Rapper 2 Milly is considering legal action against Epic Games for featuring one of his dance moves in Fortnight without credit or context.
2 Milly has long campaigned for Epic to credit the creators of dance moves featured as paid emotes in Fortnite, many of which are taken straight from the rap and hip-hop scene. In 2 Milly’s case, his dance The Milly Rock was rebranded as Swipe It and put up for sale in Fortnite’s fifth season.
"They actually sell that particular move. It's for purchase," said 2 Milly, speaking to CBS. "That's when I really was like ... oh nah, this can't go on too long."
As multiple copyright lawyers tell CBS, there is currently no precedent for protecting dance moves in US law.
Business and entertainment lawyer Merlyne Jean-Louis said: "There's a lot of case law [and] suits surrounding the copyright of music. Lyrics. Sounds. There's a full body of case law related to that. But regarding choreographic works, that does not exist.”
Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes. Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) July 13, 2018
While individual dance moves are a free market, it’s clear that many people are making bank off Fortnite’s promotion. Not only is Epic gaining by selling the emotes, but a whole sub-industry of Fortnite dance classes and YouTube imitation exists thanks to the game.
In 2 Milly’s eyes, he simply wants compensation for what’s his. He clarified his position: "I don't even want to bash them for all the millions. Know what I am saying? It's not really like that. I just feel like I have to protect what's mine.”
Rappers aren’t the only people frustrated with Fortnite’s appropriation of dance moves. At a Scrubs reunion panel at Vulture Festival, actor Donal Faison shot down a request to perform a dance famously created on-the-spot during the show’s filming.
Faison refused: “If you want to see it, you can play Fortnite, because they jacked that shit.”