Netflix sues alleged knockoff ‘Bridgerton’ musical creators for infringement

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Netflix filed a lawsuit Friday against the creators of a stage musical production version of the streaming platform’s hit show “Bridgerton,” alleging that they infringed on the platform’s copyright.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, states that Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear stole intellectual property from Netflix to build an international brand. Barlow and Bear created “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical,” a musical version of the show, after beginning to post about the series on TikTok soon after it was released in December 2020.

The pair have received accolades for the musical, winning a Grammy award this year for best musical theater album.

They began creating musical compositions based on characters, scenes, dialogue and plot points, as others did. Netflix directly told Barlow and Bear when asked that the compositions were not authorized, according to the lawsuit.

The complaint states that they still moved forward to create their album.

“At each step of the way, Barlow & Bear’s representatives repeatedly assured Netflix that they understood Netflix’s position and led Netflix to believe that Netflix would be consulted before Barlow & Bear took steps beyond streaming their album online in audio-only format,” the lawsuit reads.

Netflix is arguing that their representations were false and the two are now profiting from its intellectual property.

The complaint states that Barlow and Bear held a “massive, for-profit stage show” called “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Album Live in Concert” in front of a sold-out audience at the Kennedy Center despite repeated objections from Netflix.

It states the show featured more than a dozen songs that copied dialogue, character traits, expression and other elements verbatim from the series. Barlow and Bear misrepresented that they were using Netflix’s “BRIDGERTON” trademark with permission, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that the pair plan to stage another performance of their musical in London, making it a world tour and promoted their own Bridgerton-themed merchandise.

Netflix and Barlow and Bear did not immediately return requests from The Hill for comment.

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