A US federal court on Friday, November 8 dismissed a Colombian journalist’s copyright suit against the makers of the show “Narcos”, ruling that a “sex scene involving a gun is not protectable”.
Virginia Vallejo had accused Netflix and the show’s producers of ripping off elements of her memoir, which details her relationship with infamous narco-trafficker Pablo Escobar.
The US District Court for the District of Florida has now granted Netflix its motion for summary judgment dismissing the case, finding that the claimed elements were not protectable by copyright.
Vallejo, who now works for RT, published the book “Amando a Pablo, Odiando a Escobar” (Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar), in 2007. The memoir was adapted into a 2017 film starring Penelope Cruz as Vallejo, and Javier Bardem as Escobar.
The pair’s relationship was also featured in the hit Netflix series, which was first released in 2015.
According to Vallejo, episodes three and four of series one of “Narcos” mimicked elements of her memoir, which were protected by copyright.
These included a sex scene centred around Escobar’s use of a revolver and a meeting between Escobar and a Colombian guerrilla leader.
On Friday, the court ruled that the similarities between the two works’ depiction of these events were not protectable by copyright.
According to the court, there were substantial differences between how “Narcos” and Vallejo’s book depicted the revolver scene.
Judge Rodney Smith found that the equal balance of power in Escobar and Vallejo’s relationship, as portrayed in the memoir, was markedly absent from “Narcos”.
“The atmosphere, or overall feel, of each of the scenes is very different,” the judge found.
According to the court, the only similarities between the scenes were rooted in factual events, concluding: “These facts are not protectable. The idea of a sex scene involving a gun is not protectable.”
The judge reached the same conclusion with respect to the scene involving the guerrilla commander, finding that “Narcos” and Vallejo’s memoir portrayed the meeting with Escobar differently.