Netflix Sued Over "Bandersnatch" By "Choose Your Own Adventure" Creator

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

According to Chooseco's complaint, Netflix "actively pursued a license to use CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE" starting in 2016, but was not granted one.

According to a January 11th, 2019 Hollywood Reporter story, USA -based publisher Chooseco filed documents in Vermont arguing that the publisher has used the phrase since the 1980s and has sold more than 265 million copies of its Choose Your Own Adventure books.

The streaming platform released the feature-length Bandersnatch in December which allowed viewers to make decisions at various points of the story, affecting what outcome they might then encounter.

"Chooseco and Netflix engaged in extensive negotiations that were ongoing for a number of years, but Netflix did not receive a license", the lawsuit reads. The movie was billed as a "choose your own adventure" tale, even though the company largely refrained from actually using that phrase in the marketing.

Shannon Gilligan, who leads the company after the death of original publisher R.A. Montgomery, made a statement on Friday, accusing Netflix of causing serious damage to their business.

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"The misappropriation of our mark by Netflix presents an extreme challenge for a small independent publisher like Chooseco", she said. 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 Choose Your Own Adventure series has sold more than 265 million copies worldwide. 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". Additionally, the suit suggests that 20th Century Fox has optioned the rights to develop films based on these books.

They're now reportedly demanding at least $25 million in damages or Netflix's profits, whichever is greater, claiming infringement, dilution and unfair competition.

According to Variety, Netflix did not respond to a request for comment.

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