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'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' star sues makers of Fortnite, NBA 2K video games over use of 'Carlton' dance


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https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/video-games/fresh-prince-bel-air-star-sues-makers-fortnite-nba-2k-n949111

 

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Ribeiro says North Carolina-based Epic Games and Delaware-based Take Two used his dance he first performed on a 1991 "Fresh Prince" episode. He's asking for a judge's order to stop both games from using his moves.

Ribeiro says he is currently in the middle of copyrighting the dance.
 

"It is widely recognized that Mr. Ribeiro's likeness and intellectual property have been misappropriated by Epic Games in the most popular video game currently in the world, 'Fortnite,'" David L. Hecht, a partner at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, told Variety in a statement.

 

"Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like 'Fresh.' Yet Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property. Therefore, Mr. Ribeiro is seeking his fair and reasonable share of profits Epic has earned by use of his iconic intellectual property in 'Fortnite' and as a result is requesting through the courts that Epic cease all use of Mr. Ribeiro's signature dance."

 

 

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I'm conducting some top-tier research at the moment, here's what I've found in the last 2 minutes:

 

https://www.westword.com/music/beyonce-accused-of-plagiarism-for-a-dance-number-wait-can-you-copyright-dance-moves-5676818

 

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The answer is yes, but with a few big caveats. Choreography wasn't even added into copyright law until the 1976 Copyright Act, as a form of "dramatic composition." So, like most art forms, choreography is protected by copyright if it's "fixed in any tangible medium of expression," which essentially means a recorded video.

Then it gets more complicated.

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What does that mean, exactly? Well, that's where things get a little tricky. Dance moves, by their nature, are not copyrightable -- consider a single move the equivalent of a single chord on a guitar. That's why you don't hear about anyone getting rich off the two-step or their sweet new dubstep moves. However, when you put a series of chords together, they form a song, and in the same way, when a series of dance moves are put together, they form a choreographed number.

Based on that, I would assume the Carlton is more of a simple jig or a part of a dance rather than a dance (or choreography) unto itself. I'd imagine this won't get very far, but that's just a guess based on a Westword article.

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1 minute ago, Xbob42 said:

I'm conducting some top-tier research at the moment, here's what I've found in the last 2 minutes:

 

https://www.westword.com/music/beyonce-accused-of-plagiarism-for-a-dance-number-wait-can-you-copyright-dance-moves-5676818

 

Based on that, I would assume the Carlton is more of a simple jig or a part of a dance rather than a dance unto itself. I'd imagine this won't get very far, but that's just a guess based on a Westword article.

 

except the Carlton dance is a number of moves tied together...is that any different than a number of the lawsuits we've seen over the years with musicians getting sued for samples small parts of songs? Definitely will be interested to see where the lawsuit goes. 

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1 hour ago, Xbob42 said:

Isn't the Carlton just swinging your arms back and forth and jigglin' your head while hunched over? That strikes me as a single move, two, tops. Unless I somehow missed the rest of the dance after all these years.

Yeah, but the one in fortnight is like way more Carlton-y. Guild Wars 2 also has the dance, but it is lacking

 

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1 hour ago, Jason said:

Isn't the Carlton Dance a ripoff of something from a music video?

 

the Carlton dance is technically the stereotypical "80's white girl dance" just done with his flare. If you think I'm kidding, look at this scene from The Terminator and watch the dance that everyone is doing in the background :lol:

 

 

 

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I think a bigger issue might be that they aren't recreating his dance. I swear it looks like they just motion-captured a video of him performing the dance and are, in turn, selling it to paying customers. No matter how sketchy copyrighting a dance can be, that's not exactly a great place for Epic to start.

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49 minutes ago, Ghost_MH said:

I think a bigger issue might be that they aren't recreating his dance. I swear it looks like they just motion-captured a video of him performing the dance and are, in turn, selling it to paying customers. No matter how sketchy copyrighting a dance can be, that's not exactly a great place for Epic to start.

It looks like they copied a TV show to copy his dance 

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Seems like the big news today is that in 2013 Alfonso said how he came up with the dance. 

"He tells Buzzfeed.com, quote, "There was a video of Bruce Springsteen and Courtney Cox called 'Dancing in the Dark', and Bruce Springsteen pulls her up onto the stage and she basically does that dance.
"It was also from Eddie Murphy's 'Delirious' comedy video where he does 'The White Man Dance.' What I did was ultimately take those two dances and combined them and made it my own, and made it my character's." 

http://awesome98.com/alfonso-ribeiro-says-the-carlton-dance-was-inspired-by-courteney-cox-and-eddie-murphy/

You can see the Courtney Cox and Eddie Murphy example in the link. Neither look exactly like his dance. But there still isn't much to his dance to begin with. It's just a few moves that he made recognizable when he did it. Fortnite just keeps changing the landscape in gaming and other media. We are encountering new issues we didn't see in the past. 

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