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Fortnite Sued For Breaching Dance Copyright

Irwin Mitchell Lawyer Comments On The Latest Development

19.12.2018

David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

The video game company behind the popular game, Fortnite, is being sued by Russell Horning who is alleging they infringed his copyright in his signature ‘flossing’ dance move by including it in the game without his consent.

The law firm  representing the teenager, who is credited with popularising ‘The Floss’, is said to have filed a lawsuit against Epic Games and Take Two Interactive.

He is the latest person to file a lawsuit against the two companies. 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro claims that his dance, dubbed The Carlton Dance, is also used in Epic’s Fortnite and Take Two’s NBA 2K games without permission or credit. Ribeiro is asking for a judge’s order to stop both games using his moves.

Expert Opinion
“In the UK, copyright legislation specifically identifies a work of dance as a ‘dramatic work’ for copyright purposes. Copyright subsists automatically in original dramatic works, so it follows that copyright subsists automatically in original works of dance, and that that copyright will be infringed where the dance is used without the copyright owner’s consent.

“Whilst works of dance are specifically identified as protected copyright works in the legislation, I suspect it is pretty rare that copyright in them is enforced, but that is most likely because any infringing use will not normally generate substantial, provable profit for the infringer or cause substantial, provable loss to the copyright owner.

“This latest glut of claims in relation to Fortnite is perhaps a rare example of where the alleged infringer can be shown to have made substantial profits from its use of the dance, making it worthwhile for the copyright owner to take action.”
Alex Newman, Partner