The Award Winning Documentary “Wild Wild Country” was at the Center of a Copyright Infringement Case filed in Federal Court in Los Angeles, California.
New York 21st March, 2020.
Plaintiffs Osho International Foundation (OIF) and filmmaker Michael Hilow filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in January of 2019 against Defendants Netflix Inc., the filmmakers Maclain and Chapman Way, and the producers Red Rancho Film Productions, LLC, Duplass Brothers, Inc. and others in regard to the award-winning documentary series Wild Wild Country. As reported by Law360.com, the lawsuit involved allegations that the “makers of ‘Wild Wild Country”’copied at least 56 works owned by Osho International for use in the series and marketing materials, according to the suit. It said it met with the filmmakers in 2015 regarding licensing some of its content, but no license was ever obtained.”
The complaint also alleged that the Defendants “have infringed and continue to infringe Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works by (and without Plaintiffs’ permission) and that “Defendants appropriated substantial portions of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works throughout duration of “Wild Wild Country” (such portions referred to herein as ‘appropriated footage’). (Case 2:19-cv-00753 Document 1 Filed 01/31/19)
The matter has now been resolved. On 5th February 2020, OIF’s attorneys, Doniger Burroughs, dismissed the case.
Episodes of Wild Wild Country now include the following credits:
The Netflix series, released in March 2018, revisits and features conflicts in Oregon between a community centered around the contemporary mystic today known as Osho, the local community and the US Government at the time of Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s.
The series has been a massive success, winning the 2018 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary of Nonfiction Series and was also nominated for Outstanding Picture Editing.
In the extensive media coverage, those that worked on the series discussed the creative process:
“There was also a professional media department on the ranch that would make these promotional videos showing life on the ranch… They would send those videos out to satellite communes so European and Australian Rajneeshees could see what was happening with [Osho] and the ranch… I don’t know if we’ll ever be this fortunate to have this much source material on a story again.” (Maclain Way in an interview with Final Draft)
“We had like 300 hours of archival media, and we had DVDs, we had old digi beta SP tapes, we had film transfers, we had things pulled off the internet from who knows where. [Osho] has followers around the world and so there are videos from absolutely everywhere. The majority of our stuff was from the historical society.” (Wild Wild Country film Editor Neil Meiklejohn in an interview with No Film School)
“The series’s directors, Chapman Way and Maclain Way, have access to a wealth of news broadcasts, archival footage, and videos recorded by the Rajneeshees themselves. The first few minutes alone offer scenes of the group arriving in Oregon …when he steps out of one of his Rolls-Royces.” (Source: The Atlantic)
“The Rajneeshees on the ranch were also very proud of what they were doing — farming and building a utopian city — so, they would constantly invite visitors and media organizations onto the ranch. They also had their own film crews documenting this, although we didn’t have as much access to that material. Ultimately, we accumulated approximately 300 hours of archival media in all manner of formats, including Beta-SP videotape, ripped DVDs, and the internet.” (Editor Neil Meiklejohn in an interview with Creative Planet Network)
Co-Plaintiff Michael Hilow produced and directed an earlier film “Rajneeshpuram, an Experiment to Provoke God,” in 1993, which documented the development of the movement between 1981-1985 in Rajneeshpuram.
OIF defends the Foundation’s works against any infringements and piracy. OIF remains open and available to the publishing and licensing of Osho’s copyrighted works and footage in many languages throughout the world. For further information contact Osho International: email@example.com.
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