Photographer Slaps Netflix with Lawsuit for Stranger Things Concept Art Pic

By Kehl Bayern / September 19, 2018

Remember back in May when we told you about the photographer who had his storm cloud photo appropriated by streaming giant Netflix for use in concept art for their ratings hit “Stranger Things”?

Apparently things have escalated since last we looked at the story and now photographer Sean R. Heavey is moving forward with a lawsuit against the company.

Image via Netflix.

Basically what happened is that Sean R. Heavey took an absolutely epic photo of a storm that someone over at Netflix’s marketing department thought was so cool and apocalyptic in appearance that it would be a perfect photo for inclusion in a concept art reel called “Beyond Stranger Things.”

In keeping with the sci-fi theme, or as a turn of painful coincidence, the photo Netflix used is titled “Mothership” by the photographer.

PetaPixel has composed a nice side-by-side comparison you can view here.

The complaint filed in Montana outlines the various things that Sean R. Heavey had to do to get such an epic photo as well as the ever important inclusion of a copyright that he filed in 2010. Heavey further alleges that his photo of the storm supercell can be found in the Netflix show “How It Ends.”

For its part, Netflix says that there are no merits to Heavey’s case.

“Netflix’s appropriation of ‘The Mothership’ photograph has encouraged further, widespread copying of ‘The Mothership’ photograph…Despite being repeatedly made aware of the above-detailed information, as of date of this filing, Netflix has refused to remove the infringing material,” PetaPixel quotes from the photographer’s complaint.

Though it feels like photographers are under increasing attack every day to defend their rights to their work it also seems like more and more are fighting back.

And after rulings like this one in which photographs are called “factual depictions” and thus not subject to copyright, it’s no wonder. Of course, we'll bring you more updates as they arise.


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About the author

Kehl Bayern

Kehl Bayern is our staff news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing. In terms of photography, he is interested in architecture and modern design. Kehl Bayern is also the author of science fiction thriller Animus Proxy. He is based in Boston, Massachusetts and studied politics at the University of Virginia and, later, Harvard University for graduate school. He spends much of his time traveling up and down the east coast of the United States. You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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