Here we go again.

In an emerging court battle (Sullivan vs. Northwood Media Inc.), Sullivan Entertainment is alleging that the Netflix series "Anne with an E" has copied scenes from his popular 1980's television mini-series Anne of Green Gables that were not in the Montgomery works.

According to JDSupra1, Sullivan has cited several key moments of copyright infringement:

  1. The decision to set the story in the late 1890s (the choice made in the Sullivan version), as opposed to the 1870s (the choice made by the original author in the Anne of Green Gables novel).

  2. The use of steam trains, replicated from a scene in one of the Sullivan episodes (apparently steam trains would not have been historically accurate in a 1870s setting)

  3. Copying the concept and scene of a class spelling bee, to establish the rivalry between Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe

  4. Depictions and staging of scenes such as Anne’s life with the Hammond family or Matthew Cuthbert passing by the hose of Mrs. Lynde’s on his way to the train station to pick up Anne

The motion also charges that the Netflix series ripped off "Anne offering up to Marilla that she is good at washing dishes from Anne 4.” 2   Now we're litigating copying household chores, really?

The burning question in Sullivan vs. Northwood Media Inc. may come down to whether these plot lines or settings are protected by copyright law. 

The case is still in the pre-trial stage, so stay tuned to find out how this turns out!

 

1. Anne with a © : Copyright Infringement and the Setting of a Netflix Series. - JD Supra, Richard Stobbe, July 25, 2019

2. Sullivan v. Northwood Media Inc., 2019 ONSC 9 (CanLII)

A list of Anne of Green Gables court cases

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