For several months now, the artists behind some of the moves on Fortnite have been telling developer Epic to compensate them, or at least “put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes”.
“Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes. Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them” – @chancetherapper
However, as business and entertainment lawyer Merlyne Jean-Louis notes in the CBS story, there’s no case law setting a precedent for copyrighting choreographic works and the US Copyright Office currently cannot accept copyright patents for individual dance moves due to creative choreographic expression.
“There’s a lot of case lawsuits surrounding the copyright of music. Lyrics. Sounds. There’s a full body of case law related to that. But regarding choreographic works, that does not exist,” they added in response to the case.
It appears to be down to the developer, in should compensate the creators of the moves, or – as Chance the Rapper suggests in the tweet above – accompany the emotes with the tracks that made them famous and share the sale profits with the artists.