Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer are being sued for allegedly plagiarising the award-winning TV show’s concept.
The lawsuit comes from Charlie Kessler, a man who claims that Stranger Things is a ripoff of his short film Montauk. Kessler says that he pitched the film idea to the Duffer Brothers at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014 but nothing came from the talks. Kessler’s attorney says that his client and the Duffers made a verbal contract based on industry expectations.
“After the massive success of Stranger Things that is based on Plaintiff’s concepts that Plaintiffs discussed with Defendants, Defendants have made huge sums of money by producing the series based on Plaintiff’s concepts without compensating or crediting Plaintiff for his Concepts,” the suit says.
The short film Montauk debuted back in 2012 and tells the story of a young boy who goes missing in Montauk, Long Island. It includes secret government experiments on children, paranormal events, portals a monster and a police officer’s search for the boy. The Netflix description of Stranger Things reads as follows. “A young boy vanishes into thin air. As friends, family, and local police search for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and one very strange little girl.”
When Stranger Things was originally announced back in April of 2015, it was called Montauk and it took place in Montauk, Long Island. However, the location was changed to Hawkins, Indiana and the show was renamed to Stranger Things. Both Stranger Things and Montauk are said to be inspired by the real-life Montauk Project, which is a conspiracy theory involving government testing on children in the 1970’s.
If the lawsuit is successful then the Duffer Brothers and Netflix would have to destroy all Stranger Things assets that they possess.
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