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Credit: Netflix

WIRE Buzz: Bandersnatch lawsuit moves forward against Netflix; Brahms: The Boy II trailer; more

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Feb 11, 2020

Netflix may be investing in interactive fiction after its Black Mirror: Bandersnatch experiment, but a lawsuit against the streamer by the trademark owner of "Choose Your Own Adventure" is making enough progress that it might affect how these stories are marketed in the future.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, publisher Chooseco LLC filed suit last January after Bandersnatch debuted and, it claims, confused viewers into thinking it was associated with the brand of children’s books. This rests mainly on the use of a Choose Your Own Adventure book (which the protagonist claims he’s based his work on) in the interactive film’s marketing. Now, the decision has come down that the lawsuit will move forward after Netflix’s attempt to get the lawsuit dismissed has failed.

Vermont U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions ruled that there’s enough evidence that Netflix used the Chooseco trademark outside of legal limits to move the complaint further. Sessions agreed that Bandersnatch is an artistic work under the balancing test of Rogers v. Grimaldi (meaning that the trademark usage must be misleading) and thus warrants further analysis.

"Netflix used Chooseco’s mark to describe the interactive narrative structure shared by the book, the videogame, and the film itself,” the ruling reads. “In addition, the mental imagery associated with Chooseco’s mark adds to Bandersnatch’s 1980s aesthetic. Thus, Netflix’s use of Chooseco’s mark clears the purposely-low threshold of Rogers’ artistic relevance prong." That means the next step is ruling on whether or not Netflix misled viewers.

Chooseco’s allegations that Netflix tried to license the brand, then, without getting one, releasing Bandersnatch anyways, might be key here. "The protagonist in Bandersnatch explicitly stated that the fictitious book at the center of the film’s plot was a Choose Your Own Adventure book,” the decision continues. “In addition, the book, the videogame, and the film itself all employ the same type of interactivity as Chooseco’s products. The similarity between Chooseco’s products, Netflix’s film, and the fictitious book Netflix described as a Choose Your Own Adventure book increases the likelihood of consumer confusion."

However, there’s no ruling on that front yet — just the decision to move forward with the complaint and not dismiss it out of hand. All fans can do is await the next steps that may shape the future of the streamer’s interactive library.


Next, the sequel to The Boy continues to move away from its original’s plotline. The horror follow-up already teased as much in its first footage, but now that a new trailer has come out, it makes the Katie Holmes-starring film clearly separate from the first.

Brahms: The Boy II (already a strange title for a movie) looks to rearrange the mythology of the universe so that the mysterious doll at its center isn’t just a misdirect for a grown maniac living in a mansion’s walls, but a mystical source of murderous powers...powers that can infect the son of Holmes’ character when they arrive at the house.

Take a look:

So there’s rules one has to follow or else they get very, very killed by Brahms (or this kid’s Brahms-influenced brain). Looks like some rules have already gotten busted by the looks of the trailer — leading to at least some suspicious circumstances, if not deaths. So does that mean this kid is being haunted? Or is it all in his head? What is really going on in this franchise, beyond that creepy doll’s face?

Brahms makes fans follow the rules when The Boy II hits theaters on Feb. 21.


Finally, ‘90s nostalgia has come full circle because Ally McBeal’s dancing baby is back — and this time he’s in HD. Long before Guardians of the Galaxy reminded genre fans about how hard Blue Swede's "Hooked On A Feeling" slaps, the weirdo legal dramedy (starring Robert Downey Jr., for a while) brought the song to meme status thanks to its weird animated baby. That baby then became one of the first meme GIFs. Now someone on the internet has resurrected that groovin’ infant.

First reported at Digg, the story of Twitter user and artist @JArmstrongArty is a long and strange one. But it starts with the original assets for the baby:

He then popped all that into Garry’s Mod, the Steam game/animation sandbox, creating a vibrant new look at an old haunting classic. And here’re the assets so fans can try their hand at something equally upsetting:

Perhaps someone could recut James Gunn’s GotG trailers to include this little tyke?

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