The Fortnite dance lawsuit saga continues. This time Epic Games is fighting back against the rapper who started it all. 2 Milly as previously reported is suing Epic Games. The lawsuit stems from them apparently using his dance move in Fortnite. It was rebranded as “Swipe It.” This is a purchasable dance emote players can attach to their character. Now Epic Games is calling for the case to be dismissed, saying the moves they use aren’t actually similar to 2 Milly’s at all.
This message can be said to all the other celebrities who have also begun to sue Epic. Celebrities believe Epic stole their intellectual property. However, Epic has also taken it one step further, declaring that you can’t actually own a dance step. This is all playing out in a California court where Epic Games through their attorney Dale Cendali made the following statement:
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 the law. No one can own a dance step. Copyright law is clear that individual dance steps and simple dance routines are not protected by copyright, but rather are building blocks of free expression, which are in the public domain for choreographers, dancers, and the general public to use, perform, and enjoy.
Can you copyright a dance move?
While the choreography is indeed protected under copyright laws, Epic fired back that simple dance routines as classified by the Copyright Office can’t be registered or are actually copyrightable. It seems that Epic may be in the right here and could actually get this case dismissed. There’s a ton of legality to be debated here, and of course Epic Games wasn’t going to take this lying down. When you have a game as hot as Fortnite (though Apex Legends is giving them a run for their money), you fight. Dance emotes are an important part of the game for players after all, and people were bound to start to question who owns what. Still, maybe now Epic Games will be a tad more careful when adding any future dance emotes so lawsuits don’t happen, or at least ask permission to use someone’s moves.