Fortnite is one of the most played games right now. Some people may not know what Fortnite is, but Fortnite is a video game where people shoot people. Fortnite put dances on the game for entertainment but Fortnite only problem is Fortnite used people dance moves without paying that person. So of course, people started suing Fortnite. Which people don’t understand because it is other games that put dance moves on them but the never get sued. So why are people targeting Fortnite?
In December Fortnite was sued for the first time. The first person to sue epic games was rapper “2 milly”. 2 Milly sued epic games for the dance milly rock that 2 Milly created. Fortnite added 2 Milly dance to the game and named the dance “swipe it”. After 2 Milly sued Fortnite then Alfonso Ribeiro who play as Carlton from tv show “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” sued Fortnite for the dance Alfonso did on the show. Fortnite added that to the game and named the dance “fresh”. Then the kid known as “backpack kid sued fortnite for the floss dance backpack kid made. Fortnite put the dance on the game and called the game “floss” Fortnite used the exact name of the dance. The backpack kid sued 2k sports also for the dance.
Fortnite is just a kid game so some people may wonder why people suing them. If anything, Fortnite making their dances known because fortnite is a big game. Fortnite should have just asked for permission to put other people dances on their though. People may just be targeting Fortnite because it is a big game and one of the most trending games out now. Fortnite’s in-game dance moves are ubiquitous, both in-game and out — and that’s part of the problem. The game lifted its most popular dance moves from various online viral moments across the internet, TV, movies and music.
In most cases the in-game dances are so well-loved because they copy their source material so precisely. While the game lifts these dances move for move, making them widely recognizable, it doesn’t refer to the source material directly and renames the dances with generic nicknames. In Fortnite, the “Tidy” dance is Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” dance, “Jubilation” is Elaine’s dance from Seinfeld, “Pure Salt” (not really a dance, some of these are just emotes) is from the Salt Bae meme, Psy’s Gangnam Style dance and so on.
Three artists have filed copyright lawsuits against Epic, claiming they deserve compensation for the use of dances Epic created in Fortnite without their permission (or any kind of attribution). This has led many players to associate the dances with Fortnite instead of the dances’ originators and has earned the dancers a whopping zero dollars from the sales Epic makes of the dancer’s original creations. It is a lot more dances that Fortnite took but the people haven’t sued fortnite yet. Most of Fortnite dances are dances that was already made but now Fortnite starting to make their own dances which is stupid.
They should just ask the creators for permission to use their dance but Fortnite makes a lot of money so why not just use that money and pay the creators to use their dance moves. Then again fortnite is dying which mean less people are starting to play it. Even though fortnite is a free game people still spend money to get v bucks which is basically money on Fortnite to buy skins and emotes. That was a smart idea from the creator of Fortnite because the game is free which makes everyone play it then the come out with cool things that make people want to spend money on the game.
The second lawsuit, which seems to have gotten the most attention so far, is from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor Alfonso Ribeiro. Everyone knows Tom Jones-loving “Carlton” dance, otherwise known as “Fresh” within Fortnite. Lastly, Russell Horning also known as “The Backpack Kid” has filed a third lawsuit over the use of his signature dance move, “flossing,” which Fortnite simply calls the “Floss”. Technically, Anita Redd, Horning’s mother, filed the lawsuit on his behalf because he’s a minor. All three lawsuits request that Epic remove the emotes that correspond to the dances from the game, presumably until they pay a licensing fee, as well as damages. If you’d like to read the complete claims for all three lawsuits, Variety has published the full filing paperwork. It’s also worth pointing out that this is not just about Fortnite.
According to TMZ, 2 Milly, Ribeiro and horning have filed a second set of lawsuits against a second game publisher, 2K Sports, over the use of their dances in its NBA 2K basketball game series. This trio suing fortnite may seem sudden, but a lot of artist has publicly admonished Fortnite for using the people dances without asking which can be understandable. Chance the rapper even had something to say on twitter. Chance the rapper tweet is saying epic should attribute fortnite emotes to the dance they are based on and, when applicable, license the songs connected to them. That is a very smart tweet but for the people that know chance the rapper he is a very smart man. Artist Blocboy JB said shortly after that he would like to receive royalties from the game that use signature dance from his song “shoot” which Fortnite players may know it by the “hype” dance emote.
In November, Scrubs actor Donald Faison said that Epic “jacked” his “Poison” dance from the show to make Fortnite’s default victory dance. All of this, as Chance points out in his original tweet thread, is also part of a larger cycle of cultural appropriation. Four of the five artists we’ve mentioned whose dances have been put into Fortnite without permission are black.
Corporate entities have found ways to repurpose and profit off creative works of black artists for a long, long time. Artists have been pissed for a while. It was just a matter of time before someone decided to make things official and file a lawsuit. Epic has told multiple outlets it does not plan to comment publicly on the suits while they’re ongoing, but it seems unlikely that they will claim otherwise. Epic may try to claim that the dances are not distinctive enough to be worthy of copyright protection. It is possible to copyright dance choreography, but the U.S. Copyright office specifically states that “commonplace movement and gestures” cannot be copyrighted. That includes specific short dances like “the YMCA,” because it’s just people making shapes with their arms.
According to a legal expert who spoke to Variety, Epic may also claim that the dances in Fortnite are part of a larger procedure that goes beyond “doing the dance.” Fortnite is in a bad situation right now. Hopefully Fortnite just do what is right and start paying people for the work and maybe the artist would be okay with that. Fortnite is still one of the most trending so they got enough money to pay people for their work. Epic just probably trying to be cheap and that’s why they got sued now. Fortnite may just start making their own dances but Fortnite players may like other people dances then Fortnite put together dances.
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