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Choose Your Own Adventure publisher sues Netflix over Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

12 January 2019
Choose Your Own Adventure publisher sues Netflix over Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

The popular on-demand video streaming service premiered Black Mirror: Bandersnatch in December past year.

The suit goes on to claim that Netflix deliberately tried to tie the film to the 80s and 90s nostalgia connected to the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, including "Choose Your Own Adventure" being mentioned at the start of the film.

TMZ reports the streaming giant has been hit with a $25M lawsuit by the creators of "Choose Your Own Adventure" over the latest installment in the Black Mirror series. The company states that Netflix actually sought a license to use the "Choose Your Own Adventure" trademark at some point in the last couple of years, but the negotiations never actually resulted in a finalized deal.

If those words weren't capitalized, Netflix may have been able to get away with the idea of referring to the book as a type of story rather than a specific entry in the trademarked franchise - sort of like how some people refer to a generic tissue as a "Kleenex" just because that brand became synonymous with the item itself.

The bookmaker say Netflix doesn't have the right to that trademark.

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

Chooseco is demanding at least $25 million in damages or Netflix's profits, whichever figure is higher. It was one of the most popular children's series in the '80s and '90s. 20th Century Fox, according to Chooseco, holds a contract to develop a series based on the publisher's books, however, Netflix requested a license in 2016 but did not receive one.