Netflix being sued by the Choose Your Own Adventure publisher over the interactive Bandersnatch

Avatar image for fezrock
Fezrock

735

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#1  Edited By Fezrock

Like the title says. The CYOA book publisher is suing Netflix over the interactive piece of fiction, Bandersnatch. There's two claims, one is about unfair competition (since apparently Netflix had previously been in talks with the publisher about making a branded CYOA product) and the other is about "false designation of origin." Netflix hasn't used the words "Choose Your Own Adventure" anywhere in its marketing, but the publisher seems to be claiming that, because of the interactivity, the product is so similar in concept to its books that it's caused serious brand confusion and “causing confusion, tarnishing, denigrating, and diluting the distinct quality" of its books.

I can't speak to the validity of the first claim, but the second claim seems like the kind of thing that, if successful, would threaten basically all interactive fiction; aka pretty much every video game. Hopefully the case just gets tossed.

ETA: Just noticed the somewhat hilarious typo in the title; fixed now.

Avatar image for efesell
Efesell

4972

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Yeah that second point is a fuckin reaaaaaaaaach.

I didn't know they still made CYOA books.

Avatar image for deactivated-5d5f33a6b34f9
deactivated-5d5f33a6b34f9

210

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

There's been loads of other publishers putting out choose your own adventure/solo gamebooks since the 80’s. I don’t get the second claim. They don’t own the medium, perhaps the naming but that's it.

Avatar image for chaser324
chaser324

8846

Forum Posts

14877

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 12

#4 chaser324  Moderator

The premise for this lawsuit seems extremely thin, and I have to imagine there's a decent chance of it being thrown out.

The article states that there were previous discussions between Netflix and ChooseCo, so the only possible issue I could see here is if ChooseCo presented an idea extremely similar to Bandersnatch and then Netflix went off and did it without them. It doesn't seem like that's what the lawsuit is alleging though.

Avatar image for bladeofcreation
BladeOfCreation

1599

Forum Posts

27

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 3

#5  Edited By BladeOfCreation

Yet another indication of how ridiculous trademark law is.

Sure, investigate Netflix for this if they were working with them and then did it themselves. That does come across as shady on the part of Netflix, like the whole Epic/Bluehole/Fortnite scandal did for Epic. But ChooseCo doesn't own this idea and no one decided to watch Bandersnatch because they thought it was a licensed CYOA property.

Edit: The claim in the lawsuit that ChooseCo and its predecessors have sold 265 million copies is pretty amusing. As it's worded, it is literally correct. But I feel like it leaves out context, like the fact that ChooseCo, founded by one of the guys behind the CYOA books (but not the guy who came up with the idea), grabbed the trademark only after the previous publisher let it lapse. Is that relevant to the court case? I'm sure it isn't, but it sure is an amusing detail.

I didn't even know that CYOA was its own brand/trademark. I just thought it was a general term for these books, and I'm pretty sure that's the way many people use the term.

Avatar image for sethmode
SethMode

2436

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@bladeofcreation: As soon as I read this I not only thought of you, but your avatar.

Also, this feels in the same vein as the lawsuits regarding dances in Fortnite, or, Battle Royale in general. And I don't disparage people being litigious just...I don't know, have a case. The idea (in this case) that branching paths is something that should be locked into one company is utterly absurd.

Avatar image for flashflood_29
FlashFlood_29

4497

Forum Posts

444

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

Oh fuuuuckkk offffffff.

That's all I have to add to this.

Avatar image for dudeglove
dudeglove

13914

Forum Posts

1166

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 2

#8  Edited By dudeglove
@farleyslundgren said:

There's been loads of other publishers putting out choose your own adventure/solo gamebooks since the 80’s. I don’t get the second claim. They don’t own the medium, perhaps the naming but that's it.

You'd think that, but ChooseCo has trademarked the term "choose your own adventure" and you can bet ChooseCo is extremely, extremely litiguous to the point that the larger community of people involved in this stuff don't say CYOA,. but IF or "Interactive Fiction". If you want a recent example, check out Lottie Bevan's (Cultist SImulator) recent experience

ChooseCo are basically patent trolls in other words. It'd be amusing if this goes to court.

Avatar image for oursin_360
OurSin_360

6362

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

"He describes the novel as “a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book” once, though Netflix has neither described nor marketed the film as such."

That's pretty much the only reason they feel they can sue, not sure how that will ever hold up in court but i've seen crazier.

Avatar image for someoneproud
someoneproud

782

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Haha, no way anything comes of it. Seems like a shit tier publicity stunt by CYOA.

Avatar image for bladeofcreation
BladeOfCreation

1599

Forum Posts

27

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 3

I wonder if there are any cases of characters in newer movies using the term, "Just google it," without explicit permission from Google, and if Google has ever tried to sue for that.

I should google that.

Avatar image for mavs
mavs

395

Forum Posts

2

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

They have a claim if "choose-your-own-adventure" is not a generic term, and suing would be the way to prevent it from becoming generic. It's a lost cause, but I can't blame them for fighting it until they lose in court.

Avatar image for hermes
hermes

2705

Forum Posts

75

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

This seems like a trolling move with barely any grounds. It would be different if Netflix was using the phrase in marketing materials...

I wish Netflix wins and then countersues their asses for making them waste time...

Avatar image for bowl-of-lentils
Bowl-of-Lentils

1197

Forum Posts

185371

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 19

I feel like if CYOA was going to sue Netflix then you'd think they'd also attack every visual novel on Steam for basically being gamified choose-your-own-adventure books as well. Games like the recently released 428: Shibuya Scramble are even closer to being a CYOA book than even Bandersnatch. Heck, Aksys literally called Banshee's Last Cry a "choose-your-own-adventure classic" on the game's official website and they didn't get in any trouble for that. Seems really disingenuous that they'd only now start calling their lawyers when the gaming industry has been making interactive fiction in one form or another since the 1970s.

Avatar image for neocalypso
NeoCalypso

816

Forum Posts

44

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

I'll bet if you did a nationwide study to see if people are actually confusing the Netflix thing and CYOA books, the result would be "Most people didn't know CYOA books were still a thing". This brand confusion claim is complete nonsense.

Avatar image for shagge
ShaggE

9430

Forum Posts

5

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

All CYOA has to do is keep their finger on the page where they make the decision that either wins or loses the case for them, and just flip back if they pick the wrong one.

Avatar image for totsboy
totsboy

502

Forum Posts

80

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 8

Well, I was using the term to market my upcoming game, might as well use "interactive fiction" instead.

Avatar image for flameboy84
flameboy84

909

Forum Posts

53

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Patent trolling in my view there were so many choose your own adventure books out there that weren't this particular brand and they obviously didn't pursue them back then. More fool you for not riding with the times and either creating a licensing agreement for the branding to a video platform or making your own.

I'd be interested to know does their copyright include the phrase choose your adventure, the concept of books that do this or something more. As in reality all they did was mention the genre in passing and then build a "game" around that concept the likes of which we've seen many times before.

Avatar image for avantegardener
avantegardener

2413

Forum Posts

165

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 11

#19  Edited By avantegardener

@shagge said:

All CYOA has to do is keep their finger on the page where they make the decision that either wins or loses the case for them, and just flip back if they pick the wrong one.

If giant bomb had a like button for comments, one would be awarded here.

Avatar image for thursday1977
Thursday1977

160

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Bandersnatch isn't even the first one of these that had appeared on Netflix as a Netflix exclusive. The first one that I remember was a Puss in Boots interactive episode with decisions that could be made throughout, and one for another kids show called Buddy Thunderstruck. Seems like they are only taking notice of the more widely viewed Bandersnatch... which isn't terribly surprising, I suppose.