Narcos TV Show Doesn’t Infringe Virginia Vallejo’s Memoir
Virginia Vallejo sued Narcos Production LLC, Netflix, and Gaumont Television USA LLC, claiming that two episodes from Narcos were substantially similar to parts of her memoir of her affair with Pablo Escobar. No, said an Eleventh Circuit panel (Judges Bert Jordan, Britt Grant & Robert Luck) today in Vallejo v. Narcos Productions, because there’s no copyright in facts:
“[C]opyright protection extends only to an author’s expression of facts and not to the facts themselves.” An author “may not claim that the facts are original with him although there may be originality and hence authorship in the manner of reporting, i.e., the expression, of the facts.” “[T]he mere use of the information contained in a [work] without a substantial copying of the format does not constitute infringement.” A person who reports new facts for the first time cannot claim copyright protection in the further dissemination of those facts….
Ms. Vallejo has repeatedly admitted that the facts reported in her memoir are true…. Ms. Vallejo has copyright protection in the way that she set her “characters, theme, plot, setting, and mood and pace.” … [But] we conclude that the defendants used unprotectabl
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