In brief: Just how many people can sue Fortnite for allegedly using their dances without permission? Quite a lot, it seems. Joining the ever-growing list is James Baker, better known as rapper BlocBoy JB, who claims Epic stole his popular “Shoot” dance.
Shoot, which is known as Hype in the game, is one of the most popular Fortnite dance emotes and is often mimicked. BlocBoy JB says he invented the move, and that Epic Games added it to their famous title without asking. Check out both the dances below for comparison.
TMZ reports that while BlocBoy JB hadn’t registered a copyright on the dance when Fortnite starting using it, he is currently in the process of “locking it down,” according to the site.
"I just don't think it's fair what Epic is doing," said BlocBoy JB, in a statement. "I started the dance and made it popular through my music. Epic didn't ask me if they could put it in Fortnite." He is claiming copyright infringement, violation of the right of publicity, unfair competition and trademark infringement.
BlocBoy JB joins The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s Afonso Ribeiro, rapper 2 Milly, Russell “Backpack Kid” Horning, and Orange Shirt Kid in suing Fortnite for unauthorized use of a dance. As with all the other cases, he is being represented by the law firm of Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP.
It remains to be seen how these lawsuits turn out—they may come down to what extent you can copyright a dance. Out of all the cases, Orange Shirt Kid seems to be on the shakiest ground: the Orange Justice dance, originally called ‘The Random,’ was submitted to Epic Games as part of a competition. It didn’t win, but fans petitioned for its inclusion in Fortnite.
Epic Games is unlikely to be too worried, though. Even if it loses, Fortnite generated $2.4 billion in revenue last year, “the most annual revenue of any game in history,” so it's not short of cash.
James Baker, aka Blocboy JB... by on Scribd