Streaming giant Netflix is suing GRAMMY Award-winning songwriting duo Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, the minds behind The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical, over their hugely popular adaptation of the hit TV series.
According to the lawsuit, the streamer took aim at the couple on their for-profit live production, “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Album Live in Concert,” which performed to a sold-out crowd at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC earlier this week. .
The complaint states: “The live broadcast featured more than a dozen songs that verbatim copied dialogue, character traits and expression, and other elements from Bridgerton the series. It included dramatic portrayals of the characters of Bridgerton by actors from Broadway, moving through the performance of songs that include the “musical”.
The streamer also took issue with the ad for the stage show which states that the pair were “using Netflix’s BRIDGERTON brand ‘with permission’, while Netflix strenuously objected.”
The lawsuit notes that in addition to the Grammy-winning album, the pair also plan to tour the production, including a recently announced stop at London’s Royal Albert Hall, as well as a lineup. of Bridgerton themed products for sale.
Netflix is currently touting its own immersive “Bridgerton Experience,” a six-city event that invites fans into the world of the series. The company claims that Barlow and Bear’s work is in direct competition with their production, and that “Netflix owns the exclusive right to create songs, musicals, or any other derivative works of Bridgerton.”
In the lawsuit, Rosa Leda Ehler, an attorney representing Netflix, writes: “Defendants Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear and their companies (“Barlow & Bear”) took valuable intellectual property from the Netflix original series Bridgerton to create 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 other derivative works based on Bridgerton. Barlow & Bear cannot appropriate this right made valuable by the hard work of others – for themselves, without permission. Yet that is exactly what they did.
Netflix is seeking to ban the songwriting team from producing future productions and offset the profits the musicians have already made.
Barlow & Bear became a viral sensation after developing the album live on social media in real time, featuring Barlow’s lead vocals and Bear’s orchestration, production and additional vocals.
Since its release, the record has reached No. 1 on the iTunes US Pop charts and has been listened to over 45 million times. It made history as the first album originating from 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.