The video game sensation Fortnite is getting sued by... Carleton?


If you haven’t heard, Fortnite is insanely popular. As of November 2018, the game had over 200 million registered accounts (and it took them just over a year to get there). 

Earlier this month, 10.7 million players were logged on at the same time to watch an in-game Marshmello concert -- for some perspective, that’s nearly 27 times the number of Woodstock attendees. 

Marshmello is not our favorite, but we can’t argue with taking advantage of the opportunity to see one the most popular DJs in the world perform… for free

That’s right -- Fortnite is completely free to play. In a world where new video games still wear a $60 price tag, Fortnite creator Epic Games made the “crazy” decision to give Fortnite away for free. 

That decision is looking less crazy now, Epic Games made $3 billion last year in profit -- but how?

The answer (in part): selling dance moves.

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Fortnite players can spend between $5 and $10 to purchase “emotes” for their in-game character. These “emotes” depict well-known dance moves such as the “Carleton” from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and the “Floss,” popularized by a kid wearing a backpack during a Katy Perry performance.

And in true American fashion, where there’s money being made, there’s lawsuits being filed. It turns out that people like Alfonso Ribeiro (the actor who played Carleton) believe that they own the rights to the dance moves they popularized.

Ribeiro isn’t alone. From what we’ve gathered, there have been at least five lawsuits filed against Epic Games alleging copyright infringement -- the most recent coming from the former Maryland basketball players who made the “Running Man” go viral.

The dances under dispute:  

The jury is still out

So far, there’s yet to be a ruling in favor of either side of the argument. Copyright law appears to protect choreography, but not individual dance movements -- which would prove problematic for all of the lawsuits against Epic.

If we had to guess, we’d say Epic Games will be fine. Even if they settle, they’ve got the cash.

However, between the Fortnite lawsuits and Fuckjerry stealing jokes on Instagram, there’s clearly a gap in copyright law when it comes to meme ownership. 
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