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The Fortnite Carlton Dance lawsuit has ended in decisive fashion. The litigation will go no further as the US Copyright Office has chosen to deny Alfonso Ribeiro’s application to copyright the dance move. The actor plays Carlton and performs the dance in the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” sitcom from the 90s.
According to Eurogamer, the US Copyright Office ruled the dance is not substantial enough to warrant registration as a choreographic work. In a letter explaining the ruling, the move was defined as a “simple dance routine.”
Dale Cendali of Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm defending Epic Games, responded to the decision, “This lawsuit suffers from a host of issues ranging from a lack of plausible ownership, to a lack of substantial similarity, to preemption by the Copyright Act. Fundamentally, it conflicts with the First Amendment as it attempts to impose liability, and thereby chill creative expression, by claiming rights that Plaintiff [Alfonso Ribeiro] does not hold. It should be dismissed.”
The Fortnite Carlton Dance lawsuit isn’t the only litigation being taken against Epic Games its use of dance moves. A prominent case involves rapper 2 Milly. The rapper claims a Fortnite dance emote named “Swipe It” is a copy of his dance move “Milly Rock.” Epic Games is looking to have the case dismissed in similar fashion. Dale Cendali also commented on this case, “Plaintiff’s lawsuit is fundamentally at odds with free speech principles as it attempts to impose liability, and thereby chill creative expression, by claiming rights that do not exist under law. No one can own a dance step.”
For now, it seems like the Fortnite Carlton Dance will remain in the game indefinitely. For those still Carlton dancing their way to victory royales, here are the latest patch notes detailing upcoming changes to Epic Games’ smash hit game.