Netflix has settled its lawsuit with the creators of a musical based on its hit series Bridgerton.
The streaming leader launched legal action against Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear in August after they took their trending social media idea for a Bridgerton musical to the stage at a sold-out Kennedy Center in Washington DC. The show was set to play at London’s Royal Albert Hall in September, while The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical album won a Grammy award.
However, Netflix disclosed in documents filed in federal district court that the case had been dismissed ‘with prejudice’. As such, Netflix cannot bring the case again. It was later clarified that the case was settled instead of being dropped by Netflix, but neither party has commented on the settlement.
While Netflix had initially endorsed the social media trend, the company quickly changed its tune when Barlow and Bear began monetising the exercise. The DC staging of the musical happened when Netflix was simultaneously hosting its own live Bridgerton experience in the city.
A spokesperson at the time said that the show “attracted Bridgerton fans who would have otherwise attended the Bridgerton Experience and created confusion as to whether Netflix had approved of Barlow & Bear’s unauthorised derivative works.”
In its suit, Netflix said that the show “stretches ‘fan fiction’ well past its breaking point” and that it “is blatant infringement of intellectual property rights.”
Shonda Rhimes, creator of the Netflix adaptation said that she was pleased to see fans express their appreciation for the show in a creative way, “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.”