Netflix Continues To Release CYOA Content, Doesn't Refer To It As 'CYOA'...For Now

from the select-thee-own-path dept

This Chooseco and Netflix trademark dispute story gets more and more interesting. To catch you up, Netflix produced the Black Mirror iteration entitled Bandersnatch which both was, and was marketed as, a "choose your own adventure" production, similar to the CYOA books from our youth. There was also some dialogue within the production itself that referenced "choose your own adventure." For this, Chooseco, which has a trademark on the phrase, sued Netflix. Netflix tried to get the case tossed on First Amendment grounds, failed, and has since counterclaimed to have Chooseco's trademark cancelled entirely.

To highlight how stupid this all is, let's review some press from Netflix's latest iteration of its excellent Carmen Sandiego show, which includes post titles like Kotaku's Carmen Sandiego Is Getting Back To Its Gaming Roots With Netflix's Next Choose Your Own Adventure-Style Special.

Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not To Steal is a new special set in the continuity of Netflix’s animated reboot of the beloved adventure series, and sees Carmen forced into pairing up with her former sneaky tutors in the art of thievery at VILE Academy on a new string of heists. Why is Carmen working with her former frenemies? Because they’ve captured her friends Ivy and Zack, and are threatening to brainwash them into VILE’s latest operatives if she doesn’t team-up.

Judging by the trailer, this isn’t going to be a Black Mirror: Bandersnatch level of mutability and player choice, which is fine, considering this is more aimed at kids and families (you also may note Netflix is definitely not attaching the Choose Your Own Adventure name to this one).

That's true. Netflix is absolutely not using anything remotely close to the CYOA moniker to promote this thing. Why? Well, almost certainly because of the nonsense lawsuit its wrapped up in with Chooseco. However, you will notice that the press is quite happy to describe Netflix's new production by the genre moniker that makes the most sense: choose your own adventure.

This highlights the entire problem with Chooseco's lawsuit, as well as the reasoning behind Netflix seeking to cancel the trademark entirely. "Choose your own adventure" is either generic or descriptive, or perhaps some combination of both. What is isn't, to be sure, is somehow descriptive or distinctive of Chooseco products in particular.

And, yet, Chooseco's lawsuit rolls on.

Filed Under: black mirror, carmen sandiego, choose your own adventure, cyoa, trademark
Companies: chooseco, netflix


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  1. icon
    UriGagarin (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 8:02pm

    is this right

    This Chooseco and Netflix trademark dispute story gets more and more interesting. To catch you up, Netflix produced the Black Mirror iteration entitled Netflix which both was,

    Wasn't it Bandersnatch?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 10:51pm

    So you're saying Netflix made a Cover Your Own Ass series?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2020 @ 12:26am

    Chooseco is on a "choose your own method of Bankruptcy" quest.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Cowardly Lion, 6 Mar 2020 @ 5:10am

    In other news...

    "Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not To Steal"

    Shakespeare's descendants sue Netflix for copyright infringement...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2020 @ 7:23am

    Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not To Steal is a new special set in the continuity of Netflix’s animated reboot of the beloved adventure series, and sees Carmen forced into pairing up with her former sneaky tutors in the art of thievery at VILE Academy on a new string of heists. Why is Carmen working with her former frenemies? Because they’ve captured her friends Ivy and Zack, and are threatening to brainwash them into VILE’s latest operatives if she doesn’t team-up.

    Wait... what?!? Carmen as the protagonist, acting as a friend to Zack and Ivy? Did they watch the original at all? Zack and Ivy were the heroes, detectives trying to hunt down Carmen and bring her to justice!

    What's next? A heroic Borg teaming up with Captain Picard?!?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2020 @ 7:26am

    Re:

    TBH I'm surprised Chooseco is even still around. Before this Netflix suit broke out, I don't think I've heard anything about them or CYOA books since the very early 90s... right about when computer hardware became powerful enough that video games could fill the same niche their books filled, but do a better job at it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2020 @ 7:40am

    Re:

    You just stumbled into a whole sub-genre of Star Trek pornographic fanfic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2020 @ 7:55am

    Yes. Netflix's lawyers made a Cover Your Own Arse series...

    ...and Chooseco' s lawyers should have done likewise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    crade (profile), 6 Mar 2020 @ 8:33am

    I guess CYOA means different things to different people

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2020 @ 9:57am

    Forget all of the CYOA stuff. What we really want to know is...

    ...Are they using the Rockapella theme song from the 90s game show?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Glen, 6 Mar 2020 @ 9:59am

    Re:

    Have my angry "LOL" vote.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2020 @ 11:30am

    Re:

    What's next? A heroic Borg teaming up with Captain Picard?!?

    Umm... Picard is doing exactly that, with Seven of Nine...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2020 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2020 @ 6:06pm

    Re: In other news...

    Where in the world is copyright Sandiego? Sandiego?

    ...

    ...Sandiego?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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