Netflix is being sued by the publisher of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book franchise, which claims that the streaming service infringed on its trademark by having viewers choose the actions of the main character in “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.”
Chooseco filed a lawsuit in a Vermont federal court claiming that Netflix unlawfully used the company’s intellectual property in the “Black Mirror” special released late last month and caused “reputational harm” worth $25 million, BuzzFeed News reported Friday.
The children’s series “Choose Your Own Adventures” has readers select the characters’ path among a variety of different plots and endings.
“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” is the story of a young video game programmer attempting to adapt a fictional book described as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” read into a digital game.
Chooseco accused Netflix of trying to “capitalize on viewers’ nostalgia” by using direct references to the series from the 1980s and 1990s, BuzzFeed reported.
The two companies were in licensing negotiations in early 2016, but Netflix never received permission to use the trademark, according to the lawsuit.
The publisher also objected to the association with violence in the film, according to the outlet.
At one point in “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” the main character’s available choices make viewers decide between whether to kill himself or his friend, whether to kill his father and whether to bury a body or chop it into pieces first.
“We have received an unprecedented amount of outreach from people who believed we were associated with the creation of this film, including parents who were concerned that we had aligned the CYOA brand they knew and loved with content that surprised and offended them,” the company’s co-founder and publisher, Shannon Gilligan, said in a statement to BuzzFeed.
The lawsuit alleges one count each of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition and false designation of origin, the outlet reported.
The Hill has reached out to Netflix for comment.