Carlton is making trouble in Fortnite’s neighborhood – by suing Epic over his dance

    
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Alfonso Ribeiro, the actor probably best known for playing Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and now the host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, is apparently joining in the fun suing Epic Games and Take-Two Interactive for ripping off his iconic “The Carlton” dance and stuffing it into Fortnite and the NBA 2K series.

“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,'” Ribeiro’s lawyers say. “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.” He is essentially seeking damages and a halt to the use of his dance.

Epic apparently declined to discuss the suit. Gamers will recall that rapper 2 Milly filed a similar suit over the use of his Milly Rock dance earlier in December, and according to Variety, Backpack Kid and his dance made famous by Katy Perry is pursuing Epic with a similar complaint.

You might think a lawsuitobsessed company like Epic would understand why it’s not OK to cheat and steal, but hey, this is 2018.

Source: Variety, TMZ. Thanks, Starbuck!

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Schmidt.Capela

And another lawsuit is announced, this time for the “Floss” dance. Same pattern; the same law firm representing the “celebrity” that is claiming to own the dance, no copyright registration obtained yet, and it’s actually easy to find online videos of the claimed “dance” that predate the first time the “celebrity” is supposed to have performed it.

With an interesting twist this time: he has previously said he was okay with Epic including the dance in Fortnite.

(“Celebrity” between quotes because in this case the person’s only claim to fame is that his video performing the “dance” went viral.)

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Adam Russell

I think this lawsuit is just a publicity put-on on both of their parts.

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Dankey Kang

Carlton deserves the money. His job at McDonalds doesn’t pay quite as well as The Fresh Prince did and epic have enough money what with every 5-15 year old on the planet playing fortnite.

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Rumm

The same people who lament Disney for extending copyright protections on Mickey are now celebrating copyright being extended to basic motions strung together in a 2 second interval.

I’m just waiting to find out that Fresh Prince producers never got permission from Tom Jones to use his actual copyrighted works in the scene in question.

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Hikari Kenzaki

Tom Jones appeared on an episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Is there a difference between paying money to play a game (WoW) where you can dance to begin with vs playing a free game (Fortnite) and paying money for the ability to dance?

If there IS an actual legal difference in WoW’s favor, then I’m sure Epic will use some loophole and change it so that you have to grind alot for those dance emotes, or buy xp boosters or something.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

The Carlton is in a great many games. Nobody thought of suing anybody about it until Fortnite for some reason (can we guess why?).

Remember, unless these people actually copyrighted their dances *before* Epic put them in their game, they can only sue to have them taken down. They can’t sue for monetary compensation or legal fees.

I’m guessing most of them are hoping Epic will share the money with them though and aren’t doing this to get them taken down.

Epic could just change the dances so that they’re unique, and the people will get no monetary compensation nor legal fees, unless they had copyrighted the dances in the past before they were in Epic’s game.

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

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Sorenthaz

Yeah when you’re actually selling this stuff in-game to make a profit off of it then it becomes an issue. If it was something like Trove where Dracolytes do the Carlton (in Dragon form they do Gangnam Style) just by typing /dance naturally, no one would bat an eyelash. LoL, WoW, Rift, etc. get away with stuff like this because it’s just a small little thing hidden away with no extra price tags attached.

Meanwhile Epic actually profits off of using an iconic dance that has literally been called ‘The Carlton’. They’ve probably made quite a bit off of it, and I guess they didn’t once stop to think about the ethics behind it.

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Tee Parsley

That game stole my iconic eyeroll and smirk! They must pay!

Or so says my lawyer….

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

courtnite.gif
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Eliandal

Sheesh, you are, simply, astonishing. Please don’t ever stop :)!!

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Schlag Sweetleaf

tried once, the memes would have none of it though…:)

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Utakata

Yeah…it would be like me switching to ponytails. It wouldn’t seem right. >.<

Serrenity
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Serrenity

This is probably my favorite all year Schlag

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Armsbend

damn that’s a good one schlag

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Schlag Sweetleaf

there is an unintended easter egg in there. Serendipity:)

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Bryan Correll

Damn, now I have to keep looking at it to find the egg. Unless it’s in the file name….

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Schlag Sweetleaf

Amy Shumer was in the audience . Front and center:)

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Castagere Shaikura

I will never understand how a big company like Epic could not have someone on the board say Hey to cover our bases lets get permission to use something someone is famous for. If they had asked I bet he would have said sure.

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NeoWolf

In most respects I imagine they would.. but dance moves aren’t exactly Copyrighted (nor have they ever been) in general and certainly not as far as I know in legal history or precedent.

So this is all NEW legally speaking and will set the future precedents relating to dance moves. Pretty interesting really from that standpoint. :)

On the upside if someone actually wins one of these claims every choreographer will be having thier work copyrighted asap in order to get the royalties :)

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Schmidt.Capela

AFAIK it’s not new; the reason dance moves and short routines were never allowed copyright protection isn’t because it has never been tried, but rather because the Copyright Office explicitly says they are uncopyrightable.