Jul 20, 2017

Netflix Feeling Hazed By Copyright Dispute

Netflix, the American entertainment company, have found themselves in deep water this week after it has been alleged the plot of their original film 'Burning Sands', released in March this year, is based on a book written by Al Quarles Jr.

The Hollywood Reporter, reported this week that Al Quarles Jr spent two decades writing 'Burning Sands', a book regarding the brutal initiation process, known as 'hazing', that two young black men have to endure to become members of a fraternal organisation. The book is based on his experiences in a fraternity in the 1980's. The first volume of the book was released in 2014, 2 years before the screenplay for the film was finished. According to Quarles, Netflix have taken virtually identical elements of his book and made it into their film with no credit or compensation being paid to Quarles.

Brian Lentz, the attorney for Quarles, has stated that "in addition to the identical title and setting, the book and the film contain elements that are virtually identical, including characters with the same names and plot-points crafted to convey identical meanings and representations". In addition to this, the Hollywood reporter has stated how some of the more unusual parts of the book have been copied in the film such as the recital of a poem by Edward Guest as well as the death of a pledger due to hazing. Quarles also relies on the fact that the rural setting of the film mirrors that of the book and of Quarles's own university experience whilst being at odds with the university experience of the co-writer of the film who attended university in Washington DC.

Quarles is therefore seeking to prevent Netflix from continuing to infringe the copyright in his book by asking the court to stop Netflix from "marketing, selling, licensing or developing any works derived from his book". In addition to this he will be seeking damages and an account of profits made from the film.

in: Copyright, News

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