Alfonso Ribeiro is taking Fortnite’s Epic Games and NBA 2K’s Take-Two Interactive to court over the use of his well known “Carlton Dance,” which was popularized on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. In his suit, Ribeiro is alleging that the game makers used his dance without permission or granting credit.
You can see the dance below as seen in Fortnite:
The dance was popularized during Alfonso Ribeiro’s stint as Carlton Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, a sitcom in the 1990s that propelled then rapper, Will Smith, into stardom as an actor.
According to Deadline, the suit claims that Epic Games’ Fortnite Battle Royale “capitalized on Alfonso Ribeiro’s celebrity and popularity by selling The Dance as an in-game purchase in Fortnite under the name ‘Fresh,’ which players can buy to customize their avatars for use in the game.”
The suit goes on to say that Epic Games profited from Mr. Ribeiro’s likeness and creative expression:
“Epic has unfairly profited from exploiting Ribeiro’s protected creative expression and likeness and celebrity without his consent or authorization.”
This isn’t the first time Epic Games and their wildly popular Fortnite have been sued for using well-known dances. Earlier this year Scrubs star Donald Faison stated that Fortnite “jacked” his dance. Faison improvised the dance to Bel Biv Devoe’s “Poison” during an episode of season 5 of Scrubs.
However, Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence did note that Epic Games had contacted him about the legality of using the choreography.
But it doesn’t seem seem they’ve reached out to everyone.
Rapper 2 Milly also filed a lawsuit against Epic Games earlier this month. He claims that the game used one of his dances called “Milly Rock” and marketed it in Fortnite under the name “Swipe It.” He claims that he didn’t receive compensation or was asked if Epic Games and Fortnite could use it.
Following 2 Milly’s lawsuit Chance The Rapper suggested that the people behind the dance moves get compensated by putting the actual rap songs that go with the dances as part of a package deal.
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
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) July 13, 2018
What do you think? Do Alfonso Ribeiro and others have a point? Are their dances protected property? Or could Fortnite use the first amendment, more specifically the use of parody, to build a case that they’re within their legal rights? Let me know in the comments below!