Netflix sues authors of unofficial “Bridgerton” musical – The Hollywood Reporter

Netflix is ​​suing Abigail Barlow and Emily Beer for submitting ‘for-profit’ shows to win a Grammy Unofficial Bridgeton Musical.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in DC District Court, the operator alleges the duo and their company Barlow & Bear have profited from “valuable intellectual property from the Netflix original series.” BridgetonWith a theatrical performance on July 26 at the Kennedy Center and a futuristic show for the Royal Albert Hall in London, as well as their ‘own line’ BridgetonSubject Merchandise.

“Bridgerton reflects the creative work and hard-earned success of hundreds of artists and Netflix employees,” the lawsuit says. Netflix holds the exclusive right to create Bridgeton Songs, musicals, or any other derivative works based on Bridgeton. Barlow & Bear cannot take this right – made so valuable through the hard work of others – for themselves, without permission. However, that is exactly what they did.”

The lawsuit alleges that the songwriting duo did so despite repeated conversations with Netflix that their work was “unauthorized.” Netflix calls Barlow and Bear’s album and shows a “flagrant infringement of intellectual property rights” amid an attempt to “build an international brand for themselves”.

“Every step of the way, Barlow & Bear representatives have repeatedly assured Netflix that they understand Netflix’s position and have led Netflix to believe that Netflix will be consulted before Barlow & Bear takes steps beyond streaming their album online in an audio-only format. They have no interest in interfering with the rights of Netflix or to be known only as “Bridgeton girls.’

She continues, “The Barlow & Beer representations were false.” “Despite their assurances to Contrary, Barlow & Bear is now claiming carte blanche Permission to profit from Netflix’s protected intellectual property in any way it sees fit.”

In the lawsuit, Netflix acknowledged that Bear and Barlow were among “countless fans inspired by the series” who began posting musicals based on the show’s characters, dialogue and plot on social media platforms like TikTok after its first season was launched in December. 2020. But, as the operator says, their live show featured content that was “literally” taken from the series and performed “for an audience that ran out entirely at the Kennedy Center” where ticket prices ranged up to $149 plus VIP packages.

The show featured more than a dozen songs that copied literal dialogue, character traits, expressions, and other elements of Bridgeton Series. Includes dramatic depiction of Bridgeton The suit says: Characters by Broadway actors, expressing feelings by performing the songs that make up the “Music”. Throughout the performance, Barlow & Bear was misrepresented to the audience that they were using Netflix’s BRIDGERTON trademark ‘with permission’, while Netflix strongly objected.

In response to the lawsuit, Netflix producer Shonda Rhimes and Bridgeton Author Julia Quinn made all the statements, with a spokesperson for the operator stating that they “support fan-generated content, but Barlow & Bear has taken these many steps forward, seeking to create multiple revenue streams for themselves without official permission to use Bridgeton IP. ”

The statement goes on to repeat the language used in the filing. We tried very hard to work with Barlow & Bear, but they refused to cooperate. Pour the creators, actors, writers and crew in their hearts and souls BridgetonWe are taking action to protect their rights.”

Rhimes has also celebrated the influx of fan content that came in the wake of the series’ December 2020 premiere, but argues that Barlow and Bear have turned the “celebration” into a “blatant takeover” of IP.

“There is so much joy in seeing fans fall in love with her Bridgeton “What started as a fun celebration by Barlow & Bear on social media has turned into a blatant appropriation of intellectual property solely for the financial benefit of Barlow & Bear,” Rhimes says in her statement. The hard work of countless individuals.Just as Barlow & Bear did not allow others to allocate their IP for profit, Netflix cannot stand aside and allow Barlow & Bear to do the same with Bridgeton. ”

In her statement, Quinn describes the duo as “extremely talented” but states that there is a “difference” between the makeup of TikTok and “performance for commercial gain.”

Quinn’s message reads, “Abigail Barlow and Emily Beer are so talented, I was flattered and excited when they started composing Bridgerton songs and sharing them with other fans on Tik Tok.” However, there is a difference between authoring on TikTok and recording and performing for commercial gain. I hope Barlow & Bear, who share my position as independent creative professionals, understand the need to protect the intellectual property of other professionals, including the characters and stories I’ve created in Bridgeton novels from more than twenty years ago.

In April, the duo won the 2022 Grammy for Best Theatrical Musical Album, and late last year performed “Ocean Away,” a song from their music album based on… Bridgeton With Darren Criss at the Kennedy Center’s 50th Anniversary Gala. Their music gained popularity during 2021, after they posted a range of performances and music video compositions on TikTok, including their official Netflix Twitter account. chirp In January 2021.

The Hollywood Reporter I reached out to Bear and Barlow representatives for comment.

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