Epic Games Sued Over Another Fortnite Dance

The lawsuits keep on coming. Despite a favourable ruling from the US Copyright Office in another dance related lawsuit, Fortnite's various dances are still getting plenty of legal attention. Two basketballers have filed a new lawsuit against the battle royale and its developers Epic Games, alleging that the "Running Man" emote violates copyright and their image rights.

The running man isn't exactly a new dance - it's been a staple in clubs and raves for ages - but it gained extra popularity in 2016 after University of Maryland alumni Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley performed the dance to Ghost Town DJ's My Boo.

In the suit, as reported by The Verge, the basketballers allege that Epic has "unfairly profited from exploiting Plaintiffs' protected creative expression and likeness". It adds that the pair were responsible for "created, named and/or popularised" the dance in early 2016. It mentions that the former University of Maryland players demonstrated the dance on The Ellen DeGenberes Show in 2016, but that same show also featured the original creators of the dance, Kevin Vincent and Jeremiah Hall.

The lawsuit is just another one in a string of cases where African-American are taking Epic to court over the use of dance moves without their prior approval or consent. Fortnite hasn't exclusively used dances popularised from black artists - the famous Gangnam Style dance from Psy being one example - but the cases do raise an interesting question for courts on who "owns" a dance move, and copyright more broadly in 2019.

Rapper 2 Milly Sues Epic Games For Stealing His Dance

Rapper 2 Milly is suing the makers of Fortnite, Epic Games, for selling his signature “Milly Rock” dance as an emote called Swipe it. Pierce Bainbridge, the law firm representing 2 Milly, filed the complaint in the Central District Court of California today, accusing Epic of, among other things, copyright infringement, and exploiting African American talent for profit in the game.

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Fresh Prince's Alfonso Ribeiro Is Suing Fortnite Over The Carlton Dance

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, is suing Epic over Fortnite’s replication of his trademark dance move. He’s also suing 2K for doing the same thing in their basketball series.

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Epic Games Asks Court To Dismiss 2 Milly Lawsuit, Claims Fortnite Dance Is Different

Almost two months after Terrance Ferguson, better known as the rapper 2 Milly, sued the makers of Fortnite for including his “Milly Rock” dance in the game, Epic Games has asked the judge in the case to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the Milly Rock is too short to be copyrighted and that it’s not the same as the “Swipe It” dance in Fortnite.

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"Players have posted thousands of videos themselves performing the Running Man Emote with the hashtag #fortnitedance, without referencing the Running Man or crediting Plaintiffs as the dance's creators, authors and owners," the lawsuit alleges.

How far the suit will go, particularly when the basketballers have admitted that the original inspiration came from elsewhere, is unknown. Either way, it's another case on the docket for Epic's legal counsel to deal with.

[The Verge]


Comments

    I thought the carlton was being thrown into question because a judge decided that to be trademarked a dance had to be technical or somesuch. There seems to be a lot of reaching here.

      Yeah, this isn't even a good dance. Of the three the Carlton one is the most complex, but how long will it be before they start charging people in clubs.
      Also, you can't claim copyright simply because you made something popular. That's bullshit.

    Welcome to 2019, where you can sue someone for dancing similarly to the way you did once. What a time to be alive.

      I'm offended - I want damages!

      I thought it was more about profiteering off the creative work of others without license or compensation.

        If I can replicate it by moving about without touching anything for 5-10 seconds, you can't copyright it. Copyright law is pretty clear on that point, and the copyright office has made that blatantly clear, that you can only copyright choreographed or improvised performances involving multiple moves in sequence over a moderate or longer duration, not short sequences or single moves. Long story short, Epic is probably looking forward to having their lawyers paid for at this point, because emotes are not long enough to constitute violations of those copyrights even if the sequence in question IS copyrighted.

        Except...
        it's been a staple in clubs and raves for ages - but it gained extra popularity in 2016 after University of Maryland alumni Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley performed the dance
        It's not their creative work in the first place, they just think because they made it more popular that gives them the rights to it...

          In this case perhaps. I'm not familiar with this version of the dance, as others have alluded to in the comments here it's not what I'd associate with the name and as far as I know the article is conflating the two. The other dances that have been brought up in regards to the game such as Turk's from Scrubs being a frame-perfect copy rather than "similar to how you danced once" makes for a much different comparison I think.

            Yeah the Donald Faison one I'd have to agree with you. I can't speak to the law but to me, it has multiple moves in a sequence - I'd call it a dance, and yeah Epic copied it.

            For some of the others though like this one and the 2miley or what his name is "dance", sorry but moving your hands around a bit doesn't count as a dance... Next we'll have people suing over a wave :P

    That's not the running man. The irony that they ripped off the name of another dance is palpable.

    I made Yo-Yo's cool again, if I see anyone playing with one I am going to sue them so hard.

    The more emotes games release, the more I'm convinced 99% of people have no idea how to dance.

      Do they have a 'stand quietly in the corner looking at your feet' dance emote? I invented that one at year 6 disco...

        I dunno. I really like my "stay at home and play games instead" dance style, but I'm I can't be sure if it's actually any good - I'm never around to appreciate the reaction.

    The lawsuit is just another one in a string of cases where African-American are taking Epic to court over the use of dance moves without their prior approval or consent. Fortnite hasn't exclusively used dances popularised from black artists - the famous Gangnam Style dance from Psy being one example - but the cases do raise an interesting question for courts on who "owns" a dance move, and copyright more broadly in 2019.Wait, when did this become a racial thing? Last I checked, backpack kid (of Flossing fame) was white. Let's not make this into a "White man stealing from the black man" issue please...

      Welcome to Kotaku... Home to a seriously dedicated mental gymnastics team.

        and comments from people who don't read the linked articles.

      Hold the salt and read the linked article directly under that paragraph and you'll get your answer. 2 Milly and Chance the Rapper brought the race angle in right from the get go.

    That as far as I'm aware is known as the Melbourne Shuffle which was in clubs when I was younger. What they're doing in the Ellen video was the easy version for people who weren't coordinated enough to do the shuffle.

    https://youtu.be/utLUvF2f_zE

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