A suit was filed at the US District Court in Great Falls against Netflix for using a photograph whose rights belonged to Sean Heavy, in two of its productions, without the consent of the owner.
The photo belonged to Sean Heavey, a photographer from Montana a state in the Northwestern United States photographer, who claims that Netflix used his photo of a giant storm cloud in Montana sky entitled ‘The Mothership’ in the American TV series ‘Stranger Things’ and the movie ‘How it Ends’.
Heavey registered the copyright for ‘The Mothership’ at US Copyright Office in 2010. He first filed a complaint against Netflix in May 2018 on spotting a portion of his image being used in Stranger things. He posted a side by side comparison of his photo and an image from Stranger Things’ episode 3 on Facebook earlier this year questioning the similarity between the two images. He stated that the photo was made with great effort after numerous experiments with framing, exposure, shutter speed and movement options. Additionally, he spotted usage of the same photo in the movie ‘How it ends’. Netflix claims that the concept art is ‘not virtually identical’ to Heavey’s photo and hence, believes that it was within their rights to use the photo. After failing to solve the dispute outside the court, Heavey approached legal system to serve him with justice.
Heavey demands Netflix to stop using ‘The Mothership’ without his permission along with relevant damages and legal fees.