Netflix’s cease and desist letter goes viral — spot the TV references

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By Polly Botsford on

Legal letter littered with Stranger Things nods

A letter written by a Netflix in-house lawyer to two owners of a bar in Chicago requesting that they close its pop-up Stranger Things-themed bar reads nothing like a normal legal letter.

The threat of legal action against the bar (called ‘the Upside Down’) is in distinctly chatty tones and contains at least four references to the cult success Stranger Things TV series, which the letter aims to protect. These include: the fictional villain Dr Brenner; Demogorgon, the show’s monster; and even Walkie Talkies, the iconic 80s gadgets.

The Netflix lawyer who penned the cease and desist letter (who has managed to remain anonymous) points out to Danny and Doug Marks, who run the bar: “I don’t think we did a deal with you for this pop-up”. The author asks them to “not extend the pop-up beyond its 6 week run… and reach out to us for permission if you plan to do something like this again”.

The letter (which unlike most lawyer correspondence is written in the first person) is something of a PR coup for Netflix as it flexes its legal muscles and threatens legal action against two small-time caterers. Instead of social media outrage at what might be viewed as heavy-handedness on the part of the broadcaster, the letter has proved highly successful, garnering thousands of likes and retweets.

Cease and desist letters have made for increasingly popular reading as of late.

In 2015, we couldn’t help but chuckle over the “amazing” letter sent by Donald Trump’s then general counsel (when Trump was just funny rather than funny-but-also-president) to a conservative political party about its anti-Trump advertisements. Legal blog Above the Law described it as “a distillation of Trump, mixing boilerplate legalese with childish contempt”.

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