×
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

  • 'Shazam!' Review: Zachary Levi is Pure

    Film Review: 'Shazam!'

    In “Shazam!,” Zachary Levi brings off something so winning it’s irresistible. He plays a square-jawed, rippling-muscled man of might, with a cheesy Day-Glo lighting bolt affixed to his chest, who projects an insanely wholesome and old-fashioned idea of what a superhero can be. But he’s also playing a breathless teenage kid on the inside, and [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Box Office: 'Us' on Track for Second-Highest Debut of 2019 With $67 Million

    Jordan Peele’s “Us” is on its way to scaring up one of the biggest debuts of 2019, with an estimated $67 million from 3,741 North American locations. Should estimates hold, “Us” will be able to claim several milestones: the highest debut for an original horror movie (the biggest launch for any horror pic goes to [...]

  • NF_D_JGN-D6-2160.cr2

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content