- “Dancing with the Stars”/Fortnite
- “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star Alfonso Ribeiro – along with rapper 2Milly and Russell “Backpack Kid” Horning – is suing Epic Games.
- At the heart of the litigation are accusations that “Fortnite” stole dance moves from each of the three.
- It sounds like the trio of lawsuits is just the beginning. “Every day we’re getting calls about what’s going on,” David Hecht, the lawyer representing three celebrities in their suits against Epic Games, told Business Insider on Thursday.
A trio of celebrities are each suing “Fortnite” maker Epic Games for what they say is intellectual property theft.
At the heart of the litigation is dance moves: Many of the in-game dances that have become a signature of “Fortnite” are based on existing dances. And the three people suing Epic Games claim to have created some of the dances that are in the game.
Most iconic of all is Alfonso Ribeiro’s dance from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” – often known as “The Carlton” – which shows up in “Fortnite” as “Fresh.”
And it sounds like Ribeiro, rapper 2Milly, and Instagram star Russell “Backpack Kid” Horning aren’t the only three celebrities looking askance at “Fortnite” maker Epic Games, according to the lawyer representing all three.
“Every day we’re getting calls about what’s going on,” David Hecht of law firm Pierce Bainbridge told Business Insider in a phone interview on Thursday. “From artists, from other types of people – obviously from people whose likeness appears in the game [‘Fortnite’].”
It’s not clear who Hecht is referring to, but a quick look through the many dances in “Fortnite” offers a few potential examples.
Should I Sue Fortnite Or Nah????
— BlocBoy JB (@BlocBoy_JB) December 20, 2018
Rapper BlocBoy JB, whose dance moves in his video “Shoot” seemingly influenced the “Hype” emote, is openly considering litigation.
Whether celebrities like Julia Louis-Dreyfus (whose famous dance appears to have inspired “Jubilation” in “Fortnite”) and Psy (whose “Gangnam Style” dance bears a striking resemblance to “Ride the Pony”) will pursue litigation with Epic Games remains to be seen, but Hecht says his firm is focusing primarily on two groups of potential clients with regards to more lawsuits aimed at Epic: “African-American talent, as well as Korean (K-pop) talent – those are the main groups.”
For now, with potential litigation still pending, Hecht isn’t discussing potential clients. “We’re evaluating many, many different claims. And it’s been very interesting, because people feel very wronged.”
For its part, Epic Games isn’t commenting on the ongoing litigation.