Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, has another lawsuit coming its way as rapper BlocBoy JB sues the company over the use of its “shoot” dance emote.
The rapper’s dance became popular throughout 2018, and he is now joining a list of artists who want compensation for the use of their dances in Fortnite.
BlocBoy JB is the fourth entertainer to sue the company over its use of dance moves in its emotes. 2 Milly, who popularized the Milly Rock; Russell Horning, the teen whose “floss” went viral; actor Alfonso Ribeiro and Lenwood ‘Skip’ Hamilton have all sued Epics games for using their likeness in its video games.
Although more entertainers are beginning to seek legal action, the lawsuits are entering tricky territory. There are copyright laws that protect choreography, but no specific laws that protect specific dance steps. Fornite’s procedures in coding the dance moves will also be a major factor in the lawsuit.
Fortnite has hundreds of millions of users and brings in a massive amount of money. Epic Games had nearly $3 billion in profit in 2018 thanks to Fortnite. The gaming industry itself raked in a record $43.4 billion in revenue in 2018, up 18 percent from 2017.
Epic Games’ legal battles are changing how artists and dancers monetize off of the gaming industry and how developers find inspiration.