1 March 2019Copyright

Fyre Festival attendee takes Netflix to court

A Fyre Festival attendee has accused  Netflix of using her video in its documentary about the infamous luxury music festival.

Clarissa Cardenas filed a copyright lawsuit yesterday, February 28 at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

In her  Instagram bio, Cardenas, an influencer with 16,000 Instagram followers, calls herself: “Your source for Concerts, Music Festivals, and Events around Austin & beyond”.

While the video does not appear to feature on her Instagram page, Cardenas has accused Netflix of using the video in its documentary “ Fyre”. In her filing, Cardenas has included a still image of her video, which features the accommodation at Fyre Festival.

“The Fyre Festival was billed as a luxury music experience on a posh private island, but it failed spectacularly in the hands of a cocky entrepreneur,” said Netflix in its description of the documentary.

Jerry Media, Fyre Festival’s marketing agency which co-produced the film with Netflix, has also been named in the suit.

Cardenas registered her video at the US Copyright Office, under  PA 2-153-792. It was registered in December last year. The festival attendee has also registered two other videos related to Fyre Festival at the office.

She’s now seeking damages and profits, or statutory damages of up to $150,000. Cardenas has also asked the court to require the defendants to account for all profits and other benefits derived by Netflix and Jerry Media as a result of their unlawful conduct.

Richard Liebowitz, founder of Liebowitz Law Firm, is representing Cardenas.

In April last year, WIPR  reported that the licensee of Kendall + Kylie Inc, a fashion brand set up by reality TV personalities Kendall and Kylie Jenner, had requested damages from Liebowitz and his client for a “frivolous” copyright suit.

Liebowitz was accused of being a “copyright troll” and “one of the most prolific filers of copyright lawsuits” in the US. The lawsuit claimed that Liebowitz has filed more than 450 copyright infringement suits since December 2015.

Entrepreneur and now convicted fraudster Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule organised the luxury musical festival, which was scheduled to take place in 2017 on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma.

Social media influencers, including models Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, were used to promote the festival.

But the event organisers were not prepared. The festival experienced numerous problems during its inaugural weekend, including issues with accommodation, food and artist relations.

The organisers are now subject to a number of lawsuits, several of which are seeking class-action status.

In June 2017, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York charged McFarland with one count of wire fraud. The following year, McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to forfeit $26 million.

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More on this story

22 March 2019   A “content creator” is suing US marketing agency Jerry Media for allegedly stealing his meme as part of a promotional campaign, just a month after the company pledged to seek permission for all content it reposts on social media.
18 July 2019   Netflix has reached a settlement with a Fyre Festival attendee who had sued the studios for using her video footage without authorisation.
20 August 2019   Netflix has, once again, become embroiled in a copyright lawsuit over its documentary about the infamous luxury music festival Fyre Festival.