WHAT WOULD SIMON SAY? Netflix sues 'Unofficial Bridgeton Musical' creators for 'blatant infringement'
In 2020, the Netflix series ‘Bridgerton’ took the world by storm and went on to become the most-watched English language series on the streaming platform. Meanwhile, Season 2 turned out to be even bigger. Apart from huge set pieces and gorgeous dresses, another thing that makes the series so special is its music and it doesn’t come as a shock that Netflix has sued the creators of an alleged unauthorized musical stage production of the popular period drama.
Songwriting duo Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear have found themselves in a middle of a controversy as the world’s leading streaming service accused them of copyright infringement. The complaint comes almost three days after the talented musicians performing their concept album, titled ‘The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical’, at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
The court documents obtained by Deadline revealed that Netflix wants Abigail and Emily to cancel all their future live performances of ‘The Unofficial Bridgerton Concert’. Also, the streaming platform is demanding compensation for any profit that has been made by the musicians from the sold-out show in Washington D.C.
Rosa Leda Ehler, an attorney representing Netflix, accused Abigail and Emily of taking “valuable intellectual property” from the streaming service. She added, “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. Netflix owns the exclusive right to create Bridgerton songs, musicals, or any other derivative works based on it. Barlow & Bear cannot take that right-made valuable by others’ hard work for themselves, without permission. Yet that is exactly what they have done.”
The complaint also said that the show took a lot of elements from the Netflix series and also featured talented Broadway actors “emoting through the performance of the songs that comprise the musical.” The suit adds, “It is a blatant infringement of intellectual property rights”. Meanwhile, another objection from Netflix stated that the songwriters have been wrongfully promoting their show using “Netflix’s Bridgerton trademark ‘with permission’ even when the streaming platform didn’t want them to.
For the uninitiated, the duo began working on ‘Bridgerton’ tunes on TikTok and became very popular. The video received a lot of attention from viewers and even Netflix congratulated them for doing a great job. They released an album of those songs and surprisingly, went on to win the 2022 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, making them the youngest artist in history to win the category.
However, it seems Netflix is not happy with how they are taking their fame to the next level by taking some inspiration from one of their wildly popular projects. The duo had a scheduled performance of their show at the iconic Royal Albert Hall in September, but the lawsuit might just change that.
Abigail and Emily haven’t responded to the suit yet.
‘Bridgerton’ is one of the most popular shows on Netflix and created several records. Season 1 became the most-watched English language series on the platform while Season 2 shattered that record and took the numero uno position. Season 3 of the highly popular has already been announced and the filming for the same has begun in the UK.