On 5th December 2018, New York rapper Milly Rock filed a copyright lawsuit against a popular video game ‘‘Fortnite’’ and its creator Epic Games. In the suit, the rapper accused the game, of copying his dance moves for their ‘‘emotes’’ without his permission.
The suit was filed at the US District Court for the Central District of California. The game is free to play, but a majority of its sales comes from in-app purchases like ‘‘emotes’’.
Milly Rock released a song named ‘‘Milly Rock’’ along with a video of him performing the mentioned dance moves. He accused Epic Games of copying his moves for their ‘‘emotes’’. ‘‘Emotes’’ are defined as upgrades which can be bought by players to customize their gaming avatars.
The game exploited the move and renamed it as ‘‘Swipe It’’. As per the rapper Epic Games neither obtained any prior approval nor gave any credit to the Milly Rock. According to the suit, the game has unfairly profited from Milly’s creative expression.
The suit claimed that Epic Games has illegally copied dance moves from various sources including popular videos, films and TV shows. They also illegally profited from such illegal activities due to which they generated record-breaking revenues.
They also created a false impression among players, that these dance moves are started by Epic Games. This resulted in players posting videos of themselves performing the dance moves with the hashtag ‘‘#fortnitedance’’.
Milly Rock submitted evidence that Epic Games also copied dance styles and movements from other African-American talents as well. This includes copying Snoop Dogg’s “Drop it likes It’s Hot” and Alfonso Ribeiro’s ‘‘Carlton Dance’’.
The rapper is seeking damages from the defendant and requested the Court to permanently stop them from copying his moves.