Netflix Escapes ‘Narcos’ Copyright Suit

Written November 21, 2019

The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida on November 8, 2019, held that Netflix Inc.'s hit show “Narcos” did not copy protectable portions of a Colombian journalist’s memoirs about her affair with Pablo Escobar. Vallejo v. Narcos Productions LLC, S.D. Fla., No. 1:18-cv-23462, 11/8/19.

Virginia Vellejo, a well-known Colombian journalist and anchorwoman, authored the memoir “Amando a Pablo, Odiando a Escobar.” The memoir chronicles her relationship with Escobar, as well as the rise of the Colombian drug cartels.

Vellejo sued Netflix, Narcos Productions LLC, and international distributor Gaumont Television USA LLC for copyright infringement, and for purposes of summary judgment, the defendants conceded that a journalist character named Valeria Velez refers to Vallejo. However, the Court said that the common aspects of the two disputed scenes are factual and not subject to copyright protection.

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