Netflix Sued Over 'Wild Wild Country' by Osho International

A documentary filmmaker and Swiss company hit Netflix with a lawsuit this week over copyright infringement in the platform's cult hit docuseries Wild Wild Country.

The Osho International Foundation and filmmaker Michael Hilow sued Netflix, along with Duplass Brothers Productions and directors Chapman Way and Maclain Way on Thursday, claiming that the series used a substantial amount of their footage without consent, Pitchfork reported.

The Osho International Foundation is described in the complaint as a Swiss company that publishes, licenses and archives the work of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the controversial guru at the center of the documentary. Hilow, who directed a 1993 documentary called Rajneeshpuram an Experiment to Provoke God, claims that scenes from that film, along with three works controlled by Osho International, are shown in Wild Wild Country.

The complaint also claims that the first episode alone contains 88 separate "instances of appropriation," totaling more than 12 minutes of footage, or "roughly a quarter of the episode's total duration."

The lawsuit claims that the directors, producers and Netflix were notified of the infringement allegations in February 2018 and "failed to meaningfully respond."

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.

“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.”

On Wednesday, Priyanka Chopra announced that she and Barry Levinson are working on a biopic based on Wild Wild Country, with Chopra set to star in the film, presumably as Ma Anand Sheela.

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The lawsuit is the latest charge of copyright infringement against Netflix in recent months; earlier this month, Chooseco LLC, the publishing company behind the Choose Your Own Adventure novels, sued the streaming company for $25 million over the "Bandersnatch" episode of Black Mirror, which lets viewers choose the character's actions.

The streamer reportedly settled a $50 million lawsuit related to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina in November 2018. It had been filed by the Satantic Temple under the claim that producers copied one of its statues and used its likeness in four episodes of the show.