Several lawsuits levied against Epic Games pertaining to dances allegedly being used without permission in Fortnite have been dropped.
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor Alfonso Ribeiro, rapper 2 Milly, Instagram celebrity Backpack Kid, and the fan-favorite Fortnite dancer Orange Shirt Kid are among the parties who've dropped their lawsuits against Epic Games, at least for now. Each group or individual took issue with the fact that dances associated with their characters such as Ribeiro's Carlton dance or Backpack Kid's flossing were being used in Fortnite and said Epic Games hadn't received permission to use the moves as in-game emotes. Emotes are often given to players as either free unlockables through the Battle Pass, rewards from the paid version of the same pass, or standalone products that can be purchased, and these lawsuits alleged that Epic Games was profiting off the individuals' moves.
GamesIndustry.biz reported that an unrelated case tried by the United States Supreme Court recently led to a decision that a copyright's registration process must be fully completed before civil action can be taken against a group for an alleged copyright infringement. The Hollywood Reporter said that each of the individuals mentioned above who are all represented by the same legal firm have dropped their lawsuits, though the move is only procedural and temporary since the parties can continue with their legal actions once the copyright registration process has been completed.
Individuals such as Ribeiro announced their intentions to sue Epic Games late in 2018 with the actor's Carlton dance perhaps being the most recognizable out of the moves. The actor's admitted himself that the moves were either inspired or stolen to create the dance, but the moves have still become known as "The Carlton." Epic Games calls the emote "Fresh" instead though, a pretty clear reference to the TV show where it was popularized. Ribeiro's copyright attempt was denied, however, with the United States Copyright Office saying the moves weren't enough to be considered a choreographed work.
Epic Games has responded to the copyright claims and legal situations in the past with the studio's attorney saying "No one can own a dance step" when referring specifically to rapper 2 Milly's lawsuit. Other situations like Orange Shirt Kid's "Orange Justice" dance are murkier still since that individual submitted his dance for a contest Epic Games hosted, though the move was added to the game even though it wasn't a winner.
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