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Fortnite dance copyright request gets shot down, are we done yet?

picture showing two characters dancing
Fortnite dance vs Carlton dance

We must admit it's a bit tiring seeing anyone who's ever danced on TV trying to get a piece of Fortnite pie and the plaintiffs' struggle has just got harder as the US Copyright Office has refused to copyright Alfonso Ribeiro's dance.

Audiences may know Ribeiro from his role as Carlton in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and he's just one of many who jumped aboard the dance-copyright train, which has so far targetted Epic Games and 2K Games, i.e. Take-Two.

Unfortunately for Ribeiro, he might as well be the first one to get off the aforementioned train, as the US Copyright Office deemed that "the combination of these three dance steps is a simple routine that is not registerable as a choreographic work", refusing his request.

Now that doesn't mean the lawsuits are dead in the water but it sends an important message to anyone thinking they've got something on Epic or Take-Two, which is - you better have something more than just a hip jiggle or whatever.

Interestingly enough, Epic Games and Take-Two/2K Games, are being represented by Kirkland & Ellis, while Ribeiro, 2 Milly and the rest are all with Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht.

They banded together in hope that they can kick up more dust when combining their efforts. Of course, we're referring to the plaintiffs, not the law firm, even though we suppose you could say the same for them too.

Anyway, Epic have recently asked the judge to dismiss 2 Milly's lawsuit on the grounds of being at odds with free speech principles. "It attempts to impose liability, and thereby chill creative expression, by claiming rights that do not exist under the law. No one can own a dance step", says the company's memorandum. 

Epic Gamespicture showing two characters dancingFortnite: Battle Royale

One could argue that Epic are still profiting off of other people's moves, but these are such universal pieces of contemporary culture that we really must ask ourselves - should we then allow these things to be copyrighted?

Because if we do, there's not gonna be a lot dancing on the streets over that decision, if you catch our drift. 

You can find Epic's legal memorandum here or learn more here.