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Netflix drops copyright lawsuit over ‘unofficial Bridgerton musical’

Netflix on Friday dismissed a copyright lawsuit it had filed against the makers of The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical.

The court filing does not reveal whether the streaming service had reached an agreement with Emily Bear and Abigail Barlow, the creators of the musical. However, the couple had previously canceled a performance of the musical at London’s Royal Albert Hall, which was due to take place this week.

Netflix sued in July, alleging that Barlow and Bear had violated its copyrights by hosting a for-profit stage show at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. ”

The couple had risen to fame on TikTok when they started posting songs based on the TV series. They eventually released a full album on Spotify.

Initially, Netflix praised Barlow and Bear on its social media accounts. She didn’t get in the way until the Kennedy Center performance, which took place in July. According to the complaint, the performance included Broadway actors. Ticket prices ranged from $29 to $149, and there was also merchandise for sale that included “Bridgerton” stamps.

Netflix strongly disagreed, saying the performance crossed a line the streaming service had previously tried to set with Barlow and Bear and their representatives. Netflix claimed it disrupted its own “Bridgerton Experience,” an in-person event offered in several cities including Washington, and also created confusion in the minds of “Bridgerton” fans.

“What started as a fun celebration of Barlow & Bear on social media has turned into a blatant expropriation of intellectual property for Barlow & Bear’s sole financial benefit,” show creator Shonda Rhimes said in a statement at the time. “This property was created by Julia Quinn and brought to life on screen through the hard work of countless people. Just as Barlow & Bear would not allow others to appropriate their intellectual property for profit, Netflix cannot stand by and allow Barlow & Bear to do the same with ‘Bridgerton.’

Barlow and Bear have yet to respond to the lawsuit in court. A response was due Thursday, but instead Netflix filed the dismissal on Friday “with prejudice,” meaning the lawsuit can’t be refiled.

Neither Netflix nor representatives from Barlow and Bear responded to a request for comment Friday night.

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