The team behind an unofficial “Bridgerton” musical is being sued for infringement by Netflix in a Washington, DCUS district court.
Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, the songwriting team behind the project, initially developed the musical on social media. The duo scored the number 1 slot in the US iTunes charts and this year even won a Grammy in the category of best music theater album.
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Netflix claims it has made “repeated objections” to the team because they planned to put on a live stage show of the project. “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Album Live in Concert” performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC earlier this week and sold out with ticket prices reaching $149.
The show reportedly featured more than a dozen songs with exactly copied dialogue, character traits, expression and other elements from ‘Bridgerton’.
The streamer claims that “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Album Live in Concert” misrepresented to the public that it used the trademark “Bridgerton” “with permission”. Netflix is also objecting to a supposedly planned merchandise line and the production’s upcoming tour dates.
Representatives from Barlow & Bear were not immediately available for comment on the lawsuit.
“Netflix supports fan-generated content, but Barlow & Bear has taken so many steps forward by creating multiple revenue streams for itself without formal permission to use the ‘Bridgerton’ IP,” Netflix wrote in a statement. “We have tried hard to work with Barlow & Bear, but they have refused to cooperate. The creators, cast, writers and crew have poured their hearts and souls into Bridgerton and we are taking action to protect their rights.”
“It’s so fun to watch audiences fall in love with ‘Bridgerton’ and see the creative ways they express their fandom,” said Shonda Rhimes, creator of the “Bridgerton” series. “What started as a fun party by Barlow & Bear on social media has turned into a blatant takeover of intellectual property solely for the financial benefit of Barlow & Bear. This property was created by Julia Quinn and brought to life on screen through the hard work of countless individuals. Just as Barlow & Bear would not allow others to use their IP for profit, Netflix cannot watch and allow Barlow & Bear to do the same with ‘Bridgerton’.”
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