Netflix sues Bridgerton musical creators


Netflix has filed a copyrights lawsuit against the creators of The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical.

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages, while also looking to stop any further performances of the show.

Talk of a stage show based on the period drama – which is itself adapted from Julia Quinn’s series of novels – first emerged after the show’s debut in December 2020. The defendants, Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, began posting on TikTok to 2.4 million followers about the prospect of a Bridgerton musical including the creation of songs about characters and plot points. 

The show was sued days after it was performed to a sold-out audience at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center last week, with Netflix simultaneously hosting a live Bridgerton experience in the city. 

Netflix said that it had repeatedly warned Barlow and Bear against monetising their social media creation, but the pair carried on and produced the Grammy award-winning The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical album, while the show is set for its UK debut at the Royal Albert Hall next month. 

In the lawsuit, Netflix said: “Barlow & Bear’s conduct began on social media, but stretches ‘fan fiction’ well past its breaking point. It is blatant infringement of intellectual property rights.”

The suit goes on to argue that the show in DC “attracted Bridgerton fans who would have otherwise attended the Bridgerton Experience and created confusion as to whether Netflix had approved of Barlow & Bear’s unauthorised derivative works.”

Shonda Rhimes, creator of the Netflix adaptation said that she was pleased to see fans express their appreciation for the show in a creative way, “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.”

Book author Julia Quinn similarly said that “there is a difference, however, between composing on TikTok and recording and performing for commercial gain.”

The lawyers for Barlow and Bear said that they are yet to review the complaint and had no comment.

Tags: Netflix

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