Remember back when gobs of entertainers were trying to sue Epic Games for taking their dances and shoving them into Fortnite to sell them to players? We do; in fact, we covered the legal battles in-depth in our very first Lawful Neutral column, so we never have to do it again!
Just kidding. Of course we have to do it again because Epic Games. Apparently this time around, “Dancing Pumpkin Man” (how is this a thing?), or as his parents named him, Matthew Geiler, threatened to sue Epic over Fortnite’s Pump It Up emote, which was a rather obvious reference to Geiler’s viral video and dance. So Geiler issued the studio a C&D, and then Epic Games responded with a threat to sue if the C&D wasn’t withdrawn.
This gets weirder because according to Epic’s complaint, Geiler had already entered into a license agreement with Epic Games as of this past August; it appears to grant Epic the right to use the “character” and the “audio-visual work,” although without a copy of the license agreement, it’s hard to tell from this side of the judge’s bench whether the one-off emote would actually be covered.
Thank you, Epic, for ensuring my morning was spent reading a 34-page legal complaint explaining to the court what the hell Dancing Pumpkin Man actually is and why Epic was authorized to use it. I now give you this video to illustrate the absurdity of what’s being fought over here.