Baker Street Babes and friends are once again showing the old school Sherlockian world how this internet thing is done, if we're paying attention, with all the charm and sense of fun that has been the hallmark of any great Sherlockiana in any past medium. You say the web is more ephemeral than ink on paper? Think about it for a moment. It's paper. Yeah.

And then, as Valentine's Day wound to a close, word came of Les Klinger sending out the ultimate love note to our friend Sherlock Holmes: a civil action against the Conan Doyle estate to stop their claims of ownership of the characters of Sherlock and Dr. Watson, based on the ten stories that remain in copyright. Intellectual property is a very hot topic in the information age, but should a commercial entity have control over a hundred year old cultural demigod whose presence is spread so far across our world that no man could take it all in, much less control it?

Back when Conan Doyle's last living descendant was still around, it was easy to gain sympathy with a sort of  "Would you take this nice old lady's father's legacy away from her?" But now, with one mediocre Holmes novel being touted as the first "authorized" Holmes book for no particular reason other than to empower a vague entity called "the Conan Doyle Estate," there seems to be no reason for said entity than as a weird investment for some folks that Conan Doyle or his heirs did not feel like putting in their wills to begin with.

If Les Klinger's suit is successful, Sherlock Holmes will no longer be "owned" by anyone in America and thus belong to all of us, as he truly has all along. And at that point, "221 be mine" will take on an even more powerful meaning.

It's been a good day.

1 comment:

  1. Lawsuits are read, the gauntlet is threw,
    Freedom for Sherlock and Watson is due.