Other Fortnite Lawsuits May Follow
After what seemed like a volley of legal shots at Epic Games, Fresh Prince star Alfonso Ribeiro has hit a snag in his lawsuit for Fortnite’s use of the dance he popularized in the 90s. More than a snag, really; the US Copyright office officially denied his claim.
Ribeiro’s lawsuit included the use of his dance in the NBA 2K series. In a letter posted by the Hollywood Reporter, the proper reviewers called the Carlton dance too “simple” for any legal precedent. Dated January 22nd, the letter read as follows:
“Upon review of the material deposited for registration, we must refuse registration [of the dance] because the work submitted for registration is a simple dance routine, As such, it is not registrable as a choreographic work.”
Apparently, no one can legally own a few motions. The choreography must be long and elaborate if someone wants to build a legal case for copyright. So if someone, say, monetized an entire West Side Story dance number, then a lawsuit may be justified.
The US Copyright office defined the Carlton dance as follows:
- “The dancer sways their hips as they step from side to side, while swinging their arms in an exaggerated manner.
- “The dancer takes two steps to each side while opening and closing their legs and their arms in unison.
- “The dancer’s feet are still and they lower one hand from above their head to the middle of their chest while fluttering their fingers.”
“The combination of these three dance steps is a simple routine that is not registerable as a choreographic work,” the US Copyright Office reiterated. “Accordingly, your application for registration is refused.”
The same result could reach the other lawsuits in progress. Just last month, it seemed like every other day brought a new lawsuit. Rapper 2 Milly, “the Backpack Kid” and “The Orange Shirt Kid” are fighting the same battle. Furthermore, all of them are represented by the same law firm, Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht. Now that Ribeiro’s dance may be dead in the water, Epic Games’ lawyer intends to help the rest follow suit.