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Epic Games sued for $20m over Fortnite's Running Man emote

Epic Games
80s dressed man and woman dancing in Fortnite
Fortnite, Disco Domination

It seems that Fortnite's dance copyright lawsuits are far from done as the latest one has Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley, former basketball players for the University of Maryland, suing Epic Games for $20 million over Running Man emote.

The case was filed with Maryland District Court, where the two accused Epic Games of copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement, violation of publicity rights and unfair competition.

According to the filing, "Epic uses the Running Man, and other dances, to create the false impression that Epic started these dances and crazes or that the artist who created them is endorsing the game".

They also argued that Fortnite's maker has "copied the dances and movements of numerous African-American performers", without seeking any sort of authorisation to do so. 

Nickens and Brantley are seeking $20 million in damages along with legal fees, and, of course, Epic Games immediately halting distribution of the Running Man emote.

Unfortunately for the duo, there is more than one obstacle to their plight, the first one being that they aren't even the original authors, in spite of the authorship claims they're making in the filing.

In fact, a quick Google search took us right to The Ellen Show's YouTube channel, where the two were guests with the creators - Jeremiah Hall and Kevin Vincent, two high school students from Jersey. 

In the video, the plaintiffs acknowledge that the two high-school students are the actual authors of Running Man, and that they merely popularised it via a video that was created to make their teammates laugh. We're not sure whether they're aware of it, but it's there alright.

The second obstacle is the US Copyright Office, which has recently dismissed Alfonso Ribeiro's request to patent his dance on the ground of it being a combination of simple movements, which cannot be copyrighted.

AltCharpicture showing two characters dancingFortnite dance vs Carlton dance

Fortnite's lawsuits are obviously getting sillier by the minute as we've now got people suing Epic for things that aren't even theirs to begin with, which really pushes the bar of common sense.

You can find Ellen's show in question here or learn more here.