Fortnite is one of the most well-known video games right now — and it’s not just because it’s fun to play. The maker of the game, Epic Games, Inc., has been sued by multiple parties for copyright infringement. The parties claim that Epic Games used their signature dance moves to make money off of players. But one of the parties, Alfonso Ribeiro, has recently dropped his lawsuit against the game maker.
Alfonso Ribeiro is best known for his role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as Carlton Banks. In the more than 121 years Hollywood has been in business, this show was, and still is, certainly a top fan-favorite. And on the show, Ribeiro’s character has a signature dance move — the Carlton.
The Carlton was allegedly used in Fortnite, as a dance move option for players. And Ribeiro quickly filed a lawsuit for the dance move being used without his permission.
But now, the actor has voluntarily dropped the lawsuit. His legal team says the action was a procedural step in the ongoing process.
This decision came about after the Supreme Court ruled that if an application for registration has not been granted or has been refused by the U.S. Copyright Office, the person is unable to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement.
So while there are measures in place to protect people, their copyrighted items, and even their businesses, like the 2016 Defend Trade Secrets Act, Ribeiro was refused copyright of the dance move. The Copyright Office declined the application to register the Carlton, claiming the moves were a simple dance routine.
A representative from the Office’s Performing Arts Division clarified that the “combination of these three dance steps is a simple routine that is not registrable as a choreographic work.”
However, because Ribeiro voluntarily dropped the case “without prejudice”, he can refile the claim at a later date if he chooses to do so. But the rejections from the Copyright Office could lead to problems in future cases — not only against Epic, but against Take-Two Interactive, the makers of NBA2K16, who also allegedly used the Carlton.
But Ribeiro’s legal representation, attorney David Hecht, is not giving up.
“We will continue to vigorously fight for our clients’ rights against those who wrongly take their creations without permission and without compensation,” Hecht said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Other parties who made similar claims against Epic Games include 2 Milly, the Backpack Kid, and the Orange Shirt Kid, all of whom claim their signature dance move was used in Fortnite without their permission.