Streaming giant Netflix is suing GRAMMY Award-winning songwriting duo Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, the minds behind The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical, for their wildly popular adaptation of the hit television series.
According to the lawsuit, the streamer assaulted the pair during their profitable, live production, “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Album Live in Concert,” which previously played to a sold-out crowd at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. this week.
The indictment reads: “The live show featured more than a dozen songs that copied verbatim dialogue, character traits and expression and other elements from the Bridgerton series. It featured dramatic portrayals of Bridgerton characters by Broadway actors, moved by the performance of the songs that consist of the ‘musical’.
The streamer also objected to the show’s advertising stating that the couple “used Netflix’s BRIDGERTON trademark with permission,” while Netflix strongly objected. “
The lawsuit notes that in addition to the Grammy-winning album, the pair also have 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 announcing its own immersive “Bridgerton Experience,” a six-city event that invites fans into the world of the show. The company says 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 other derivative works based on Bridgerton.”
In the complaint, Rosa Leda Ehler, a lawyer representing Netflix, writes: “Defendants Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear and their companies (“Barlow & Bear”) have taken valuable intellectual property from the original Netflix series Bridgerton to create an international brand for Bridgerton reflects the creative work and hard-earned success of hundreds of artists and Netflix contributors. Netflix owns the exclusive right to create Bridgerton songs, musicals, or other derivative works based on Bridgerton. Barlow & Bear may not take what has been made valuable by the hard work of others – for themselves, without permission. Yet that is exactly what they have done.”
Netflix is trying to ban the songwriting team from producing future productions and compensation for any profits the musicians have already made.
Barlow & Bear became a viral sensation after the album developed 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 US Pop charts and has been streamed over 45 million times. It made history as the very first album to appear on TikTok and win a GRAMMY for “Best Musical Theater Album”. This also made the duo the youngest winners in the category’s history and the only two women of the 28 nominees this year.