Montana: Netflix was sued
Montana’s connection with Stranger Things isn’t as happy or cool as some of these others on the list. In 2018, a Montana photographer, Sean Heavey, sued Netflix for using a photograph he took in a piece of concept art in the Beyond Stranger Things behind-the-scenes special.
He first filed a complaint in May of 2018, but when Netflix refused to compensate him, he decided to go the legal route and sue the streaming service for using his image without his permission.
Heavey’s photograph, “The Mothership,” shows an intense-looking whirlwind of a cloud that looks like it’s something out of a sci-fi movie. If you compare the two photos like PetaPixel did, the photograph and the image in the concept art do look very similar. The only difference is the color and the added imagery the artists put in.
Heavey did copyright the photo in 2010, so he might have a case. That being said, Netflix is not yielding.
According to the Great Falls Tribune, their attorney, Jarin Jackson wrote in a letter to Heavey:
"“The only similarity that exists between the Artwork and Mr. Heavey’s photograph, The Mothership, is the use of similar cloud formations. Copyright law, however, does not protect objects as they appear in nature.”"
As you can imagine, this isn’t the first time, Netflix has been accused of stealing art. Another photographer accused Netflix of stealing a photo of VHS tapes for the Collector’s Edition box set cover art. Netflix settled that case and paid the licensing fee.
As for Heavey’s case, it doesn’t look like there’s been an update on it since 2018.