Dynamo Producciones, a Colombian production company behind hit Netflix show “Narcos” is asking to dismiss a copyright lawsuit filed against it in Miami federal court, citing lack of jurisdiction.
The fictionalized series began with the life of notorious Medellin cartel leader Pablo Escobar, who made billions of dollars producing and smuggling cocaine in the 1970s and ’80s.
But Colombian journalist Virginia Vallejo claimed the show borrowed heavily from her best-selling memoir, “Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar,” which detailed her affair with Escobar.
The Aug. 24 complaint claimed the “Narcos” producers pulled multiple elements from her book and fashioned character Valeria Velez after her. Vallejo claimed the series infringed on U.S. copyrights she registered in English and Spanish-language versions of the book.
Vallejo sued Dynamo, along with three California-based production companies — Netflix Inc., Narcos Productions LLC and Gaumont Television USA LLC.
“Without question, defendants intended not only to misappropriate the most valuable and gripping portions of Vallejo’s memoir as the gravamen of ‘Narcos,’ but went even further by adopting a character whose name and characteristics all clearly associate with Vallejo’s notoriety, goodwill and publicity rights,” the complaint said.
Dynamo moved to dismiss, arguing U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore lacks personal and general jurisdiction over the company, which operates out of Bogota, Colombia.
Netflix, Gaumont and Narcos Productions moved to dismiss in October, claiming episodes were based on facts — not original expressions protected by copyright law.
Vallejo filed the suit in Florida, her home state since the U.S. government granted her asylum in 2010. She claimed her life was in danger after she testified against former Colombian justice minister Alberto Santofimio, who was convicted of masterminding the assassination of an anti-drug crusader by Escobar’s hired gun.
According to Dynamo’s motion, its work on “Narcos” hasn’t touched Florida, nor was it licensed to. Dynamo acknowledged it has a one-employee office in New York but said Vallejo’s reliance on that to pursue the lawsuit was “fatally misplaced.”
Scott Daniel Ponce of Holland & Knight in Miami, who represents the defendants, did not respond to requests for comment before deadline.
Dynamo relied on an affidavit from “Narcos” executive producer Andres Calderon to support its claim.
Intimate encounters depicted in the show were not public knowledge until Vallejo released her memoir, according to the complaint. One of the scenes in question depicted Escboar introducing his mistress Velez to his wife, Victoria Henao.
According to Vallejo’s complaint, the show also lifted the title of one episode, ”The Palace in Flames,” from a chapter in her memoir titled “That Palace in Flames.”
Vallejo’s lawyer, Joshua B. Spector of Allen, Dyer, Doppelt, Milbrath & Gilchrist in Miami, did not respond to requests for comment before deadline.
Vallejo seeks compensation for the show’s revenue as well as damages, interest, attorney fees and costs.
Read Dynamo’s motion to dismiss: