Fortnite has had its share of legal issues, especially when it comes to its emotes. These are often iconic dances from television, hip-hop, and other facets of pop culture. Recently, actor Alfonso Ribeiro (who played Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air) filed a complaint against Fortnite over its use of his iconic dance from the show, known as The Carlton. The emote in question is simply called, “Fresh.” Unfortunately for Ribeiro, the United States Copyright Office has refused to register the dance. According to the law, Ribiero has no ownership over it.
As reported by Hollywood Reporter, the alleged claimed “choreographic work” is a “simple dance routine” and thus cannot be copyrighted. The difference here boils down to complexity.
Additionally, the dance was created for the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air television show so, if anything, ownership can be traced back to those who own the television show. This was probably the reason that Alfonso Ribeiro opted to submit an excerpt from his performance on Dancing With the Stars instead. But that created more issues, as it called into question whether or not he even came up with the routine.
[B]ecause the footage deposited is a professional production aired on ABC, we question whether Mr. Alfonso and Ms. Carson’s appearances, as well as any contributions made to the work deposited, were created under a work made for hire agreement.
It looks like Fortnite may have survived another legal scuffle.
[Source: Hollywood Reporter]