Streaming giant Netflix is suing GRAMMY Award-winning songwriting duo Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, the minds behind The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical, over their wildly popular adaptation of the hit television series.
According to the lawsuit, the streamer has taken aim at the pair over their for-profit, live production, “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Album Live in Concert,” which played to a sold-out crowd at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC earlier this week.
The complaint states, “The live show featured over a dozen songs that copied verbatim dialogue, character traits and expression, and other elements from Bridgerton the series. It included dramatic portrayals of Bridgerton characters by Broadway actors, emoting through the performance of the songs that comprise the “musical.”
The streamer has also taken issue with the advertisting for the stage show which states that the pair, “were using Netflix’s BRIDGERTON trademark “with Permission,” while Netflix vigorously objected. “
The lawsuit notes that in addition to the Grammy-winning album, the pair also has plans to tour the production, including a recently announced stop at London’s Royal Albert Hall, as well as a line of Bridgerton-themed merchandise for sale.
Netflix is currently touting its own immersive “Bridgerton Experience” a six-city event that invites fans into the world of the show. The company says that Barlow and Bear’s work is in direct competition with their production and that, “Netflix owns the exclusive right to create Bridgerton songs, musicals, or any other derivative works based on Bridgerton.”
In the complaint, Rosa Leda Ehler an attorney representing Netflix, writes, “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 artists and Netflix employees. 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.”
Netflix seeks to bar the songwriting team from producing any future productions and compensation for any profits the musicians have already made.
Barlow & Bear became a viral sensation after developing the album live on social media in real time, with lead vocals by Barlow and orchestration, production and additional vocals by Bear.
Since its release, the record has reached #1 on the iTunes U.S. Pop charts and been streamed more than 45 million times. It made history as the first ever album originating on TikTok to win a GRAMMY for “Best Musical Theater Album”. In doing so, the duo also became the youngest winners in the category’s history and were the only two women of the 28 nominees this year.