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Netflix Files A Lawsuit Against Purported “Bridgerton” Copycats

By Chinelo Eze
02 August 2022   |   10:44 am
Following the increased demand for their imitation on TikTok, Netflix Inc. filed a lawsuit against the producers of an allegedly unlicensed musical stage version of its well-known period drama "Bridgerton," accusing them of copyright infringement. Three days after "The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical " sold-out performance" at the city's Kennedy Center, the complaint was made against Abigail…

Following the increased demand for their imitation on TikTok, Netflix Inc. filed a lawsuit against the producers of an allegedly unlicensed musical stage version of its well-known period drama “Bridgerton,” accusing them of copyright infringement.

Three days after “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical ” sold-out performance” at the city’s Kennedy Center, the complaint was made against Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear in a federal court in Washington.

Since they had not yet read the complaint, the defendant’s attorney was unable to immediately comment.

A record-breaking 82 million people watched “Bridgerton,” based on the bestselling romance novel by Julia Quinn, in its first four weeks on Netflix. After receiving a second season renewal, it spawned a spin-off series and a live event called “The Queen’s Ball” that was held in six different cities.

Following the first release of “Bridgerton” in December 2020, according to Netflix, the defendants began sharing content about the show on TikTok, where they had 2.4 million followers. This included writing songs based on certain characters, situations, lines of speech, and story points.

The corporation claimed that despite repeated warnings to cease, the defendants persisted in creating “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” a Grammy-winner and stage production.

Netflix stated that Barlow & Bear’s actions started on social media, but push ‘fan fiction’ well beyond its breaking point. “It is blatant infringement of intellectual rights.”

This week, the Kennedy Center in Washington, where Netflix was presenting its own live “Bridgerton” experience, hosted a performance of Barlow and Bear’s musical in front of a full house.

According to Netflix’s lawsuit, the Kennedy Center performance “attracted Bridgerton fans who would not have gone to the Bridgerton Experience and caused confusion as to whether Netflix had approved of Barlow & Bear’s illegal derivative works.”

According to the lawsuit, a performance is scheduled for September at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

In a statement, series creator Shonda Rhimes said that while it brings her “so much joy” to see fans of the show express their love for “Bridgerton” in unique ways, what started as a fun celebration by Barlow & Bear on social media has turned into the blatant taking of intellectual property solely for Barlow & Bear’s financial benefit.”

Author Quinn stated that when Barlow and Bear started writing “Bridgerton” songs and sharing them with their other followers on TikTok, she was “flattered and delighted.”

She stated in a statement that there is a distinction between writing on TikTok and recording and performing for pay.

The lawsuit asks for both an end to the claimed infractions and unspecified damages.