Netflix Sues Over TikTok-Originated 'Bridgerton' Musical

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.
Courtesy of Liam Daniel/Netflix

Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear won a Grammy for their “Bridgerton” inspired musical. Now, the pair face a lawsuit from Netflix.

The streaming platform is suing the creators of “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” over copyright and trademark infringement. The lawsuit claims the musical uses direct lines of dialogue and character traits from the Netflix show. Netflix also claims it tried to negotiate with Barlow and Bear to let them license the intellectual property and continue with their performances.


The lawsuit follows the musical’s first live performance at the Kennedy Center last week, which charged up to $149 per ticket and included a number of high-profile guest stars, like Kelli O’Hara and Denée Benton. The next performance, which the lawsuit objects to, is set to take place in London this September.

“The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” began with a song exploring one line of dialogue from the show. Since then, Barlow and Bear have crafted 15 show-inspired songs, performed on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” and won a Grammy.

Based on the series by Julie Quinn, the show has become one of Netflix’s biggest hits. The cast and creators previously supported the musical, and Netflix’s lawyers allowed them to make the album. Now, the author, alongside series creator Shonda Rhimes, released a statement against Barlow and Bear utilizing their intellectual property for financial gain.

TikTok has proven to be a platform for fans to congregate and theorize on topics ranging from Broadway scandals to potential edits in “Stranger Things.” Back in 2020, Disney Pixar’s “Ratatouille” fans collaborated to create songs, choreography, and costumes for a potential production based on the film. The Broadway community came together to put on “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical,” with proceeds going to the Actors Fund. Disney, which is notoriously aggressive in protecting its intellectual property, allowed one virtual performance. Daniel Mertzlufft, the creative leader behind the project, went on to create TikTok’s first official musical.

While “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” is the first of its kind to reach Grammy award-winning heights, fan musicals have a long history. “Star Wars: The Musical” conceptualized “A New Hope” through a series of songs in the late 1990s, while “A Very Potter Musical” and its sequels (starring pre-“Glee” Darren Criss) riffed on the “Harry Potter” series. Neither production was performed for profit, protecting them from lawsuits like the one Barlow and Bear currently face.

Fanmade works have long had to contend with the murky waters of intellectual property. In the early 2000s, author Anne Rice’s legal threats against people writing “Interview with the Vampire” fanfiction led to the practice of writers leaving disclaimers before their works. Fans utilizing the Internet in its early days also dealt with corporations sending cease and desist letters over using various characters in fanart. With the new lawsuit, TikTok is just the latest platform to instigate intellectual property battles.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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Rivian Q2 Earnings Are a Much-Needed Nothing Burger

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

Rivian R1S at a charging station in the desert.
Rivian's Q2 numbers are delightfully boring.

Rivian, the fledgling electric vehicle startup in Irvine, CA, released its Q2 earnings yesterday. I’m happy to report they’re pretty boring! There were no big surprises from RJ Scaringe’s EV hopeful, but here are the report highlights:

  • ~$15 billion of cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash as of June 30 2022.
  • 98,000 net R1 preorders
  • Amazon has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans
  • Rivian has produced 8k vehicles so far
  • The company is still on pace to deliver 25,000 vehicles in 2022
  • -Actual revenue was $364 million.
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