A choreographer sues Epic Games for copyrighting his moves for Fortnite emotes
AA professional choreographer who is suing Epic Games alleging copyright infringement claims the company lifted his dance moves for a Fortnite emote.
Kyle Hanagami, a choreographer who has worked with Britney Spears, NSYNC, BlackPink, and other pop superstars, alleges that moves in the “It’s Complicated” emote used movements from a copyrighted routine. Emotes are dance moves or other actions the game’s players can purchase for their characters to perform.
Hanagami posted his choreography to Charlie Puth’s song “How Long” in 2017. Fortnite launched the “It’s Complicated” emote in August 2020.
The lawsuit, which was filed last week, says Epic Games, which owns Fortnite, “did not credit Hanagami nor seek his consent to use, display, reproduce, sell or create derivative work based on the Registered Choreography.”
Epic Games did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Epic Games has faced similar lawsuits in the past. Multiple artists, including Instagrammer Backpack Kid, Alfonso Ribeiro, and rapper 2Milly, sued the company in 2018. The lawsuits were eventually dismissed in light of a 2019 Supreme Court decision, which ruled that copyright infringement lawsuits must wait until the copyright is registered before moving forward.
Epic Games began crediting creators last year, Billboard reported, and it directly pays creators to use their viral dances after multiple creators, including “Renegade” choreographer Jalaiah Harmon, called it out.
But some creators, like Hanagami, have continued to accuse Fortnite of taking their dance moves without permission or proper compensation.
Source: Billboard news