Word has come down the Hollywood wire that Vermont children’s book publisher, Chooseco, is suing Netflix for trademark infringement over the use of the term “Choose Your Own Adventure.” While seeking a minimum of $25 million in damages for the violation, Chooseco says that the streaming giant’s BLACK MIRROR: BANDERSNATCH did not secure the proper permissions to the publisher’s time-honored brand of interactive novels. In the past, Chooseco has sold over 265 million copies of its Choose Your Own Adventure books, an experience where the reader’s decisions directly effect the narrative’s plot and outcome. The first Choose Your Own Adventure novel was published by Bantam Books in 1979, and featured the story The Cave of Time by author Richard Packard. So successful was the interactive book, that Bantam continued to publish the original series until 1998. Later, Chooseco took up the mantle by republishing the line of multiple-choice style epics, adding their own original stories to the mix as time ticked on.
In BLACK MIRROR: BANDERSNATCH, viewers interact with the program by controlling the fate of a computer programmer who’s creating a video game based on a fantasy novel titled Bandersnatch. During the events, the programmer calls the novel a “Choose Your Own Adventure book.”
“Chooseco and Netflix engaged in extensive negotiations that were ongoing for a number of years, but Netflix did not receive a license,” states the complaint. “On at least one occasion before the release of Bandersnatch, Chooseco sent a written cease and desist request to Netflix asking Netflix to stop using the CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE mark in connection with its marketing efforts for another television program.”
You can read Chooseco’s complaint in full by clicking here.
In looking over the details of the lawsuit, we find that Netflix previously negotiated with Chooseco for the rights to “Choose Your Own Adventure” but a deal was never agreed upon. Furthermore, Chooseco also demands that Netflix stop using the “Choose Your Own Adventure” angle of the episode as a part of its mass marketing tools.
Woof. Copyrights are a real pain in the Bandersnatch, eh? Do you think Netflix will end up shelling out $25 million (or higher) for violating their pact with Chooseco? Have you played/watched Netflix’s BLACK MIRROR: BANDERSNATCH? Let us know your thoughts about the episode and this lawsuit in comments section below.