Netflix Faces $25 Million Lawsuit Over ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’

A show poster for Kellar

The suit claims infringement, dilution and unfair competition and Chooseco is seeking at least $25m in damages or profits, whichever is higher.

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.

"Chooseco and Netflix engaged in extensive negotiations that were ongoing for a number of years, but Netflix did not receive a licence", the complaint reads. And there is a part in the movie where the characters discuss the Choose Your Own Adventure books by name, so Chooseco may have a leg or two to stand on here. Also, the lawsuit notes that Chooseco sent Netflix a cease and desist request asking the service to stop using Choose Your Own Adventure in connection with its marketing efforts for one of its earlier interactive children's programs.

Chooseco makes the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series, interactive books that were popular in the 1980s and '90s and directed readers at key points to make decisions for how the story would proceed.

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The ever-twisted, "Choose Your Own Adventure" movie Black Mirror: Bandersnatch has certainly been a hit for Netflix, but that doesn't mean everyone in the world is happy about the success.

The lawsuit claims that Netflix "deliberately exploited" the brand awareness of the book series in order to launch the show. As for why the streaming giant wasn't granted the rights to use the trademark, the lawsuit claims 20th Century Fox already has the rights to develop a pending interactive series, not unlike Bandersnatch, using the "Choose Your Own Adventure" format. From the complaint, Chooseco alleges that the "dark and, at times, disturbing content dilutes the goodwill for an positive associations with Chooseco's mark and tarnishes its products".

"The misappropriation of our mark by Netflix presents an extreme challenge for a small independent publisher like Chooseco", she said.

Netflix, which has avoided using the phrase "choose your own adventure" in advertising, is yet to comment publicly on the case. A decade ago, the publisher sued Daimler Chrysler for using the "Choose your Adventure" slogan in a campaign for Jeeps.

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