Netflix sues songwriters behind unauthorized ‘Bridgerton’ musical

Netflix is ​​suing the songwriting team behind the unauthorized musical “Bridgerton” for infringement, court documents filed Friday in a U.S. District Court in Washington, DC revealed.

Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear created the tribute to the hit Netflix show in 2021 with a series of music videos posted on TikTok. The record has been streamed over 45 million times, reached No. 1 on iTunes’ US pop charts and won a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album of 2022.

Netflix initially supported the idea when it debuted as a free online tribute. The issue between them began on July 26, 2022, when Barlow and Bear staged what Netflix says was a “for-profit” performance of “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Album Live in Concert” for a sold-out crowd at the Kennedy Center, with tickets up to $149 each.

According to the lawsuit, the live broadcast featured more than a dozen songs with text dialogue from the series, as well as “dramatic portrayals of ‘Bridgerton’ characters by Broadway actors, moving through the interpretation of the songs that make up the ‘musical’.” Netflix says Barlow and Bear “falsely stated to the public that they were using Netflix’s BRIDGERTON trademark ‘with permission,’ while Netflix vigorously objected.”

“Defendants Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear and their companies (“Barlow & Bear”) took valuable intellectual property from the Netflix original series Bridgerton to create an international brand for themselves,” the lawsuit said. “Bridgerton reflects the creative work and hard-earned success of hundreds of artists and Netflix employees. Netflix owns the exclusive right to create songs, musicals, or any derivative works based on Bridgerton. Barlow & Bear may not not appropriate this right, made precious by the hard work of others, without permission.Yet that is exactly what they have done.

Now, according to the lawsuit, Barlow and Bear “have announced their intention to stage another performance of their unauthorized derivative works at the Royal Albert Hall in London, which will go on a world tour.” Additionally, the suit claims that the team even promoted their own line of “Bridgerton” themed merchandise.

Netflix asks to be “entitled to recover its reasonable attorneys’ fees, court costs and
interest” and “be granted such other additional relief as the Court deems just and appropriate”.

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