We’ve reported on Epic Games and Fortnite getting in hot water with celebrities for using their dance moves in the game before. Now one rapper, 2 Milly, has actually filed a lawsuit in a California court.
His “Milly Rock” made its debut in a 2014 music video. Why is he suing? He claims Epic is using his signature “Milly Rock” dance which is known in Fortnite as “Swipe It.” This particular dance emote made its debut back in Season 5. Did Epic Games use his moves without paying? It will ultimately come down to what the courts decide on whether Epic stole his IP or not.
There is a similar pattern in other games
“This isn’t the first time that Epic Games has brazenly misappropriated the likeness of African-American talent. Our client Lenwood ‘Skip’ Hamilton is pursuing similar claims against Epic for use of his likeness in the popular ‘Cole Train’ character in the ‘Gears of War’ video game franchise,” David L. Hecht, partner at Pierce Bainbridge, told Variety. “Epic cannot be allowed to continue to take what does not belong to it.”
2K Games has even used the “Milly Rock” in NBA 2K18. 2 Milly may have a hard case to win on his end if what one IP lawyer said holds true. Copyright law doesn’t actually protect dance steps or routines, but it does cover what is described as “choreographic work.”
You can actually watch a video on what has become a hot debate on cultural appropriation in Fortnite. It does come to the question every person who has spoken out against Epic Games on the same issue has been asking: Can you copyright a dance move?
Dear fortnite… I’m flattered? Though part of me thinks I should talk to a lawyer…
— Donald Faison (@donald_faison) April 1, 2018
Epic never asked 2 Milly
According to Variety, 2 Milly said the following: “They never even asked for my permission. I am thrilled to have David Hecht and his team at Pierce Bainbridge representing me to help right this wrong.”
This is an issue that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon for Epic and Fortnite. When you have over 200 million registered users and make millions a month, it may be time to pay up.[Source]