In Dec. 2018, rapper 2 Milly sued Epic Games for appropriating his Milly Rock dance in their insanely popular video game, Fortnite: Battle Royale. For those unfamiliar, the Battle Royale mode of Fortnite is completely free, but players are able to purchase a number of different cosmetic items, including dance emotes. A dance entitled "Swipe It" in the game is identical to the Milly Rock. The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Epic Games is pushing for a dismissal of the lawsuit.
In an extensive letter addressed to a California federal court, Epic's attorney Dale Cendali wrote, "Plaintiff's lawsuit is fundamentally at odds with free speech principles as it attempts to impose liability, and thereby chill creative expression, by claiming rights that do not exist under the law. No one can own a dance step." This is a common defense brought up as accusations of creative theft continue to mount against Epic, who are currently being sued by numerous musicians and creatives.
"Copyright law is clear that individual dance steps and simple dance routines are not protected by copyright, but rather are building blocks of free expression, which are in the public domain for choreographers, dancers, and the general public to use, perform, and enjoy," continued Cendali in the dismissal brief. BlocBoy JB, Fresh Prince actor Alfonso Ribeiro, Backpack Kid, and 'Orange Shirt Kid' are also suing Epic for using their signature dance moves without proper credit.
Cendali also argued that "Swipe It" isn't exactly identical to the Milly Rock. "As shown by the accompanying video clip, the Dance Step consists of a side step to the right while swinging the left arm horizontally across the chest to the right, and then reversing the same movement on the other side," she explained. "By contrast, as shown in 26 another video clip, Swipe It consists of (1) varying arm movements, sometimes using a straight, horizontal arc across the chest, and other times starting below the hips and then traveling in a diagonal arc across the body, up to the shoulder, while pivoting side to side on the balls and heels of the feet, (2) a wind up of the right arm before swiping, and (3) a rolling motion of the hands and forearms between swipes."
Epic has been making an absolute killing because of Fortnite, which reportedly brought them in an insane $3 billion in 2018 profits. Read the full brief here.