Netflix sued over Bandersnatch by Choose Your Own Adventure team
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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch very quickly became something of a social phenomenon upon its release during the last days of 2018.
In case you somehow missed the interactive Netflix event, here's some bullet points:
- It has been hailed as "the future of TV".
- It boasts multiple endings.
- People have made flow charts to map out all of the paths.
- You can play one of the old school video games as seen in the episode.
- There's an ending that nobody really picked up on.
You get the idea. Still very much part of the conversation in 2019, it seems that a murkier path has opened up for Bandersnatch with the news that an intellectual property lawsuit has been freshly inked.
As everyone should know by now, Bandersnatch is framed very much in the vein of the classic Choose Your Own Adventure books, even referencing such ambiguous literary action by name in the episode in order to explain how the mechanics work, an element that has been highlighted in the new lawsuit.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix actively pursued a licence to depict this exact structure, but never received one.
Chooseco LLC, the publisher that owns the trademark for the Choose Your Own Adventure series, officially filed a complaint against the streaming giant on Friday in a Vermont federal court.
The lawsuit notes that the publisher has used the trademark since the 1980s and has sold over 265 million copies of the book series in question.
It also criticises Black Mirror's approach, arguing that its “dark and, at times, disturbing content dilutes the goodwill for any positive associations with Chooseco’s mark and tarnishes its products.”
Furthermore, it is underlined that 20th Century Fox currently has the rights to develop an interactive series based on the Choose Your Own Adventure format.
Netflix is said to have applied for a licence in 2016, but didn't receive one.
A cease and desist order was issued to Netflix on behalf of Chooseco prior to the release of Bandersnatch, requesting that the platform stop using the trademark in connection with their marketing materials.
Netflix has yet to comment directly on the lawsuit.
You can view the suit in full here.