‘Fresh Prince’ Star Drops Lawsuit Against Fortnite
Alfonso Ribeiro has withdrawn his lawsuit against Epic Games over the use of in-game dance moves that mimicked those he used while playing the role of Carlton Banks on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
The sudden move came Thursday in federal court. Ribeiro’s attorneys told the BBC the actor intends to refile the suit at a later date. A similar case against Take-Two Interactive Software was also withdrawn and might be refiled later.
Ribeiro might have a hard time winning the cases, though, after the U.S. Copyright Office denied his request to register the widely known dance move, saying the combination of steps “is a simple routine that is not registrable as a choreographic work.”
He’s hardly alone in his battle with Fortnite however. Several celebrities and online stars, including rapper 2 Milly, have accused the popular game of infringing on their rights by using dance moves they created without acknowledgement or compensation.
Legal scholars note that dance moves are generally not seen as trademarkable (though the names of those moves can be). 2 Milly’s suit, though, seemingly accuses Epic developers of using copyrighted music videos to create the animations, which is a bigger gray area.
Should any of the artists win their Fortnite suit, it could have sweeping implications throughout the video game industry and how pop culture references are included into new titles.
Fortnite, last year, became the latest game to generate more than $1 billion in revenue, largely through the purchase of in-game content like season passes and dance emotes. The game has 200 million registered users.