It’s sort of impossible to write about Black Mirror’s “Bandersnatch” episode without the words “choose your own adventure,” as the episode allows viewers to dictate the direction of the story in much the same manner as the iconic book series of the same name. Though you’d think they’d enjoy all the free publicity, book publisher Chooseco, who own the Choose Your Own Adventure trademark, is suing the Netflix series for infringing upon and “tarnishing” its brand.
Court documents filed in Vermont (and shared by The Hollywood Reporter) reveal that, though Netflix actively pursued a license, it never received one. Chooseco has plenty of problems with the episode, too, saying in the complaint that its “dark and, at times, disturbing content dilutes the goodwill for an positive associations with Chooseco’s mark and tarnishes its products.” Noting how the Choose Your Own Adventure brand is directly mentioned in the episode, the complaint alleges that Black Mirror “used the mark willfully and intentionally to capitalize on viewers’ nostalgia for the original book series from the 1980s and 1990s.”
As such, Chooseco believes it’s entitled to at least $25 million in damages or Netflix’s profits, whichever is greater, as well as injunctive relief. Creator Charlie Brooker, we think, might be wise not to tell these particular critics to “fuck off.”