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Alfonso Ribeiro Sues Fortnite Developer For Using The ‘Carlton’ Dance Without His Permission

If you’re over the age of 25, you probably remember the ‘Carlton’ dance. Hell, you have probably busted the move out on the dance floor before. It’s one of the few dance moves that white people can actually do. If you haven’t seen the ‘Carlton’ in action, check out the video above.

The actor who played Carlton, Alfonso Ribeiro, popularized the dance and made it profitable, which means he owns it in a way. And according to CNN, Ribeiro is not happy with the developers/creators of Fortnite and NBA 2K. In both games, characters can perform dance moves, and one of the dance moves called “Fresh” looks exactly like Carlton’s dance.

Check out the comparison…

So obviously they copied the dance. There is no debating that. The question is, does Ribeiro have any legal rights to the dance?

Well, maybe. He filed two lawsuits against Epic Games and Take-Two Interactive Software for unfairly profiting form his likeliness and exploiting his “protected creative expression.”

According the experts, he’s filing a right of publicity claim in addition to direct infringement of Copyright, which is important because he’s still in the process of copyrighting the dance, so he could lose that claim, but still win the publicity claim.

Ribeiro’s lawyer David L. Hecht told People the following…

“Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like ‘Fresh.’ Yet Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property. Therefore, Mr. Ribeiro is seeking his fair and reasonable share of profits Epic has earned by use of his iconic intellectual property in Fortnite and as a result is requesting through the courts that Epic cease all use of Mr. Ribeiro’s signature dance.”

We’ll have to see how this all plays out. It’s difficult to copyright a dance move, so it’s unlikely he wins the copyright infringement claim; however, the right of publicity claim might be an easier case to win. Vanna White pulled out the publicity claim to sue Samsung because they featured a robot wearing a blonde wig standing next to a Wheel of Fortune board. She won her case.

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