The "Choose Your Own Adventure" Book Publisher Sues Netflix Over BLACK MIRROR: BANDERSNATCH
Looks like the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book publisher, Chooseco LLC, isn’t happy with Netflix’s interactive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. The publisher has filed a lawsuit against Netflix alleging that the movie infringes on its trademarks.
As many of you already know, Bandersnatch allows the viewers to make choices for the characters throughout the story affecting the direction of it which will lead to a number of possible endings. It’s actually a pretty cool experience.
The publisher alleges that Netflix “deliberately exploited the brand awareness of its book series to launch the show.” They’re looking for $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.”
It’s also pointed out that early on in the film, the main character refers to the book series. He is pitching a video game based on a book that he’s reading, and when the character’s dad asks about the book, the character tells him, “It’s a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book.”
The publisher also doesn’t like the fact that the movie is violent and disturbing because they feel it 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.”
Shannon Gilligan, the widow of the author of the book series, R.A. Montgomery issued a statement clarifying 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. 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.”
I’ll be honest… I didn’t even know that the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book series was still around. I get why they are upset, but at the same time the movie is giving the brand free promotion! I initially thought it was kind of cool that the movie was breathing life back into the property. Obviously, the publisher doesn’t feel the same way.
It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit plays out. In the meantime, let us know what you think about the lawsuit.