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About that time Netflix sued the unlicensed ‘Bridgerton’ musical

'Bridgerton' musical // Illustration by Kate Walker

About that time Netflix sued the unlicensed ‘Bridgerton’ musical


The Future. After going viral on TikTok, getting millions of streams on Spotify, and even garnering a Grammy, The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical’s rise is coming to a halt thanks to a lawsuit from Netflix. The streamer has had enough of the unlicensed show making money in the wake of sold-out live shows — possibly showing how important live events are to Netflix as it tries to turn projects into multimedia franchises.

From TikTok to Primetime to courthouse
The Information reports why if anyone is going to make money off of Bridgerton, it will be Netflix.

  • Last week, Netflix sued Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear for trademark and copyright infringement over their staging of The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical.
  • The musical had recently sold out a show at NYC’s Kennedy Center (for as much as $149 per ticket) and was set to debut at London’s Royal Albert Hall — both with branded merch for sale.

Netflix said those moves were a bridge too far, especially after the company allegedly asked Barlow and Bear not to commercialize their work several times. They even offered them a licensing agreement, which the creators turned down.

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Why did Netflix sue? Because The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical seemed to be stepping on the toes of Netflix’s very official Bridgerton-branded The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience — an immersive, regency ball that goes for around the same ticket price as Unofficial Bridgerton. Netflix has no desire to compete against something it doesn’t need to.

While that lawsuit may not be surprising, it’s strange that Netflix gave MrBeast a pass for his parody of Squid Game, especially since the streamer now plans on mounting a reality series based on the show. It’s possible that MrBeast’s one-and-done video just beat Netflix to the punch, so the company gave him a pass (or secretly sent a letter saying, “cool stuff, but don’t do it again”).

Either way, the lawsuit shows that there is a limit to fan-powered exposure.

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