Children's book publisher sues Netflix over 'Black Mirror: Bandersnatch'

12 January, 2019, 02:24 | Author: Cecil Buchanan
  • Netflix sued over Bandersnatch's similarities to Choose Your Own Adventure

Last month, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch took up the entire weekend for people around the world.

The publisher's filing alleged that Netflix is benefiting from an association with the phrase, adding that Bandersnatch has been marketed and widely linked to the phrase.

A complaint was filed in Vermont federal court this morning by Chooseco, LLC, publisher of the Choose Your Own Adventure book series, against the streaming giant.

In Bandersnatch, a young programmer is adapting a famous and mysterious choose your own adventure novel into a video game, which sends him down a plight of morality and effect as he digs deeper and deeper into the meaning of free will.

In the film, Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) explained to his dad that the video game Bandersnatch is based on a book series which he described as "choose your own adventure".

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Bandersnatch was released in December as a feature-length episode of the Black Mirror series. The movie was billed as a "choose your own adventure" tale, even though the company largely refrained from actually using that phrase in the marketing.

Chooseco claims the "grim content" included in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch tarnishes their name and the dark themes in the film are too mature for their audience. According to the suit, it's not that Netflix didn't realize the phrase "choose your own adventure" was a trademark; it's that it wasn't able to secure a license from the company and used the phrase anyway.

Chooseco, which has owned the trademark since the 1980s, is claiming infringement, dilution and unfair competition and demanding at least $US25 million ($35 million) in damages or Netflix's profits, whichever is greater. Rival studio 20th Century Fox now holds the option to develop a Choose Your Own Adventure interactive series with Chooseco.

According to Variety, Netflix did not respond to a request for comment. They claim that there have been negotiations surrounding the development of a "Choose Your Own Adventure" series, but it never came into fruition.

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