The “Stranger Things” Rip-Off Lawsuit Could Set a Perilous Precedent

April 19, 2019Media Mention

Perhaps more than anything else, "Stranger Things" is famous for taking 1980s nostalgia to meta new extremes—so it makes some kind of sense that the creators of the Netflix hit would eventually get sued for being derivative. But it wasn’t Steven Spielberg or Stephen King who called them out. In the spring of 2018, a previously obscure filmmaker named Charlie Kessler claimed that “Stranger Things” creators Matt and Ross Duffer flat-out stole his idea.

“People can’t even have casual conversations without worrying about implied contracts and lawsuits. It creates a fearful environment where the establishment refuses to hear out the newcomers for fear of being sued.” Bill Hochberg, a lawyer at entertainment firm Greenberg Glusker, agrees that this new precedent could stifle creativity in the world of TV and film: “If every time someone came up to you at a party with an interesting idea, you had to stop and enter into a non-disclosure agreement, it wouldn’t be a very fun party.”