Copyright case against Outer Banks

2020 Netflix series Outer Banks has been embroiled in a copyright case.

North Carolina Teacher Kevin Wooten, the author of the 2016 novel “Pennywise: The Hunt for Blackbeard’s Treasure” claims that Netflix and the creators of Outer Banks got the plot for the show from his book.

The suit alleges that both the show and the book share striking similarities, including that they take place in the Outer Banks, have the same amount of main characters that share similar storylines, feature antagonists “consisting of a rich benefactor and a corrupt member of law enforcement” and discover similar clues leading them to buried treasure, which is then stolen by said antagonists.

The description of Wooten’s book reads: “Benjamin and Nathaniel Pennywise, along with their uncle, Ottaway Burns, discover a clue while diving off the coast of Ocracoke that takes them on an adventure spanning two continents. They must outwit a sinister group of treasure hunters who will stop at nothing to lay hold to the chest so they can use its contents to further their agenda.”

Josh Pate, Jonas Pate and Shannon Burke are credited as the show’s creators.

Netflix is yet to comment.

Source: Variety


  1. A treasure hunt and a corrupt cop are common. But if they both happen together, in the same location as the book with similar characters then they may have a case. With 500+ script TV shows being written in the US, they can’t all be original.

    This is why the CW bought rights to Nancy Drew, and then made a predictable teen drama about ghost hunting that had nothing to do with Nancy Drew, except for the names Nancy Drew, Carson Drew and Nick Nickerson. It stops Rob Thomas (creater of Veronica Mars who was hired by Simon and Shuster to create a Hardy Boys replacement but decided that female character like Nancy Drew was more suited to the times) or someone else suing based on a show about a young female detective with a father in criminal law operating in a coastal town.

  2. Sometimes classic story lines like the one written for Outer Banks can seem familiar, I guess if ‘Pennywise’ is a popular book the author would have a reasonable gripe but in my opinion I doubt it.
    Having watched Outer Banks the series was underwhelming for the most part, once again mature 20 year old actors are playing very young teens, this made the early episodes confusing especially the child welfare custody scene, kids nowadays are growing fast but not as fast as these teens, I’m not sure what the producers were thinking, apart from adult themes and the water stunts they could have used real 16 year olds.
    That is the creative issue for this show, it cant decide whether to be a teen coming of age saga or an action adventure yarn, obviously Netflix think it will be popular with season 2 on the way.

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