Fortnite’s meteoric success means that Epic Games is rolling in dough. With the windfall comes new scrutiny about the possibility that Epic may have infringed on some copyrights during the game’s execution. The latest lawsuit claims that Fortnite used a dance that was popularized by a character from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” without proper compensation.
Actor Alfonso Ribeiro played Carlton on Fresh Prince. “The former ‘Fresh Prince’ star just filed suit against Epic Games — which developed the crazy popular multi-player game — claiming the company completely ripped off the famous dance his character, Carlton Banks, did on the show throughout the series,” TMZ writes.
The Fortnite update is called “Fresh emote,” and it was debuted on Jan 2, 2018. It is clearly inspired by Carlton’s odd dance.
This isn’t the first time a dance has been the center of Fortnite legislation. 2 Milly sued the company in early December for almost the exact same reasons. His dance, the “Milly Rock,” was behind another Fortnite dance fad.
Alfonso’s dance may not register to many of the Fortnite players, few of whom were alive in the 90s, but that hasn’t stopped Alfonso from seeking compensation. He’s even attempting to have the dance copyrighted.
The process of copyrighting a dance in a television show is complicated, as few dances are genuinely original. And then there is the arduous task of proving who choreographed the routine.
Alfonso’s attorney, David Hecht of Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, spoke with TMZ. “It is widely recognized that Mr. Ribeiro’s likeness and intellectual property have been misappropriated by Epic Games in the most popular video game currently in the world, Fortnite.”
“Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like ‘Fresh.’ Yet Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property.”
“Twenty-seven years later, The Dance remains distinctive, immediately recognizable, and inextricably linked to Ribeiro’s identity, celebrity, and likeness,” the lawsuits say.
Here’s a compilation.
Here is the side by side of the two dances.