Netflix in $25m lawsuit over Bandersnatch episode

Vermont-based children's book publisher Chooseco LLC, has filed a lawsuit against Netflix over the film, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, for trademark infringement over its use of the phrase "Choose Your Own Adventure", reports, Deadline. That basic idea has been translated into other mediums, like 1995's Mr. Payback, which let audiences vote on the outcome of the short film, and most recently with Bandersnatch, a film set in the Black Mirror universe and released by Netflix.

The publishers said the brand had been damaged due to the adult themes in the movie, with viewers confused over the association between it and the books.

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. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chooseco reported that Netflix sought to acquire this trademark but was never granted the license. Chooseco is seeking $25 million in damages "or Netflix's profits, whichever is greater". The franchise was extremely popular during the 1980s, growing to 184 books with more than 250 million copies printed. According to the suit, it's not that Netflix didn't realize the phrase "choose your own adventure" was a trademark; it's that it wasn't able to secure a license from the company and used the phrase anyway.

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The suit also notes that 20th Century Fox recently optioned the rights to create a film based on the series, which is now in the works.

For the three or four people as yet unfamiliar with Bandersnatch, the feature-length episode is set in 1984, and deals with a young video game programmer named Stefan who pitches his demo for an adventure game based on a choose-your-own-adventure-style book of the same name to a successful game publisher.

When contacted by Pitchfork, representatives for Netflix offered no comment.

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