Netflix sues creators of The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical

·2-min read

Netflix are suing the creators of the Grammy-winning stage play The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical.

Lawyers for the streaming service argued in a filing on Friday (29 July) that Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear had profited off the intellectual property of their hit streaming series Bridgerton.

The allegations centre on a 26 July performance of the musical at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, as well as a forthcoming perfomance in London’s Royal Albert Hall.

The lawsuit also cites the selling of “their own line of Bridgerton-themed merchandise”.

“Bridgerton reflects the creative work and hard-earned success of hundreds of artists and Netflix employees,” the suit says (per The Hollywood Reporter).

“Netflix owns the exclusive right to create Bridgerton songs, musicals, or any other derivative works based on Bridgerton. Barlow & Bear cannot take that right — made valuable by others’ hard work — for themselves, without permission. Yet that is exactly what they have done.”

The lawsuit also states that Bear and Barlow were among “countless” fans of the Bridgerton TV series who started sharing musical compositions inspired by the series on social media after its first season dropped in December 2020.

Rege-Jean Page in ‘Bridgerton’ (Netflix)
Rege-Jean Page in ‘Bridgerton’ (Netflix)

According to the filing, the live show, however, featured content that taken “verbatim” from the series. It is also claimed that tickets for their sold-out show at the Kennedy Center sold for as much as $149 (£122).

The Independent has contacted representatives of Barlow and Bear for comment.

In a statement, Netflix said: “[The company] supports fan-generated content, but Barlow & Bear have taken this many steps further, seeking to create multiple revenue streams for themselves without formal permission to utilize the Bridgerton IP.

“We’ve tried hard to work with Barlow & Bear, and they have refused to cooperate. The creators, cast, writers and crew have poured their hearts and souls into Bridgerton, and we’re taking action to protect their rights.”

 (Netflix)
(Netflix)

Series producer Shonda Rhimes also said (per THR): “There is so much joy in seeing audiences fall in love with Bridgerton and watching the creative ways they express their fandom.

“What started as a fun celebration by Barlow & Bear on social media has turned into the blatant taking of intellectual property solely for Barlow & Bear’s financial benefit. This property was created by Julia Quinn and brought to life on screen through the hard work of countless individuals. Just as Barlow & Bear would not allow others to appropriate their IP for profit, Netflix cannot stand by and allow Barlow & Bear to do the same with Bridgerton.”

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