1 February 2019Copyright

Netflix’s ‘Wild Wild Country’ named in copyright infringement suit

Netflix’s award-winning documentary series “Wild Wild Country” has been named in a copyright infringement suit for “appropriating” the teachings of Osho, a late Indian philosopher.

Michael Hilow, a US-based filmmaker, and the Osho International Foundation filed the complaint at the US District Court for the Central District of California on Thursday, January 31.

Osho International is a Swiss corporation which promotes, publishes and licenses the teachings and work of Osho, who died in 1990.

According to the filing, Osho International is the “sole and exclusive owner of copyrighted lecture materials, photographic works, and video works documenting the life and teachings of Osho”.

The complaint alleged that the “Wild Wild Country” series, which focuses on the life of Osho and his community of followers in the US, used a “substantial portion of copyrighted works” without permission.

The foundation said Netflix has infringed and “continues to infringe the copyrighted works by producing, distributing and streaming” the series.

In its evidence, the foundation alleged that the first episode of the documentary “includes roughly 88 discrete instances” of copyright infringement. It said the infringing material lasts for at least 12 minutes.

According to the complaint, the Osho Foundation notified Netflix of its infringement in February 2018, but Netflix failed to “meaningfully respond and continues to broadcast” and distribute “Wild Wild Country”.

It added that by unlawfully using copyright protected material for the series, Netflix has obtained direct and indirect profits that “they would not otherwise have”.

The foundation cited the commercial success of the documentary and said it led to a growth in subscribers and “substantial revenue” for Netflix.

The series won the streaming company a Primetime Emmy in 2018.

Directors of the series, Chapman Way and Maclain Way, as well as production company Duplass Brothers Productions are also named in the infringement claim.

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