Writer sues BBC America, claims producers stole 'Orphan Black'

Is Orphan Black a clone?

Writer Stephen Hendricks claims the celebrated BBC America drama is a ripoff of a screenplay he sent series producer Temple Street Productions in the late 1990s, and he’s suing for $5 million.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in California federal court, Hendricks accuses the network, Temple Street, series producer David Fortier, and series creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett of copyright infringement. Hendricks claims he sent his screenplay “Double Double” — registered with the WGA and the Copyright Office — to Temple Street in 2004. The screenplay was sent to co-president Fortier; a couple weeks later he was told they were passing on the project.

According to court documents, Hendricks learned about Orphan Black on March 4, 2013, a series that contained “the same, unusual core copyrightable expression as the Screenplay; i.e. the clandestine development of clones and the resulting journey of the protagonist to discover her origins.”

Hendricks lists parallels between his screenplay and Orphan Black, including: “the protagonist discovers that she is an ‘orphan clone';” “the protagonist is jolted by a death…and the subsequent discovery of cloning and being a clone;” and “the protagonist is being watched by her corporate creators, and is soon on the run from them.”

The lawsuit argues: “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.”


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