Intellectual Property Law

'Please don't make us call your mom,' Netflix tells pop-up bar owners in cease-and-desist letter

  • Print.

Stranger Things

“Stranger Things.” Netflix

A Netflix lawyer took a humorous approach when he sent a cease-and-desist letter to the owners of a pop-up bar in Chicago.

“Please don’t make us call your mom,” says the cease-and-desist letter written by Bryce Coughlin, director and senior counsel for content and brand IP at Netflix. Publications covering the story involving the letter include DNAInfo and the Chicago Tribune.

The bar is named The Upside Down and its theme is based on Netflix’s Stranger Things science-fiction show, starring Winona Ryder. Set in a fictional Indiana town in the 1980s, the show is about a vanishing boy, secret lab experiments by a researcher named Dr. Martin Brenner, and supernatural forces, according to Netflix’s official website and Wikia pages here, here and here. In his research, Brenner discovered a gate to an alternate dimension called the Upside Down and unleashed a monster nicknamed the Demogorgon.

The letter reads:

“My walkie talkie is busted so I had to write this note instead. I heard you launched a Stranger Things pop-up bar at your Logan Square location. Look, I don’t want you to think I’m a total wastoid, and I love how much you guys love the show. (Just wait until you see Season 2!) But unless I’m living in the Upside Down, I don’t think we did a deal with you for this pop-up. You’re obviously creative types, so I’m sure you can appreciate that it’s important to us to have a say in how our fans encounter the worlds we build.

“We’re not going to go full Dr. Brenner on you, but we ask that you please (1) not extend the pop-up beyond its 6 week run ending in September, and (2) reach out to us for permission if you plan to do something like this again. Let me know as soon as possible that you agree to these requests.

“We love our fans more than anything, but you should know that the demogorgon is not always as forgiving. So please don’t make us call your mom.”

The bar’s manager, Jared Saul, told DNAInfo the bar would have remained open a little longer if Netflix hadn’t objected, but there are no hard feelings.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.