Fortnite’s appropriation and monetisation of dance moves has led to another high profile lawsuit.
Alfonso Ribeiro, most famous for playing Carlton Banks in the 90s TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, is suing Epic Games for its use of a dance similar to one he famously performed by the actor in a 1991 episode of the show.
The dance has been named 'The Carlton' and is known as 'Fresh' in Fortnite. The lawsuit claims that Epic has made uncredited use of, and monetisation of, the move in Fortnite (below, at 1:41).
"The Dance has become synonymous with Ribeiro, who is unanimously credited with creating The Dance," stated the lawsuit filing.
"Ribeiro has also been interviewed several times about the creation of The Dance and how to properly perform it. Accordingly, The Dance is a part of Ribeiro’s identity and The Dance’s unique movements readily evoke a connection to Ribeiro."
"Epic uses The Dance, and other dances, to create the false impression that Epic started these dances and crazes or that the performer who created them is endorsing the game. Indeed, Epic induces others and/or contributes to their performance and false attribution of The Dance. Fortnite Players have posted thousands of videos of themselves performing the 'Fresh' emote with the hashtag, #fortnitedance, without referencing The Dance or crediting Ribeiro as The Dance’s creator and owner."
The suit follows legal challenges from rapper 2 Milly, who is considering a lawsuit after claiming Fortnite featured a dance similar to his trademark “Milly Rock”.
Fellow artist Chance the Rapper has been critical of Epic’s appropriation and monetisation of dance moves created by black creatives.
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
Not just Epic, Ribeiro is also taking 2K to court for including his dance in its NBA 2K series of basketball games. These challenges come as Ribeiro attempts to copyright the dance. It's not clear if the actor himself actually owns the rights to the dance, however.
Image credit: Alfonso Ribeiro