Netflix is facing a lawsuit behind the film Burning Sands, released earlier this year.
A man named Al Quarles Jr. is suing Netflix and Mandalay Entertainment Group for copyright infringement. He says he wrote a book called Burning Sands and Netflix based the film on his work without giving him credit or compensation.
Quarles says the book was inspired by his experiences with the Lambda Tau chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. in the 80s. However, he says the book isn’t based on real people or events.
“The Book is a coming-of-age story about the experiences of 6 young men pledging a fraternity at a rural historically black college. In addition to the identical title and setting, the Book and the Film contain elements that are virtually identical, including characters with the same names and plot-points crafted to convey identical meanings and representations,” wrote Quarles’ attorney Bryan Lentz in the complaint.
Quarles also says that director Gerard McMurray, who attended Howard University and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., has a setting in the movie that is “directly” at odds with the urban Howard, but shows similarities Millersville University in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, his alma mater. He also points out plot lines such as one of them dying, and the reciting of a particular poem for the reasoning behind the suit.
Netflix, McMurray or Mandalay Entertainment Group had not responded to Variety‘s (who originally reported this story) request for a comment. You can read the full complaint at Variety.