Image via Epic Games
It must feel like Groundhog Day over there Epic Gamessince the company is being sued via a Fourteen days Dance emote… again.
The emote in question is the It’s Complicated dance that was released back in 2020. Lawyers representing choreographer Kyle Hanagami said the dance emote violates the choreographer’s copyright since Hanagami created the dance routine for Charlie Puth’s track “How Long” back in 2017. . Hanagami is a professional choreographer and has worked with previous artists such as Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and Blackpink to name a few.
In a report by Kotaku, the lawsuit was filed in the Central District of California, where attorneys say Epic Games did not credit Hanagami or obtain his permission to use the emote in-game. Hanamagi’s legal team also sought a court order to remove the Fortnite emote, seeking attorneys’ fees and damages.
“[Epic Games] have neither credited nor obtained Hanagami’s consent to use, display, reproduce, sell, or create a derivative work based on the registered choreography.”
Hanagami’s attorney, David Hecht, spoke to PC Gamer about the lawsuit, saying that Epic Games benefits from his client’s work and that the video game company should pay artists a license to use their content before using it in their games .
“Epic benefits from my client’s hard work and their hurt couldn’t be more obvious. Epic’s sale of Kyle’s registered choreography as an item in the Fortnite Item Shop without his knowledge or authorization is fundamentally unfair. He was forced to file suits to stand up for the many choreographers whose work is similarly misappropriated.
“Copyright protects the choreography just like other forms of artistic expression. Epic should respect that fact and pay to license the artistic creations of others before selling them.”
This isn’t the first time Epic Games has gotten into legal trouble over its dance emotes. Back in 2018, Fresh Prince of Bel Air Actor Alfonso Ribeiro, rapper 2Milly and Russel Horning (aka Backpack Kid) sued the company for “Carlton Dance”, “Swipe it” and “The Floss”. All three lawsuits were dismissed in 2019 after amendments were made and required the dance’s creators to register their movements with the Copyright Office.
Later in 2020, Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple, seeking a court order for the tech giant to support third-party app stores, accusing it of monopolizing the mobile games market.
We Got This Covered has reached out to Epic Games for comment.