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Defamation Lawsuit Against Netflix Moves Forward

via Netflix

A defamation lawsuit against Netflix over its series “Inventing Anna” was allowed to proceed after a judge ruled the streaming service may have exceeded creative liberties.

The series depicts Rachel Williams unfavorably in relation to Anna Sorokin, who defrauded banks of $275,000 while posing as a German heiress.

Williams claims she was defamed by false portrayals of being abandoned by Sorokin and turning her in.

Netflix argued First Amendment protections for artistic works, but the judge disagreed certain events depicted did not represent opinion.

“Indeed, to allow constitutionally-protected artistic expression to flourish, content creators like Netflix must be allowed some breathing space to interpret the actions and decisions of those involved in a public controversy like the Sorokin trial,” Netflix’s lawyers stated.

This case questions the viability of “creative non-fiction” works and whether subjects of documentaries and docu-series have avenues to legally challenge unfavorable portrayals.

The outcome could provide guidance around defamation claims against such media.

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