Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Netflix in $25m lawsuit over Bandersnatch episode

A show poster for Kellar Netflix sued over Bandersnatch's similarities to Choose Your Own Adventure
Charles Bowen | 12 January, 2019, 02:26

Indeed, the phrase "choose your own adventure" has been nearly inextricably linked to Bandersnatch, either through Netflix's own efforts or the mark's ubiquity as established by Chooseco.

"Netflix has no license or authorization to use Chooseco's trademark and, upon information and belief, used the mark willfully and intentionally to capitalize on viewers' nostalgia for the original book series", the lawsuit states.

Chooseco, LLC, the publisher behind the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series and owner of the trademark, has filed a lawsuit against Netflix over the immersive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, The Hollywood Reporter reports.

Bandersnatch, which debuted last month, is a technically-ambitious feat, allowing viewers to direct the main character's actions and decisions and choose the path that his story will ultimately take.

The plaintiff said 20th Century Fox now holds an options contract to develop an interactive series based on the books, which allow readers to influence the story they are reading by turning to different pages.

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The claim also specifically calls attention to a moment early in Bandersnatch when protagonist Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) tells his father that the book he's reading is a "Choose Your Own Adventure book".

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Netflix's experiment in interactive television, is inspired by "Choose Your Own Adventure" books.

"The misappropriation of our mark by Netflix presents an extreme challenge for a small independent publisher like Chooseco", she said. "The use of Choose Your Own Adventure in association with such graphic content is likely to cause significant damage, impacting our book sales and affecting our ability to work with licensing partners in the future".

According to Chooseco's complaint, Netflix did try to get permission, engaging in "extensive negotiations", but in the end never got a license.

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