By A.J. Etherington
The Courier 

Sean R. Heavey Sues Netflix Over Copyright Infrigement


September 19, 2018

Glasgow-based, professional photographer Sean R. Heavey filed suit against Netflix in Federal Court in Great Falls, Mont. on Sept. 13. The suit alleges Netflix used Heavey’s copyrighted photo, dubbed the “Mothership,” numerous times in three separate “original” Netflix productions.

According to the suit, Heavey registered the photograph with the United States Copyright Office in Nov. 2010, after submitting it to the National Geographic Photography Contest that same year. The photo has since been licensed and used countless times around the globe.

Among other grievances, the lawsuit alleges, “Netflix, without Sean’s permission or consent, created a derivative work from “The Mothership” by incorporating it into the content of Netflix “originals,” Stranger Things, Beyond Stranger Things, and How It Ends.” It also claims that Netflix knowingly violated Heavey’s rights and that they intended to conceal the infringement by removing “copyright management data” from the photo.

Heavey is seeking the following:

“[A]ll damages he suffered as a result of Netflix’s copyright infringement to the fullest extent allowed by law, including:

a. ordering Netflix to account to Sean for all gains, profits, and advantages derived by Netflix by its infringement of Sean’s copyright or such damages as are proper;

b. the maximum allowable statutory damages for each violation because Netflix intentionally infringed Sean’s copyright; and

c. all of Sean’s actual and/or statutory damages for Netflix’s copyright infringement.

62. for an award of all Sean’s attorneys’ fees and costs to the fullest extent allowed by law, including pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 505, 17 U.S.C. § 1203(b)(3), and § 1203(b)(5);

63. for all pre- and post-judgment interest to the fullest extent allowed by law; and

64. for all other relief this Court deems just, equitable, and proper.”


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