Mar, 2019 Blog Posts

Whose Dance is this?

Mar 01, 2019

For those of you not familiar with some of my past blogs, I took a liking to a story about a macaque who lived in Indonesia. The monkey allegedly took a selfie and from there ensued a three-year legal struggle as to whether non-human animals could legally own copyrights to photographs.

If you’d like to catch up with these stories, please read the blogs from:

May 2018: Part 3;

November 2016: Part 2;

October 2015: Part 1.

The reason I bring up these past blogs is that when I read about the Epic Games (makers of Fortnite) case, it was again about Copyright Law and cited the monkey case in an anti-SLAPP motion to strike.

Several different people are suing Epic Games for copyright infringement based on dances that appear in the game, including Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air. You can earn (or buy with real $$) various dances for your characters to do and many of these are copies of famous dances. Epic Games does not give the original dance “creator” any cut of the money.

This is very early in the case and there are no actual court decisions. Recently the U.S. Copyright Office said that the “Carlton Dance” can’t be copyrighted. Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton) is suing Epic Games and Take-Two Interactive for using his moves. The Court is not bound to follow the U.S. Copyright Office but will likely take their decision into consideration. Ribeiro did try to register the dance, but a Copyright Registration Supervisor said, “the combination of these three dance steps is a simple routine that is not registrable as a choreographic work.”

Take-Two Interactive moved for a dismissal of the case this February.

Fortnite: Battle Royale has more than 200 million players and reportedly earned over one billion dollars in 2018. With this serious cash, others are trying to get a piece of it. Rapper 2 Milly decided to sue Epic Games over the use and sale of his “Milly Rock” dance in Fortnite. He claims Epic Games was profiting from his dance. Donald Faison (who played Turk in Scrubs), also accused Epic Games of copying his dance, “Poison,” that he made famous during the show.

To get these “Emotes,” Fortnite players must spend money or earn enough points through in-game activities. “V-Bucks” is Epic Games’ in-game currency and they sell 1,000 V-Bucks for $10.00. Of course, video games makers design smart strategies. One can also obtain dance moves, which can be unlocked by investing time into the game.

It is thought that these cases might settle out of Court. We will have to wait and see.

In the meantime, those with killer dance moves, (you know who you are . . . light bulb dance), be careful.  You may end up in a video game!

Category: Legal News



Theresa is a Library Assistant at our Indio Branch.

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