Netflix will soon need to choose its own legal argument in response to a $25 million lawsuit.
The streaming platform is being sued by Chooseco, the publisher of the Choose Your Own Adventure books, over Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This recently-released interactive movie, a part of the popular sci-fi anthology show, asks viewers to make decisions throughout the narrative in order to steer the plot.
Chooseco says that it has a contract to make its own series based on the books, the name of which is trademarked, and that Netflix had been trying to negotiate a license with them for years but never obtained it. Chooseco argues that Netflix is profiting off its brand name with Bandersnatch, which features a scene in which one of the main characters refers to a “choose your own adventure book.” The plot revolves around his attempt to turn that book into a video game.
The book in question is fictional, though, and it’s not branded as being part of the Chooseco Choose Your Own Adventure series on the front cover depicted in the movie. And as the Reporter notes, Netflix didn’t actually promote Bandersnatch as being a “choose your own adventure” film, even if it was widely referred to that way by fans. Netflix hasn’t yet responded to the lawsuit, but Chooseco is asking for either $25 million in damages or Netflix’s profit on the movie, depending on which is higher.
Netflix reportedly has grand plans for more interactive content after Bandersnatch, including movies in other genres. But if this court case is anything like Bandersnatch itself, it will have a wide variety of possible endings that are each even bleaker than the last. Brendan Morrow