Watch your pics on Netflix

A photographer from Montana filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Netflix accusing the American media services provider of illegally using his photo of a supercell thunderstorm for the trailer of the hit show ‘Stranger Things’.

Sean R. Heavey discovered in May of this year that part of his photo was being copied and used in the Netflix original series ‘Beyond Stranger Things’ without permission or license from the photographer or his authorized agent.

The image of the impressive cloud had apparently been extracted from one of Heavey’s photos from 2010, titled ‘The Mothership’. The image was featured in publications (such as Discovery Magazine, the NY Post, USA Today, National Geographic) and made available online all over the world.

Netflix first responded to the allegations stating that copyright law does not protect objects as they appear in nature: cloud formation cannot be copyright protected.

In his complaint of September 13th, Heavey states that he captured ‘The Mothership’ using great technical skill and careful timing, he tracked and followed the storm for many hours.

Moreover, the author registered the photograph with the United States Copyright Office. With the appropriation of ‘The Mothership’ photograph without permission or consent, Netflix violated the author’s exclusive rights of reproduction and distribution. The lawsuit seeks to stop any use of the photograph without permission by Netflix as well as damages and attorney’s fees.

To be continued…

Would you like to keep an eye on the outcome? Check out the decision in the Darts-ip database here: D.Mont._4-18-cv-00121_1 and be sure to create a dedicated alert so you’ll be notified the moment new data is available.

*Cover photo from Niccolò Ubalducci license 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)