Netflix is being sued by a “Choose Your Own Adventure” publisher for using the phrase in its hit Black Mirror episode, Bandersnatch.
Chooseco claims Netflix came looking for a license to use their trademark in 2016, but negotiations fell apart. The Vermont-based company owns the series that shot to fame in the 1980s and 1990s for its radical new structure which allowed readers to determine the plot by turning to different pages.
Bandersnatch, which aired on December 28, prompts viewers to make quick decisions for protagonist Stefan Butler, allowing them to determine the narrative.
The suit claims that a scene where Butler tells his father the book he is holding is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” violates Chooseco’s trademark. It argues that the publisher will suffer “irreparable harm and injury to its goodwill and reputation” because of Bandersnatch’s “dark and violent themes” which are “too mature” for Chooseco’s teenager audience.
The episode has received critical acclaim with the British creator Charlie Brooker, recently described the process of writing the episode to Wired as “like making a giant patchwork quilt”. Netflix said they would not be commenting on the case.
Netflix was last year sued by The Satanic Temple for $50m over claims it copied the group’s statue of the goat god Baphomet in its Sabrina series. The streaming service did not comment on the case, but the temple leader bringing the suit later announced they had come to an “amicable” settlement.