The Netflix legal department must be in overdrive at the moment. No sooner had they settled one ridiculous lawsuit from the Satanic Temple for $50m and another has come along. This one comes from the publishers of the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure' series of books.
The basis of the suit is that a recent episode of Black Mirror, Bandersnatch, unfairly used their brand without permission. The show allows viewers to make decisions at various points of the story. This in turn affects what outcome they might then encounter.
The problem for Netflix is that they had been in negotiations with Chooseco, the publishers, and had not received a licence to use it. Made worse is the fact that Bandersnatch contains an explicit reference to Choose Your Own Adventure. The main character even tells his father about the series.
Chooseco now claims that their reputation has been damaged. Apparently viewers have been confused over the links between the two products. The suit claims infringement, dilution and unfair competition and Chooseco is seeking at least $25m in damages or profits, whichever is higher.
While this isn't the first time that Netflix have created an interactive show, it is the first time they specifically referenced the Chooseco brand without their permission. However, that was after Chooseco sent a written cease and desist request to Netflix “on at least one occasion” before the release of Bandersnatch.
Looks like Netflix may be getting the chequebook out again!