Netflix is suing Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, creators of the unofficial Bridgerton musical that got its start on TikTok, accusing them of “blatant infringement” of the streaming giant’s intellectual property rights.
In a lawsuit filed Friday, Netflix alleged that the duo and their company Barlow & Bear “appropriate the creative work and goodwill of others” by planning live shows around their Grammy-winning album, The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical and sell Bridgerton-branded merchandise without Netflix’s permission. Executive Produced by Shonda Rhimes, the streaming series is based on books by Julia Quinn and Netflix owns the adaptation rights.
When Barlow and Bear first released their album, Netflix said it didn’t authorize or approve it, but that the company didn’t get in the way of her appreciation for the show “in a spirit of support.” But Netflix now says the duo went too far by appropriating the creative work of those behind the streaming show and refused to negotiate a license to commercialize and expand their work related to Bridgerton.
“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,” the lawsuit reads. “Barlow & Bear cannot take this right – made valuable through the hard work of others – without permission. But that is exactly what they did.”
Barlow & Bear did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
The duo released their first Bridgerton collaboration on TikTok shortly after the hit show’s debut in December 2020. “What if Bridgerton was a musical?” says Barlow before bursting into song.