Last December, Alfonso Ribeiro made headlines when he attempted to sue Fortnite over the use of his famed Carlton Dance. While a huge majority of the internet was on Ribeiro’s side, it seems the court has ruled against Ribeiro’s favor.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Ribeiro’s claim only works if the game had stolen something that could be considered original choreography that he made himself. According to the ruling, the Carlton Dance is too simple to be considered ‘choreographic work’ so Fortnite is free to use the dance move—much like writers can use words that were invented by someone else.
There is also the case that the Carlton Dancewas first shown at a nationally televised screening by NBC, making them the actual owners of the dance. Ribeiro had not even tried to register the dance at the Copyright Office—most likely because he knows he doesn’t really own the copyright for the dance.
Though this may be a loss for Ribeiro, this comes as a huge relief for Epic Games who has a lot of pending cases of a similar nature. Besides the Carlton Dance, they’re also being sued for other moves like the Milly Rock as well as the infamous Floss Dance. With Epic winning their argument based on the ownership of a dance, I’m pretty sure they can apply the same logic when it comes to everything else that people are claiming ownership to.