Netflix is facing a lawsuit over “Burning Sands,” which tells its story in the backdrop of Howard University’s fraternity culture.
Author Al Quarles Jr. is suing the streaming company for copyright infringement claiming that “Burning Sands” is based on his book with the same title, which was based on his own experience in the Lambda Tau chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. in Millersville University in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
He claimed that, for example, there was a setting “directly” at odds with Howard but which would be perfectly fitted to Millersville, despite the fact that director Gerard McMurray attended Howard and is himself an alum of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. He also cited particular plot lines such as a death in the fraternity and the recitation of a poem.
“The book is a coming-of-age story about the experiences of 6 young men pledging a fraternity at a rural historically black college,” wrote Quarles’ attorney Bryan Lentz in the complaint. “In addition to the identical title and setting, the book and the Film contain elements that are virtually identical, including characters with the same names and plot points crafted to convey identical meanings and representations.”