Fortnite Lawsuit: Carlton Banks Dances Out From Suit Against Epic Games

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The Carlton at Dancing with the Stars
The Carlton at Dancing with the Stars YouTube

Epic Games can breath a sigh of relief as Alfonso Ribeiro has dropped his lawsuit against the company over allegations that the "Carlton Dance" was used in Fortnite without his permission.

Ribeiro is best known for his role as Carlton Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air TV show. During the series, the character would break into this iconic dance with song "It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones playing in the background. Ribeiro has capitalized on this dance and even performed it with his partner during Season 19 of Dancing with the Stars.

In Fortnite, the dance is a character emote labeled "Fresh."

While Ribeiro did drop the suit, he still has the option to refile it at a later date. The move is not a surprise considering that the U.S. Supreme Court recently released a unanimous ruling stating that a copyright infringement lawsuit is only possible if the owner of the copyright has been granted such right by the U.S. Copyright Office.

Ribeiro initially filed for copyright protection on his dance. However, in February the USCO denied his application for a copyright. In a letter to Ribeiro's attorney, the USCO described "The Carlton" as a dance consisting of three steps. Upon review, the application was denied with the USCO stating that "the combination of these three dance steps is a simple routine that is not registrable as a choreographic work.” This ties in with the guidelines that short dance routines that use only a few steps or movements having minimal spatial or linear routine cannot be registered. This is true even if the dance step is considered distinctive or even unique.

Suits filed by 2 Milly, Russell “Backpack Kid” Horning, and James "BloBoy JB" Baker, have been voluntarily dismissed as well. Ribeiro, 2 Milly, Backpack Kid, and BloBoy JB, are all represted by attorney David Hecht of Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht. In a statement given to The Hollywood Reporter, Hecht said they will continue to fight for the rights of their clients. Hecht has also revealed he intends to appeal the decision of the USCO.

Aside from the suit against Epic Games, Ribeiro also dropped his suit with Take-Two Interactive and its NBA2K game.

While one can argue that this fight could be far from over, players can get the satisfaction that they can continue to dance The Carlton after they blast opponents in Fortnite for now.

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