×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix Hit With Lawsuit Over ‘Bandersnatch’ by ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Book Publisher

The publisher of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book series sued Netflix in federal court on Friday, alleging that the film “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” infringes on its trademarks.

The film debuted last month on the streaming service. Like the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, the film allows viewers to direct the character’s action, leading to a variety of possible endings.

Chooseco LLC, the Vermont-based publisher of the book series, alleges that Netflix deliberately exploited the brand awareness of its book series to launch the show. The “Choose Your Own Adventure” books were popular among young readers in the ’80s and ’90s, and publishers have sold 265 million copies, according to the suit, which seeks at least $25 million in damages.

According to the suit, Netflix sought a license to use the “Choose Your Own Adventure” trademark over the last couple of years. However, the negotiations never resulted in a deal. The suit also notes that 20th Century Fox recently optioned the rights to develop an interactive film series based on the books.

The suit notes that early in the film, the main character refers to the book series. The character plans to pitch a video game based on a book he is reading, and the character’s father asks about the book. “It’s a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book,” the character states.

The suit also contends that the film is violent and disturbing — including references to murder, decapitation, drug use, and the mutilation of a corpse — which is inappropriate for the young adult readers of the book series. The suit claims that the violent imagery tarnishes the “Choose Your Own Adventure” brand.

R.A. Montgomery, the original publisher and author of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series, died in 2014. His widow, Shannon Gilligan, now leads the company. She issued a statement on Friday about the trademark suit, in which she sought to clarify that the film has nothing to do with the books, and that the film does not “adhere to the Choose Your Own Adventure rules about successful interactive storytelling.”

“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. We would prefer not to resort to litigation, but given the damage that we will suffer as a result of the use of our mark we’ve been left with no other option.”

Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bandersnatch Cyoa by on Scribd

More Film

  • Edward Cheng, Tencent Pictures CEO

    Tencent Pictures Line-Up Mixes Hollywood Content and China Propaganda

    A slate of Chinese propaganda films rubs shoulders with high-profile Hollywood movies on Tencent Pictures upcoming line-up.  The firm confirmed its investment in U.S. projects including: TriStar Pictures’ “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” a film about beloved TV host Mr. Rogers, starring Tom Hanks; “Monster Hunter,” Paul W.S. Anderson’s next film adaptation of a [...]

  • Night scenery of the Bund in

    Shanghai: Festivals Grapple With How to Stay Relevant in the Digital Era

    Festival organizers from around the world on Tuesday discussed the challenges of remaining relevant in a digital era at a Shanghai International Film Festival forum. The Festival do Rio’s executive director Ilda Santiago noted that online platforms are now an unavoidable part of the film business and creative process, and that “of course not all [...]

  • Kiernan Shipka and Ross LynchMTV Movie

    MTV Movie & TV Awards: What You Didn't See on TV

    Many of the biggest stars in movies and television — including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kiernan Shipka, Sandra Bullock, Tessa Thompson and Brie Larson — came together to present and receive honors at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards, hosted by “Shazam!” star Zachary Levi. And while non-attendees are able to enjoy [...]

  • Johnny BananasMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    'The Challenge' Veteran Crashes MTV Awards Acceptance Speech; Cut From Broadcast

    Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio pulled a Kanye West at Saturday’s taping of the MTV Movie & TV awards when “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” won over “The Challenge” in the Reality Royalty category. However, viewers didn’t get to see it. Producers of the show cut out Devenanzio’s speech from Monday’s airing, after the reality star took [...]

  • Zachary LeviMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    MTV Movie & TV Awards Winners: The Complete List

    The MTV Movie & TV Awards returned to television Monday, with host Zachary Levi and a number of pop culture favorites. Dominating this year’s nominations with four apiece were front runners “Avengers: Endgame,” which took home the evening’s best movie award, and “Game of Thrones,” which won best show. The Oscar-nominated documentary “RBG” also scored [...]

  • Olivia Wilde Jon Ham Richard Jewell

    Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm Join Clint Eastwood's 'Richard Jewell' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Olivia Wilde and Jon Hamm have joined the cast of Clint Eastwood’s already star-studded drama “Richard Jewell.” Paul Walter Hauser is set to star as the titular Jewell in Warner Bros.’ pic alongside Sam Rockwell as Jewell’s attorney and Kathy Bates as Jewell’s mother. The drama is based on Marie Brenner’s article in Vanity Fair [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content