SPA/ESP: Sherlock Holmes - El Signo de los Cuatro

This course has been up for a while, but I’ve just shared the last part/chapter of the book: “La extraña historia de Jonathan Small” which is long enough to justify taking up ten lessons’ worth of space(!)

The good news is that this course, like the German version of Hound of the Baskervilles, is derived from Librivox. This means I’m as sure as I can be that this is 100% copyright free. In terms of the text, I had my work cut out, because all that’s available for this version is a scan of a 1909 translation (La Señal de los Cuatro : Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir, 1859-1930 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive) from which I had to extract the text using an online tool ( Slow work, but worth it.

Whilst using LingQ to proof-read the extracted text of El Signo de los Cuatro, I have also been giving the same treatment to a series of shorter Sherlock Holmes stories (LibriVox). These are already converted, scan-to-text, and uploaded to LingQ (see below).

I should be able to proof-read and share these at the rate of one per week (more or less). My goal is to create an entire Sherlock Holmes shelf in the Spanish section, all of it completely beyond reproach in terms of copyright and thus something of a flagship.


I am a great fan of the Sherlock Holmes Stories. I started out with the original, where the copyright is no longer valid. It is possible to find it on the internet. For translations it is a matter of the copyright with respect to the translator. If you find an audio book in English it is not a problem, as it is not translated. If you have the stories in other languages you have to be lucky that the audio book uses the same translation. So I see the use of extracting the text from the audio. But is it not still a copy right question? Or does it matter how old the translation is? Thank you for your great effort.

Pleasure, Gaarde, hope you get some use out of them. Thanks to Bamboozled, I found out about Wikicommons’ Copyright rules by territory article (Commons:Copyright rules by territory - Wikimedia Commons). The upshot is that there seems to be a global trend that copyright expires on a work 70+ years after the death of its author. As the translation was written in 1909, I think we’re on safe ground! Thankfully, it seems the Spanish-speaking world jumped on the Holmes bandwagon pretty soon after Conan Doyle published the English originals.