American rapper, 2 Milly, is suing the Fortnite creators, Epic Games, for using and selling his “Milly Rock“ dance as an emote in the popular game. The artist says he was never asked for permission, nor offered a cut of the emote sales.
The lawsuit was filed in a California district court on Wednesday and alleges that the “Swipe It“ dance added as part of Fortnite’s Season 5 update is a direct copy of 2 Milly’s dance featured in his 2014 video clip for Milly Rock.
You can see the original dance in the clip below.
And now, compare it to the Fortnite emote. Pretty damn similar, no?
Recently, Scrubs actor, Donald Faison, joked about Epic Games stealing his shit as well. While the tone of him talking about his “Poison“ dance appearing in Fortnite was obviously in jest, you could definitely sense a layer of frustration underneath, which was also evidenced by his earlier tweets on the matter.
Dear fortnite… I’m flattered? Though part of me thinks I should talk to a lawyer…— Donald Faison (@donald_faison) April 1, 2018
2 Milly is far from the only one taking legal action, though.
“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.”
A lot of the artists in similar situations aren’t exactly mad about their work being used in a video game, it’s more that it’s being used without permission, without credit to the creator, and sold as extra content without passing on royalties. The tricky thing, though, is that it’s a bit of a legal grey area.
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, individual steps or routines cannot be protected, which is the same way individual words cannot be protected. It does protect “choreographic work,” but it’s unclear whether the emotes fall into this category.
All eyes will be watching to see how this all pans out, but I’d wager Epic will want to settle the matter quietly.
More Stuff From PEDESTRIAN.TV
Image: Epic Games