Popular streaming platform Netflix and the creators of “Stranger Things”, Matt and Ross Duffer (“Duffer brothers”) have been sued by Irish Rover Entertainment (“Irish Rover”) before the California Federal Court for damages for copyright infringement.
Irish Rover has claimed that the show Stanger Things has been stolen from Jeffrey Kennedy’s screenplay named “Totem” by adopting its “plot, sequence, characters, theme, dialogue, mood, and setting, as well as copyrighted concept art”. As per the claims of Irish Rover, a man named Aaron Sims who used to work closely with Kennedy during the development of Totem was hired by the Duffer brothers to create the concept art for the first 2 seasons of “Stranger Things”. Irish Rover, also pointed out various similarities between “Totem” and “Stranger Things” stating that there are similarities between the characters: Kimi in Totem and Eleven in Stranger Things, both are girls with superpowers and a group of friends battling the villains.
Netflix in their statement defending Stranger Things, reportedly stated, “Mr. Kennedy has been peddling these far-fetched conspiracy theories for years, even though Netflix has repeatedly explained to him that The Duffer Brothers had never heard of him or his unpublished script until he began threatening to sue them. After we refused to give in to his demands for a payoff, he filed this baseless lawsuit. There is no shortage of people who would like to claim credit for creating ‘Stranger Things.’ But the truth is the show was independently conceived by the Duffer Brothers and is the result of their creativity and hard work.”
Interestingly, Stranger Things faced a similar lawsuit by a man named Charles Kessler in 2018. Kessler alleged that he conceived the original idea for “Stranger Things” and he pitched the idea to Duffer Brothers at a 2014 Tribeca Film Festival party. However, Kessler dropped his lawsuit the day before it was set to go to trial.