Netflix sues unofficial Bridgerton Musical creators Barlow and Bear


Emily Beer, left, and Abigail Barlow settle for the award for Greatest Theatrical Musical Album for Unofficial Bridgerton Musical on the sixty fourth Annual Grammy Awards on April 3.

Chris Pizzello / Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP


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Chris Pizzello / Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP


Emily Beer, left, and Abigail Barlow settle for the award for Greatest Theatrical Musical Album for Unofficial Bridgerton Musical on the sixty fourth Annual Grammy Awards on April 3.

Chris Pizzello / Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP

For followers of musical theater and lovers of romance novels, the information was surprising: Netflix is ​​suing Abigail Barlow and Emily Beer, the duo behind the Grammy Award-winning. Unofficial Bridgerton Musical“for gross infringement of mental property rights.”

Unofficial Bridgerton Musicl, impressed by the Netflix present and Julia Quinn guide sequence, began on TikTok in early 2021 and was launched as an album in September 2021, with 15 songs carried out by Barlow and Bear. The duo gained the 2022 Grammy Award for Greatest Theatrical Musical Album.

Final week’s information left many followers with questions in regards to the lawsuit, the way forward for the musical, and what all of it means.

What does the lawsuit allege?

On July 29, Netflix filed a lawsuit in US District Court docket in Washington, D.C., alleging that Barlow and Bear “stole priceless mental property from the Netflix unique sequence.” Bridgeton To construct a global model for themselves.”

“Netflix has the unique proper to create Bridgeton Songs, musicals, or every other by-product works based mostly on BridgetonThe lawsuit says.

Netflix claims that Barlow and Bear have claimed “a carte blanche to revenue from Netflix’s protected mental property” and have expanded the boundaries of fan imaginations “past the breaking level”.

The lawsuit cites particular situations that Barlow and Beer allegedly copied liberally and in almost equivalent style. Bridgeton throughout a variety of unique expression parts,” together with lifting traces of dialogue from view, ‘customizing’ characters, and ‘copying’ key plot factors.


Regé-Jean Web page and Phoebe Dynevor starred within the first season of the Netflix present, Bridgeton.

Liam Daniel / Netflix


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Liam Daniel / Netflix


Regé-Jean Web page and Phoebe Dynevor starred within the first season of the Netflix present, Bridgeton.

Liam Daniel / Netflix

In response to the lawsuit, Netflix by no means licensed it Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Or grant Barlow and Bear permission to create a enterprise based mostly on the franchise.

Up to now, Barlow and Bear have mentioned they obtained Netflix permission. In an interview in September 2021, Barlow mentioned that Netflix was “very, very supportive” of their undertaking.

Barlow and Bear haven’t responded to NPR’s request for an interview and haven’t commented publicly on the lawsuit.

Why is Netflix suing Barlow and Bear now?

The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical The album was launched a couple of 12 months in the past. However the lawsuit was filed final week.

“The dynamic has shifted as the worth that was accumulating for Bridgeton Model and Netflix from [the musical] Now it outweighs the cash Netflix thinks it is shedding,” Derek Miller, a professor of English at Harvard College, advised NPR.


Commercial for the favored Netflix present Bridgeton Seen outdoors her workplace constructing in Los Angeles, in April.

Jae Si Hong / AP


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Jae Si Hong / AP


Commercial for the favored Netflix present Bridgeton Seen outdoors her workplace constructing in Los Angeles, in April.

Jae Si Hong / AP

It was the catalyst for the lawsuit Bridgeton’s unofficial album dwell in live performance, Revenue exhibiting on the Kennedy Middle on July 26.

When the idea album was introduced, in response to the lawsuit, Netflix determined to not stand in the best way of “what Barlow & Bear represents as two Bridgeton Followers specific their appreciation for the sequence.”

The album sparked Netflix pleasure with out compromising its enterprise mannequin, says Miller, which focuses on the intersections between artwork and legislation. Now that Barlow and Bear have began organizing for-profit reveals, Netflix sees the musical as a risk to their dwell occasion, “The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Expertise.”

Netflix representatives allegedly advised Barlow and Bear that they “is not going to authorize or need them to take part in any dwell reveals or different by-product works that will compete with Netflix’s deliberate dwell occasions.”

In response to court docket paperwork, Netflix “supplied Barlow & Bear a license to proceed their scheduled dwell reveals on the Kennedy Middle and Royal Albert Corridor, proceed to distribute their album, and carry out BridgetonThe inspiring songs dwell as a part of bigger applications going ahead,” which the lawsuit says Barlow and Bear declined.

How can the lawsuit finish?

It is nonetheless too early to foretell the ultimate consequence of the lawsuit, Rebecca Tushnett, a professor at Harvard Regulation College, tells NPR. There are a number of attainable outcomes, and most circumstances like these are typically settled out of court docket.

Miller, a professor of literature, says that since there’s loads of proof that Barlow and Bear infringed Netflix’s mental property, he does not assume they’d wish to go to court docket. If the case goes to court docket, the choice can be made as as to whether Bridgeton’s unofficial musician is It’s thought of honest use.

Fan fiction might be protected below honest use so long as the work is “transformative” and provides new that means to the unique work. Fan fiction should even be non-commercial in nature and can’t carry revenue to the creator of the work.

Within the case of honest use, Touchnt says, many elements are taken into consideration, together with the aim of use, the character of the work copied, the quantity of unique materials taken, and the impression available on the market.

“There are honest business makes use of, nevertheless it’s positively extra dangerous,” says Touchnt, including that it requires extra justification. “Numerous justifications might be discovered, from criticism, commentary and even imaginative paraphrasing that tells you one thing in regards to the supply textual content. The extra vital it turns into [of the source text] Business paraphrasing, the extra possible will probably be thought of honest use.”

What awaits us sooner or later for the unofficial “Bridgerton Musical” sequence?

Relying on how the case ends, a Bridgeton The musical could hit Broadway.

If the problem is settled pretty amicably, Netflix could select to make use of Barlow and Bear’s work as its foray into the theater. However, Netflix additionally could not wish to work with Barlow and Bear in any capability as soon as the lawsuit is settled, whatever the consequence.

“There are plenty of factors within the allegations that there have been some critical breaches of belief by Barlow and Bear representatives with Netflix,” Miller says.


Abigail Barlow, left, and Emily Beer within the press room with the award for Greatest Theatrical Musical Album for Unofficial Bridgerton Musical on the sixty fourth Annual Grammy Awards.

John Loescher / John Loescher / Invision / AFP


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John Loescher / John Loescher / Invision / AFP


Abigail Barlow, left, and Emily Beer within the press room with the award for Greatest Theatrical Musical Album for Unofficial Bridgerton Musical on the sixty fourth Annual Grammy Awards.

John Loescher / John Loescher / Invision / AFP

Barlow and Bear will possible rewrite the present to take away mental property belonging to Bridgetonhowever they must change the plot of the present drastically and at a loss Bridgeton The model that attracted folks.

Touchent says, citing 2002, that artistic tasks have second works on a regular basis Mattel vs. MCAA InformationWhen the sport producer misplaced a lawsuit in opposition to the band Aqua over the track “Barbie Woman,” it later ended up licensing the track for advertising and marketing.

What may this imply for fan tales normally?

“Fan tradition is excellent for manufacturers,” Miller says. Firms must strike a steadiness between defending their financial and enterprise pursuits and never “preventing with followers who do work that considerably expands the worth of the model.”

A part of the motivation for the lawsuit could have been the closing of different potential fan tasks based mostly on Netflix’s intensive catalog.

The lawsuit alleges that Unofficial Bridgerton Musical It could additionally encourage different events to develop by-product works based mostly on Bridgeton With out Netflix permission. “

“The typical fan fiction work does not take all that a lot of the present work,” says Touchnt. Even when the copyright proprietor determines {that a} work of fiction infringes their mental property rights, they could merely determine that it’s not worthy of authorized motion.