At the end of last year, the subject of dances in Fortnite came to head, as there were multiple lawsuits raised against Epic Games and other publishers were filed.
The argument was that Epic and publishers like 2K were selling and profiting from dances created by other people. One of highest known cases was Alfonso Ribeiro, who is best known as Carlton from the 1990s sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, who claims to be the originator of the Carlton dance.
As part of this lawsuit, to add more power behind the claim that he owns the dance, Ribeiro filed for a copyright on the dance last month. The U.S. Copyright Office has refused registration for, among other reasons, belief that Ribeiro is not the person who can lay claim to the dance.
According to an agent (Saskia Florence) in the copyright office, Ribeiro’s claim that he originated the dance has several problems, the biggest among them is that the simple routine isn’t based on choreography and a copyright doesn’t make sense.
Florence states; “The dancer sways their hips as they step from side to side, while swinging their arms in an exaggerated manner. In the second dance step, the dancer takes two steps to each side while opening and closing their legs and their arms in unison. In the final step, the dancer’s feet are still and they lower one hand from above their head to the middle of their chest while fluttering their fingers. The combination of these three dance steps is a simple routine that is not registrable as a choreographic work.”
As a response to this, lawyers for 2K have filed for a dismissal for Ribeiro’s lawsuit against them for the use of the dance in NBA 2K. The dismissal points out that the copyright ownership for the dance would have to belong to NBC, the company that owns the copyright on the episode on which it originated.