Netflix Sues Creators of ‘The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical’

Few were unaffected by the debut season of the Netflix TV series Bridgerton. The show, a Regency romance based on author Julia Quinn’s novels, amassed hundreds of millions of viewing hours soon after its release. And, with all this buzz flying in the cinematic world, it was only a matter of time before the music world got involved in the series.

The fast-rising singer/songwriter duo, Barlow & Bear, took a particular interest in the Bridgerton. The pair, also known by their full names Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, created an unofficial musical for the series by writing songs that describe many of the events in the show.

Now, though, the pair is being sued by the streaming giant and Bridgerton Netflix distributor.

In a statement from the lawsuit, Netflix representatives explained that they celebrated the work of Barlow & Bear while it remained a free homage to the series. Once the pair started looking to make a profit, however, Netflix began to express its anxieties about financially benefiting from one of its brands.

In particular, Barlow & Bear recently performed their musical live with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. Netflix said it made “repeated objections[s]” on the show.

“Throughout the performance, Barlow & Bear misled the audience that they were using Netflix’s BRIDGERTON trademark ‘with Permission,'” the lawsuit said.

Additionally, as the lawsuit states, “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. Bridgerton reflects the creative work and hard-earned success of hundreds of Netflix artists and employees. Netflix owns the exclusive right to create songs, musicals, or any other another work derived from Bridgerton based on Bridgerton. Barlow & Bear could not have taken that right—made essential to the labors of others—for themselves, without permission. But that is exactly what they did.”

Barlow & Bear has yet to comment on the suit, but it begs the question, when does imitation become infringement?

Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Getty Images


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