Netflix filed a lawsuit against Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, creators of “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical”, for copyright and trademark infringement.
The case came just days after the pair hosted a live performance of the Grammy award-winning musical album at The Kennedy Center in New York City on July 26.
“Defendants Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear and their companies (“Barlow & Bear”) have taken valuable intellectual property from the Netflix original series Bridgerton to build an international brand for themselves,” the lawsuit claims.
“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.”
In its lawsuit, the live streaming service alleges that the duo’s songs copy “liberally and nearly identically from Bridgerton across a number of original elements of expression” including “plot, pace, sequence of events, mood, setting, and themes.”
Furthermore, Netflix revealed that they have already warned the pair of such unauthorized work, adding that their representatives repeatedly assured the network that it would be consulted before Barlow & Bear took steps beyond streaming their album online in audio-only format.
The hit TV series executive producer Shonda Rhimes and novelist Julia Quinn commented on the lawsuit.
“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,” Rhimes told Deadline. “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.”
“There is a difference, however, between composing on TikTok and recording and performing for commercial gain,” Quinn stated. “I would hope that Barlow & Bear, who share my position as independent creative professionals, understand the need to protect other professionals’ intellectual property, including the characters and stories I created in the Bridgerton novels over twenty years ago.”