Netflix is suing Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, the duo behind The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical over copyright infringement, as first reported by Deadline. The streaming large filed the criticism in a Washington, DC district courtroom simply days after Barlow and Bear held a reside, sold-out present devoted to their Bridgerton-inspired album.
After Bridgerton’s 2020 debut, Barlow and Bear started creating music primarily based on the Netflix authentic collection and selling the endeavor on TikTok, the place it rapidly gained reputation. As followers requested extra content material, Barlow and Bear quickly had sufficient to create a 15-song album that went on to win a Grammy in April, a primary for music originating on TikTok. On July twenty sixth, Barlow and Bear held a live performance on the Kennedy Heart in Washington, DC, that includes reside performances and music from the Nationwide Symphony Orchestra.
In its criticism obtained by Deadline, Netflix alleges that Barlow and Bear’s content material “stretches ‘fan fiction’ properly previous its breaking level” and that it’s a “blatant infringement of mental property rights.” Regardless of praising Barlow and Bear’s work itself, Netflix claims it repeatedly advised the pair that Bridgerton-inspired compositions “have been not licensed.”
Netflix alleges that the reside Unofficial Bridgerton efficiency additionally wasn’t permitted by the corporate, and that Barlow and Bear “refused” to barter a license that might permit them to distribute their album and maintain reside performances with out difficulty.
“Barlow & Bear lacked any license, approval, or authorization to take advantage of Bridgerton mental property in reference to the Kennedy Heart efficiency,” Netflix states. “And to the extent Barlow & Bear ever claimed to imagine that they had such license, approval, or authorization — regardless of Netflix’s clear statements on the contrary — it has now been unequivocally revoked.”
Netflix goes on to assert that Barlow and Bear explicitly used the Bridgerton model throughout its present, and “attracted Bridgerton followers who would have in any other case attended the Bridgerton Expertise,” Netflix’s personal Bridgerton-themed occasion that it holds in six separate cities all year long. Barlow and Bear presently have plans to carry out alongside the BBC Orchestra on the UK’s Royal Albert Corridor this September.
“Netflix helps fan-generated content material, however Barlow & Bear have taken this many steps additional, in search of to create a number of income streams for themselves with out formal permission to make the most of the Bridgerton IP [intellectual property],” Netflix mentioned in a press release. “We’ve tried exhausting to work with Barlow & Bear, they usually have refused to cooperate. The creators, solid, writers and crew have poured their hearts and souls into Bridgerton, and we’re taking motion to guard their rights.”
Julia Quinn, the writer behind the Bridgerton guide collection says she was “flattered and delighted” when Barlow and Bear began creating TikToks primarily based on the idea at first. “There’s a distinction, nonetheless, between composing on TikTok and recording and performing for business achieve,” Quinn says. “I hope that Barlow & Bear, who share my place as unbiased inventive professionals, perceive the necessity to shield different professionals’ mental property, together with the characters and tales I created within the Bridgerton novels over twenty years in the past.”
Shonda Rhimes, the producer of the Bridgerton Netflix collection issued a separate assertion. “What began as a enjoyable celebration by Barlow & Bear on social media has was the blatant taking of mental property solely for Barlow & Bear’s monetary profit,” Rhimes provides. “Simply as Barlow & Bear wouldn’t permit others to acceptable their IP for revenue, Netflix can’t stand by and permit Barlow & Bear to do the identical with Bridgerton.”
Barlow and Bear didn’t instantly reply to The Verge’s request for remark.