The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton on the show, is the latest person to sue Epic Games over the use of emotes. 

He joins rapper 2 Milly in lawsuits concerning the legality of Epic using emotes based on their dances in Fortnite.

2 Milly is the creator of the “Milly Rock” which he alleges the “Swipe It” emote is based off. The resemblance is so close that many players just call the emote the Milly Rock.

Ribeiro’s claim relates to the use of the “Carlton Dance.” A classic dance move used by the often awkward character on the show, The Carlton is a distinct move.

In the game, the emote is called “Fresh” a fairly clear nod to the emote’s origins on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Here’s where these claims run into issues. It is hard to copyright a dance move because there are only so many ways a human body can move, so taking full credit for the creation of a dance is tough to prove.

In addition, the Carlton dance may not have started with Ribeiro.

In a 2015 interview with Her, Ribeiro says the dance was inspired by a combination of Bruce Springsteen, Courtney Cox and Eddie Murphy.

Here’s the original Carlton dance from the Fresh Prince:

Now here’s Springsteen and Cox at the end of the “Dancing in the Dark” music video to compare:

And finally, here is a gif of Eddie Murphy doing his “White Man Dance” from a stand-up routine:

Because no dance is ever 100% unique and original, claiming a copyright on a dance is difficult. While full choreography can be copyrighted, that doesn’t include “social dance steps and simple routines,” according to a Wired article about 2 Milly’s suit.

So as the courts deliberate over these pending lawsuits, Epic will have a team of lawyers trying to knock down the claims. If they are unsuccessful, many other dance originators could have cases to make against Epic Games.

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Mitch is a writer who used to be a sports broadcaster. When not playing or writing about Fortnite he also plays too much Rocket League and Hearthstone. You can see more of Mitch's work by following his Twitter @Mitch_Reames. Feel free to pitch stories you want to see him cover by tweeting at him or sending him a DM.

48 COMMENTS

  1. Why does someone think that they can sue a billion dollar company over a dance move? It extremely stupid and childish of the people sueing epic.

  2. It’s exactly like Mitch said. There are only so many ways you can move your body. What’s the point in copyrighting the way your body moves?

  3. Is Courtney Cox going to sue Carlton now? Since SHE actually invented the dance? Yeah. Springsteen video. Sorry C-Note this ain’t yo dance

  4. Didn’t expect another celeb stepping in and doing the same as 2 Milly. It had me wonder about the dances moves WoW used from others and not having to deal with such nonsense…

  5. Billion dollar company don’t matter, instead of making there *own dance moves* they stole dance moves from else where, they deserved to be sued, stealing is stealing… Nomatter the form, you can try to argue with me and side with epic, but there in the wrong… They should of properly asked for permission, simple

  6. In the year 2000 there was a movie about Japanese students who are forced to kill eachother and only 1 can live. The name of the movie was battle Royale. So really it would be what everything was copied from. The movie was also originally a book from 1997.

    • Two different medium and they didn’t invent the game genre but the story. Great Film btw I love Beat Takeshi.

      For those that invented the genre, you should look at Minecraft Modders.

    • The movie called battle royale, Which was the inspiration for The Hunger Games, which was the inspiration for Minecraft hunger games, which was the inspiration for H1Z1 and PUBG, Which both were the inspiration for Fortnite, which was the inspiration for Call Of Duty Black Ops 4, Realm Royale, Ring of Elysium, Pixel Gun 3D Battle Royale, CS:GO Battle Royale, Rules of Survival, Islands of Nyne, Knives Out, the Darwin Project, which all were parodied in Totally Accurate Battle Brounds, and at this point I want to punch a wall at the lack of other games that make headlines.

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