Netflix sued

“Wild Wild Country,” the Netflix-produced documentary on Indian spiritual guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, has been sued for copyright infringement. (Netflix screenshot)

“Wild Wild Country,” the six-part Netflix docu-series based on the life of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho, turned out to be a massive hit. But the Emmy Award-winning series has now become embroiled in a legal battle.

The streaming service has been sued for copyright infringement over “Wild Wild Country.”

The Osho International Foundation and filmmaker Michael Hilow Jan. 31 sued Netflix, along with Duplass Brothers Productions and directors Chapman Way and Maclain Way, claiming the docu-series used a substantial amount of their footage without consent, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Osho International is described in the complaint as a Swiss company that “promotes, publishes, licenses and archives” the teachings and other work of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and “has done so since the 1970’s.”

The company claims that it notified Netflix about the alleged infringement in February 2018, and yet Netflix “failed to meaningfully respond” and continued to “broadcast, stream, display, and distribute” “Wild Wild Country.”

Hilow directed a 1993 documentary called “Rajneeshpuram an Experiment to Provoke God,” which documents the development of the movement between 1981-1985 in Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, according to the complaint.

“Defendants Chapman Way, Maclain Way, Duplass Bros., and Netflix, have infringed and continue to infringe Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works by (and without Plaintiffs’ permission) producing, distributing, and streaming their six-episode series ‘Wild Wild Country,’” the complaint states. “Defendants appropriated substantial portions of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works throughout duration of “Wild Wild Country” (such portions referred to herein as ‘appropriated footage’). For instance, the first episode of the series alone includes roughly 88 discrete instances of appropriation, covering a total duration of at least over 12 minutes, or roughly a quarter of the episode’s total duration.”

“In each instance, the appropriated footage in “Wild Wild Country” is identical or virtually identical to Plaintiffs’ source works, or is a slightly modified derivative of said work,” the complaint further stated.

Osho International and Hilow are asking the court to grant an injunction barring Netflix from further infringing their copyrights and are seeking damages and disgorgement of the streamer’s profits, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The show, based on the spiritual guru who attracted thousands of followers to his ashram headquartered in Wasco County, Oregon, from 1981 to 1985, won the 2018 Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series’ (Read earlier India-West story here: https://bit.ly/2DgisRJ.)

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