Netflix is reportedly facing a $25 million (£19m) lawsuit after a book publisher claimed the idea behind it's hit film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch infringes on brand awareness. Early on in the film, the main character also talks about adapting a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book into a computer game. Chooseco claims Netflix's film contains scenes of "extreme physical violence, murder, drug use and a choice about the death of a child", which is something it does not wish its books be associated with.
Chooseco, LLC, the publisher behind the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series and owner of the trademark, has filed a lawsuit against Netflix over the immersive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, The Hollywood Reporter reports.
Chooseco says Netflix "used the mark willfully and intentionally to capitalize on viewers' nostalgia for the original book series from the 1980s and 1990s".
It's an interpretive stretch that stems from the company's pre-existing animosity with the streaming service, as Netflix has been struggling to negotiate a license with Chooseco since 2016.
The publishers said the brand had been damaged due to the adult themes in the movie, with viewers confused over the association between it and the books. 20th Century Fox is now in talks with the publisher to develop an interactive series based on the property, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In doing so, Chooseco claims, Netflix implies that the book in Bandersnatch is an official part of the series. We would prefer not to resort to litigation, but given the damage that we will suffer as a result of the use of our mark we've been left with no other option.
The publisher is now demanding a U.S. district court in Vermont force Netflix to pay at least $25 million in damages over the trademark infringement.
According to Variety, Netflix did not respond to a request for comment.
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