Netflix sued over Bandersnatch's similarities to Choose Your Own Adventure

A show poster for Kellar

Netflix and the publisher apparently had engaged in talks in recent years, with Netflix trying to secure a license to use the Choose Your Own Adventure trademark.

In Bandersnatch, a young programmer is adapting a famous and mysterious choose your own adventure novel into a video game, which sends him down a plight of morality and effect as he digs deeper and deeper into the meaning of free will.

"On at least one occasion before the release of Bandersnatch, Chooseco sent a written cease and desist request to Netflix asking the USA -based streaming giant to stop using the CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE mark in connection with its marketing efforts for another television program".

Furthermore, the publisher claims that it has registered the phrase in connection with movies, books and other forms of media.

Here, it's also important to note the fact that Netflix has not made use of the phrase "choose your own adventure" in any of its official marketing for Bandersnatch, although the episode has been referred to extensively in the press using that very phrase. The game is an adaptation of a "choose your own adventure book", a phrase that the main character Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) says on the show.

The company had already partnered with Twentieth Century Fox for an upcoming series of interactive films based on the books, which have sold over 265m copies worldwide.

After R.A. Montgomery, the original publisher and author of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series, passed away in 2014, his widow Shannon Gilligan took over the company.

"The misappropriation of our mark by Netflix presents an extreme challenge for a small independent publisher like Chooseco", the complaint states.

"Its use of quotes and capital letters in the subtitles is further evidence of Netflix's knowing and willful use of Chooseco's trademark", they said. Chooseco is seeking $25 million in damages "or Netflix's profits, whichever is greater". The lawsuit alleges that "The film's dark and, at times, disturbing content dilutes the goodwill for and positive associations with Chooseco's mark and tarnishes its products".

A Netflix spokesperson declined to comment.

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