This isn’t the first time Epic has been sued over allegedly copying an emote.
Update 2/15: Fresh Prince of Bel Air star Alfonso Ribeiro’a lawsuit against Fortnite for the inclusion of the famous “Carlton Dance” in the battle royale game has hit a major snag, as the U.S. Copyright Office has called into question his attempts to copyright the dance.
In a letter posted by The Hollywood Reporter, Saskia Florence of the Copyright Office’s Arts Division, said Ribeiro’s copyright request should be refused on the basis of the dance being “a simple dance routine.”
“The combination of these three dance steps is a simple routine that is not registrable as a choreographic work,” the letter readers after laying out the specific movements. Florence then follows up this description by refusing the registration claim.
Another letter from the Copyright Office even calls into question Ribeiro’s authorship of the dance, as he submitted his performance of it from Dancing With the Stars as evidence. The Copyright Office suggested because the show normally involves its professional dancers in choreographing performances, this actually calls into question
And, as also noted by THR, the law firm representing both Epic Games and Take-Two, who is involved in the lawsuit due to the dance’s use in the NBA 2K series, responded, saying “This lawsuit suffers from a host of issues ranging from a lack of plausible ownership, to a lack of substantial similarity, to preemption by the Copyright Act.”
Update 12/18: Another individual has joined Alfonso Ribeiro in suing Epic Games for copying their famous dances.
Per the Daily Mail, the 16-year-old Backpack Kid (Russell Horning) is suing Epic Games for using his move, “The Floss” as an emote in the game. Though it is a one-time special reward made available in Battle Pass Season 2, players can’t actually purchase the move. The lawsuit has reportedly been filed by his mother on his behalf on Monday seeking unspecified damages against Epic games and Take Two, for its use in Fortnite and NBA 2K without permission or paying royalties.
Horning and The Floss became famous after he posted videos of himself performing the dance on Instagram, and reached a wider audience when he did the move during Katy Perry’s performance of Swish Swish on SNL in 2017.
Source: The Daily Mail
The original story follows:
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro has filed a lawsuit against Epic Games for allegedly copying his signature dance.
According to TMZ, Ribeiro’s lawsuit claims that Fornite’s Fresh emote is a direct copy of the famous Carlton dance from the hit sitcom. Ribeiro’s attorney told TMZ that Epic Games failed to ask Ribeiro’s permission in creating the emote and has not compensated the actor.
Ribeiro has also filed an identical suit against 2K Games, which makes the NBA 2K series of games. As GQ has pointed out, Ribeiro himself has claimed that Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark and Eddie Murphy’s stand-up routine inspired the dance.
This isn’t the first time that Fortnite has come under scrutiny for an emote. Scrubs actor Donald Faison recently said Fortnite “jacked” his Poison dance for another one of the game’s emotes. Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence said that someone from Epic did reach out to him about using Faison’s choreography.
Recently, the rapper 2 Milly filed suit against Fortnite for copying his dance, the Milly Rock. His lawsuit is asking for damages based on Epic’s profits in selling the emote.
IGN has reached out to Epic Games for comment.
Michael Domanico is a freelance writer. Follow him on Twitter.