Netflix Is Suing Tik Tok Stars Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear for ‘Bridgerton’ ‘Blatant Infringement’

Just months after the release of Bridgerton season 2, Netflix sued content creators Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear for their album The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical. Here’s what the streaming giant is saying about the “blatant infringement” of its intellectual property rights.

TikTok users Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear created a ‘Bridgerton’-inspired musical

'Bridgerton' actors (L to R) Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma
(L-R) Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton and Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma | Liam Daniel/Netflix

In 2020, Netflix released their original series Bridgerton, which takes place during England’s Regency era. The streaming platform then premiered Bridgerton’s second season in 2022. 

The series even caught the attention of songwriters and TikTok users Barlow and Bear, who created a musician adaption of the series for the social media platform. Shortly after their 2020 TikTok went viral, the creators wrote an entire album inspired by the Netflix show. 

The duo released The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical on Spotify in 2021, complete with 15 original songs like “Balancing the Scales,” “Friend Turned Foe,” and “Burn for You.” The song “Ocean Away,” originally titled “Daphne’s Song,” currently has over 3 million Spotify plays and continues to earn praise from listeners. 

In June, the artists announced the live concert of ‘The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical’ performed by the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. They even won the Best Musical Theater Album Grammy Award this year. 

At the time of its release, Netflix was supportive of the production, according to Buzzfeed News. Now, however, the streaming platform is suing Barlow and Bear for their “blatant infringement” of its intellectual property rights.

Netflix sues Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear for their ‘blatant infringement’ on ‘Bridgerton’

Not everyone supported the unofficial Bridgerton musical, especially the company behind the original television series. In 2022, Netflix filed a lawsuit against the songwriting pair, alleging that their company, Barlow & Bear, “appropriate others’ creative work and goodwill to benefit themselves.” 

“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 any other derivative works based on Bridgerton,” the lawsuit said. “Barlow & Bear cannot take that right — made valuable by others’ hard work — for themselves, without permission. Yet that is exactly what they have done.”

TikTok content creators made ‘Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical’

This wouldn’t be the first time a TikTok musical went mainstream. In 2021, some social media users collaborated on Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, based on Disney and Pixar’s animated film of the same title.

The parody production even sold virtual performance tickets benefiting The Actor’s Fund. The musical featured award-winning Broadway stars, including Tituss Burgess as Remy, Adam Lambert as Emile, Andrew Barth Feldman as Alfredo Linguini, and Ashley Park as Colette Tatou.

Disney leaned into the social media Ratatouille revival when it came to the debut of the EPCOT attraction Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. The theme park ride opened to the public that same year.

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