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SOURCE:  Lucien Greaves (of The Satanic Temple) Twitter,
SOURCE: Lucien Greaves (of The Satanic Temple) Twitter,

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Evil triumphs as The Satanic Temple wins Netflix settlement

Netflix and Warner Bros have amicably settled a lawsuit brought by The Satanic Temple over the unauthorised use of a Baphomet statue in the Netflix series, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina".

The Satanic Temple, which goes by the formal name of United Federation of Churches LLC, said the statue in question has appeared in at least four of the first 10 episodes of the show, and it was a "key element" of the season finale.

The organisation, which was founded in Salem, Massachusetts, claims to not believe in a supernatural Satan and espouses using the religious figure as a metaphor to promote pragmatic skepticism and curiosity.

The series, produced by Warner Bros and distributed by Netflix, is based on the comic book series with the same name from Archie Comics. Its main character is a half-witch, half-human teenager portrayed by Kiernan Shipka.

Strip religion away from this and you get a typical case of copyright infringement.

The main dispute is the fact that The Satanic Temple came up with a very specific image of Baphomet, to be used in an crowdsourcing movement to erect a statue in public. The project was successfully funded and a statue of The Satanic Temple’s Baphomet was unveiled in Detroit, Michigan in 2015.

The statue is unique in that it depicts Baphomet with a male chest as compared to its traditionally transsexual form. The statue that appeared in “Sabrina” has a male chest and has a pose that appears to be exactly the same as The Satanic Temple’s statue. There is also a boy and girl looking up to Baphomet in the Netflix show, sharing a similar trait with the Satanic Temple’s statue.

These all suggest the statue in the Netflix show was copied from The Satanic Temple’s statue. Maybe a member of the crew saw the image on the Internet and copied it.

It is apparent that Netflix got caught with its pants down, hence the speed of the out-of-court settlement and its undisclosed value.

The Satanic Temple is probably happy with the settlement and did not pursue its complaint that the evil antagonists in Sabrina were depicted in a manner "in stark contrast to The Satanic Temple’s tenets and beliefs". After all, few people will believe folks who call themselves Satanists are a force of good.

Lucien Graves of The Satanic Temple wrote in a blog post after the settlement: “Many people immediately supported our copyright claim and felt they recognised it to have clear merit.”

He also said: “I particularly loved the confused claim from the people who said we were ‘playing victim,’ with the alternative being that we simply stand silent when we feel our work may have been exploited.”

Netflix, which is known for investing in its massive output of content, has added 700 original movies and TV shows this year, which would cost it US$8 billion. But it has landed itself in hot water at times with claims of copyright infringement and idea theft.

Its hit show, Stranger Things, is being sued by a filmmaker who claims the idea of the show was stolen from him, while the show itself was accused by a photographer for using his photo of a storm cloud without permission. The BBC has recently called an upcoming Netflix documentary “Our Planet” a rip-off of their award-winning shows such as Planet Earth.




Mark Laudi

Mark Laudi

Press contact Managing Partner (+65) 6223 2249

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