Why Is Netflix Suing Barlow & Bear?

Picture Supply: Getty / VALERIE MACON

Since its debut on Netflix in December 2020, “Bridgerton” has taken the world by storm. Based mostly on the bestselling e book sequence by Julia Quinn, the acclaimed present broke records on the streaming giant by changing into the most-viewed sequence in its first 28 days, with over 627 million hours of viewing (breaking the present’s personal season on document). “Bridgerton” reveals no indicators of slowing down, both. Following a dramatic season two, Netflix renewed the Shondaland sequence for each a 3rd and fourth season. Manufacturing for season three is already officially underway as of July 20.

“Bridgerton”‘s sheer recognition has impressed numerous social media offshoots, starting from fan edits to TikTok movies and even musicals. Whereas most followers have made their “Bridgerton”-focused content material for their very own enjoyable and amusement, others, like musicians Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, higher referred to as Barlow & Bear, have taken their love of the sequence to a unique degree. In September 2021, the pair launched their very own “Bridgerton”-inspired album titled “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical,” which earned Barlow & Bear a Grammy Award for greatest musical theater album in 2022.

In a sudden twist for the followers of the sequence and the musical duo, nonetheless, Netflix filed a lawsuit in opposition to Barlow & Bear on July 29 for infringement of intellectual-property rights, in response to NPR. Buckle up, “Bridgerton” followers, as a result of the authorized state of affairs between Netflix and Barlow & Bear is sufficient to ruffle even Girl Whistledown’s feathers.

How Did Barlow & Bear Meet?

Barlow and Bear met whereas engaged on an inventive undertaking, in response to an interview with On Stage Blog. Whereas Barlow has expertise in writing pop music, Bear has an academic background in music, and their two fields of experience made them a powerful collaborating group.

How Did Barlow & Bear’s “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” Begin?

Roughly one yr into the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2 determined to channel their love of each “Bridgerton” and musical composition right into a TikTok video posted on Jan. 10, 2021, “What If Bridgerton Was a Musical?” The TikTok options Barlow singing a tune referred to as “Daphne’s Tune,” impressed by the occasions of “Bridgerton” season one. The publish instantly went viral and, so far, has 2.4 million views, 290,800 likes, and over 20,000 shares.

The recognition of the TikTok impressed Barlow & Bear to create much more songs primarily based on the sequence, and their subsequent tune, “Burn For You,” was considered over 6.4 million occasions and appreciated by over 928,600 individuals on TikTok. Practically eight months after going viral, the pair formally launched their Grammy-winning “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” album on Sept. 10, 2021, which options 15 unique songs primarily based on the characters and storylines of the sequence.

How Did Netflix Initially React to “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical”?

At first, Netflix was receptive to Barlow & Bear’s musical. “Completely blown away by the Bridgerton musical enjoying out on TikTok,” the official Netflix account tweeted on Jan. 13, 2021, including that it was giving a “Standing ovation for @abigailbarloww & @nick_t_daly.”

Moreover, Netflix acknowledged in its court docket submitting that in March 2021, Barlow & Bear’s counsel requested for Netflix’s blessing to document an album and single for a UK-based charity promotion that might contain West Finish performers who had been furloughed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas Netflix did not explicitly approve the efficiency, it instructed Barlow & Bear it could not be “standing in the way in which . . . within the spirit of supporting what Barlow & Bear represented as two ‘Bridgerton’ followers’ expression of their appreciation for the sequence.”

So what modified between then and now?

Why Is Netflix Suing Barlow & Bear?

BRIDGERTON, from left: Rege-Jean Page, Phoebe Dynevor, Shock and Delight, (Season 1, ep. 102, aired Dec. 25, 2020). photo: Liam Daniel / Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

Picture Supply: Everett Collection

Barlow & Bear’s “Bridgerton”-inspired enterprise took a flip into possible-intellectual-property-infringement territory after they carried out a reside, for-profit present, “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Dwell in Live performance,” which premiered at Washington DC’s Kennedy Middle on July 26.

Simply three days after the premiere of the reside musical, Netflix filed a lawsuit in opposition to Barlow & Bear, alleging the pair blatantly infringed upon the streamer’s intellectual-property rights, having “taken beneficial mental property from the Netflix unique sequence ‘Bridgerton’ to construct a global model for themselves,” in response to court docket paperwork obtained by NPR. The lawsuit alleges the reside present “featured over a dozen songs that copied the verbatim dialogue, character traits and expression, and different parts of the Bridgerton sequence.”

Within the court docket submitting, Netflix claims that, earlier than their scheduled reside efficiency in July, the streamer provided Barlow & Bear a license to legally carry out their “Bridgerton”-inspired songs on a number of events. Netflix claims the duo didn’t take them up on its supply and continued on with the present with no license. Netflix took explicit concern with Barlow & Bear’s use of the “Bridgerton” branding on their “Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” merchandise, creating the implication it was related to the official “Bridgerton” model. It believes the pair’s unauthorized use of its branding created “confusion and false affiliation with the ‘Bridgerton’ model” and interfered with Netflix’s personal reside Bridgerton Expertise in Washington, DC by attracting “Bridgerton” followers who might need in any other case attended the Bridgerton Expertise.

Netflix additionally claims Barlow & Bear misrepresented to their “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Dwell in Live performance” viewers that they had been utilizing Netflix’s trademark “with Permission,” regardless of Netflix’s vehement and constant objections. Making issues worse, the duo additionally planned a London live show of the musical, making it a tour.

Merely put, Netflix isn’t cool with Barlow & Bear profiting off its mental property “in no matter method they see match.”

Barlow & Bear have but to remark publicly on the lawsuit, however given the recognition of their music and the TikTok scandal surrounding Netflix’s lawsuit, they are going to probably deal with the state of affairs quickly.

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