Epic Games have found themselves in another legal row over Fortnite emotes – this time, centering around the ‘Pump it Up’ Emote which seemingly stems from a classic viral video.
The Pump it Up emote – which prompts the player to summon a Pumpkin hat and then bust out some moves – became available with the recent Fortnitemares event, which celebrated Halloween in Fortnite Chapter 2.
However, the dance bares a striking likeness to the 2006 ‘Dancing Pumpkin Man’ viral video from Matt Geiler, which has become a meme in recent years. Despite striking a license agreement with Epic over the emote, The Verge reports that Geiler has gone so far as to issue a cease-and-desist letter against the Fortnite developers – asking them to stop selling the emote.
According to the Verge, Geiler says that the dance and pumpkin head constitute a “recognizable character” and that it was “infringing on his personal likeness.”
However, despite being issued with the cease-and-desist, Epic hit back with a counter-complaint of their own. In a court listing from New York state, it was revealed that the Fortnite developers filed a complaint against Geiler, claiming that they didn’t infringe on his existing trademark or copyright.
From Epic’s side, they further claim that Geiler had no right to the now-viral character because he created the costume from “preexisting, third-party Halloween Jack-O-Lantern decorations from his company’s holiday lobby display.”
They also seemingly did their research on similar, pre-existing looks, as Epic also states that Pumpkin heads are commonplace with Halloween themed characters – referring to Marvel’s Spider-Man comic book villain Jack O’Lantern.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Epic have found themselves on the defensive regarding lawsuits and in-game emotes – with the biggest surrounding the Floss and the ‘Carlton’ dance.
The outcome of this case with the Pump It Up emote remains to be seen, but you’ll be able to find any further updates with Fortnite Intel.