Orphan Black producers hit with copyright infringement lawsuit

A writer has hit producers of clone-themed show Orphan Black with a $5 million (£3 million) copyright infringement lawsuit alleging the popular series was modelled on a script he wrote in the 1990s. Stephen Hendricks filed the lawsuit in a California federal court against series producers at Temple Street Productions as well as bosses at the BBC, as Orphan Black airs on the U.K. network’s satellite channel, BBC America, in the U.S.
In the documents, Hendricks claims he sent a screenplay titled Double Double to Temple Street co-president and Orphan Black executive producer David Fortier in 2004, but the studio boss passed on his project.
Hendricks, who says his screenplay has been registered with the Writers Guild of America as well as the Copyright Office, insists the plot for the critically acclaimed drama about a young woman who discovers she is one of many clones, was derived from his own work.
The lawsuit reads: “The similarities between the Series and the Screenplay are so substantial that it is a virtual statistical impossibility that the former could have been created independently from the latter.
“Both protagonists are young (early 20s), attractive women who want the same thing: to understand who they are and where they come from… The recurring theme of clones reproducing is also present in both.”
Orphan Black was created by screenwriters Graeme Manson and John Fawcett, who sent Fortier a script of the show and spent four years reworking it before its debut last year (13).
The series became a cult hit, earning lead actress Tatiana Maslany a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series as well as a Golden Globe nomination earlier this year (Jan14).