Rapper 2 Milly files lawsuit against Epic Games over Fortnite dance emote

    
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Epic Games is under fire from rapper 2 Milly, who has filed a lawsuit against the Fortnite developer that alleges that one of the game’s dance emotes infringes his copyright for his dance, the Milly Rock. According to the lawsuit, 2 Milly, aka Terrence Ferguson, is accusing Epic of “misappropriating the Milly Rock dance through an in-game ‘Swipe It’ emote that [bears] noticeable similarities to Ferguson’s choreography and was included, according to the lawsuit, without crediting him or contacting him for permission to use or reproduce the move.”

Interestingly, 2 Milly himself “has just recently applied for a copyright over the Milly Rock dance but, as of the filing of the legal complaint, that application has yet to be granted,” so it’s unclear exactly how much legal standing the lawsuit will ultimately have.

MMO players will know that this is certainly not the first instance of real-world dances being replicated in video games; just as one example from the MMO world, World of Warcraft’s racial dances draw inspiration from (read: are near-direct copies of) the likes of Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce. The difference, however, is that Fortnite’s dance emotes can be purchased with the game’s premium currency, so there’s certainly a strong argument that Epic is directly profiting from Ferguson’s choreography, though whether that argument will ultimately hold up in court remains to be seen.

Source: Gamasutra

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Hamblepants
Reader
Hamblepants

Agree with Armsbend.

It’s pretty simple.

If 2 Milly makes money from his dancing, its distinct and he created it, and someone else is using it to make money, then it should be covered under the law as his property/copyright/whatever.

It’s possible that copyright law in the US hasnt had to deal with this kind of situation before (cross-medium AND the art in question is a dance move).

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

They’ve turned it into a racial thing.

“Is Fortnite stealing black dance culture? The creator of the ‘Milly Rock’ argues yes in a new lawsuit.”

“The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles, accuses Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, not only of stealing 2 Milly’s dance moves and his likeness without permission but also exploiting various African American artists’ talent without credit. The accusation that Fortnite has been appropriating black music and dance culture for financial gain has been simmering for months”

“The lawsuit points to a plethora of examples. Snoop Dogg’s 2004 dance from “Drop It Like It’s Hot” is named “Tidy” in Fortnite, the suit claims. Alfonso Ribeiro’s famous “Carlton Dance” from the “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” is named “Fresh.” Marlon Webb’s moves in the viral “Band of the Bold” Jogging Man Challenge video are named the “Best Mates” emote, the suit claims, while Donald Faison’s signature dance on the TV show “Scrubs” is simply called “Dance Moves.””

“There seems to be this disrespect and undervalue, or lack of appreciation, for African American talent,” David L. Hecht, one of 2 Millly’s lawyers, told The Washington Post. “They’re taking advantage of the fame of these artists without any type of acknowledgment.”

Reader
rafael12104

*shakes head*

I don’t know why this surprises me. It shouldn’t. It really shouldn’t.

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

Hmm. Interesting.

“Copyright protection for a dance begins as soon as the dance is created and fixed in a tangible object. It does not need to be registered with the copyright office to receive copyright protection. Copyright protection generally lasts for the lifetime of the dance’s creator and another 70 years after the creator’s death.”

And yet there is this as well:

“You cannot file a lawsuit for copyright infringement unless you have registered your copyright. ”

“If you register your copyright within three months of publication or before a copyright infringement occurs, you can receive statutory damages and attorneys fees if you win a copyright infringement lawsuit. Statutory damages are an amount of money awarded per work infringed. If you do not register your copyright prior to an infringement, you can only receive the amount of money you lost or the infringer’s profits.”

The infringement occurred before he tried to register. So he won’t be able to receive damages or attorneys fees, he only would be able to stop them from using it.

Reference: https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/how-to-copyright-a-dance

Reader
starbuck1771

To show how stupid this whole thing is maybe someone should copyright walking or running. 😈

This idiot will get nothing just like Lohan.

PurpleCopper
Reader
PurpleCopper

Imagine every single dance move creator suing every game in existence that uses their dance moves. Can such a thing happen?

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

A few things come to mind:

– The rapper — and, in particular, the dance step, which is more famous than the rapper that created it — is well known enough that copying does seem to be the case here.

– If copying indeed happened, then Epic did act like a douchebag. They should have contacted the creator of the dance step for authorization and properly credited him. Not as a legal requirement, but as the kind of nicety you expect in polite society.

– That being said, how long is the emote before it loops back? Seems to be less than 10 seconds. I don’t think that is long enough to be protected by copyright, similarly to how individual sentences aren’t protected. The Copyright Office explicitly disallow the protection of individual dance steps.

– Assuming the Rapper is aware of this the lawsuit does smack of a pure cash grab, or else an attempt to use the courts to gain fame. More so because he started the lawsuit before hearing back from the Copyright Office.

Reader
rafael12104

Hmm. What comes to my mind is the Ministry of Silly Walks. A new bureaucracy will now emerge to protect dance moves.

I’ll take Monty Pythons funny walks instead.

Reader
Utakata

…in the US, it will be known as the Department of Silly Walks. o.O

Reader
rafael12104

It would indeed. Or maybe the Department of Challenging Walks. Heh.

Reader
Goettel

Never heard of the dude.

Reader
Utakata

To be fair, if you don’t follow the hip hop scene even with it’s most obscure artists, it would be understandable that we have never heard of this person until now. However, thanks to this ego stunt that crossed into our genre…we do now. #15minutes :(

Reader
Trippin Ninja

The better idea would of probably been to use all that lawyer money on some kind of PR campaign to make sure everyone knew where this emote in an immensely popular game originated from to help drive sales of his music. But instead he’s gonna get crushed in court.

Could you imagine how rich the guys from Rock Steady Crew would be if they got royalties anytime their moves were used?

Reader
Weilan

WHO files a lawsuit? Since when nobodies are filing lawsuits?