×
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

  • Beyond the Mountain

    ‘Beyond the Mountain,’ ‘Fireflies,’ ‘The Chambermaid’ Top Lleida Latin American Film Fest

    BARCELONA  — David R. Romay’s feature debut “Beyond the Mountain” snagged Best Feature at Lleida’s 25th Latin America Film Festival of Catalonia, hosted in the world’s culinary capital for grilled snails, 84 miles west of Barcelona. A dramatic thriller starring Benny Emmanuel (Gael García Bernal’s “Chicuarotes”), it follows Miguel, a young, solitary man whose routine [...]

  • shanghai skyline China Placeholder

    Shanghai: Tencent, Phoenix Win Rights to Taiwan Documentary 'Love Talk' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Tencent has acquired the online video streaming rights and Phoenix Hong Kong the TV rights to Taiwanese documentary “Love Talk,” which takes a deep dive into the topic of marriage. The film is currently working towards a mainland theatrical release. Directed by Shen Ko-Shang (“A Rolling Stone”), it is produced by CNEX Studio and 7th [...]

  • Yao Chen

    Xiamen Woos Film Industry, Becomes New Home of Golden Rooster Festival

    China’s government-led Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival has found a permanent home in Fujian province’s coastal city of Xiamen, starting from this year, municipal representatives said Monday at a Shanghai Intl. Film Festival press conference. “Xiamen has the confidence and the perseverance to be up to the task,” said Dai Zhiwang, the assistant [...]

  • TheReturn press launch at Shanghai Film

    Qin Hailu's 'The Return' Makes Emotional Debut at Shanghai Festival

    “This is the final film that seals my acting career,” said 95-year-old Chinese actor Chang Feng, of “The Return,” which plays this week in competition at the Shanghai International Film Festival. “The director, the screenwriter, and the entire crew have put so much heart into this film, I hope it wins the award.” The film [...]

  • Dami Im and Bong Joon-Ho'Parasite' premiere,

    ‘Parasite’ Wins Sydney Film Festival

    “Parasite,” the South Korean black drama that previously won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, was Sunday named as the winner of the Sydney Film Festival. After collecting a cash prize of A$60,000 ($41,200), at Sydney’s State Theatre, “Parasite” director said: “This Festival is really amazing, especially the audience…really special and extraordinary. This is the most [...]

  • China Film Group's Jiang Ping

    Shanghai: China Studio Chiefs Debate Winter Chills and U.S. Rivalry

    The Shanghai International Film Festival pulled off the impressive feat of assembling leading executives from seven of China’s top film studios. Their discussion focused on the problems that have recently beset the production sector and the industry’s relationship with Hollywood. “The film industry achieved great things in 2018, but it was also the year that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content