The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s Alfonso Ribeiro Sues Epic Games for Using the Carlton Dance in Fortnite
Actor Alfonso Ribeiro, known for the iconic Carlton dance on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, is seeking damages against Epic Games and Fortnite in a lawsuit.
As the most popular game in the world right now, all eyes are on Fortnite not only for the continued updates and new content that have been coming to the game, but for the ongoing legal battles that have ensued over the game’s use of popular dance moves, with one of the biggest finally coming to light.
In a report from TMZ, actor, comedian, and dancer Alfonso Ribeiro, who is most well-known for playing the role of Carlton Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, is moving forward with a lawsuit against Epic Games for the inclusion of the show’s signature dance, “The Carlton,” being used in Fortnite without either Ribeiro’s permission or compensation.
The Fortnite emote, called “Fresh,” is notably a near exact replica of the Carlton dance from the TV series (and that Ribeiro was known for), though as seen in prior lawsuits involving Epic and Fortnite, the legality of being able to copyright a dance move has shown some less-defined boundaries of copyright law.
According to Ribeiro’s lawyer, David Hecht, “it is widely recognized that Mr. Ribeiro’s likeness and intellectual property have been misappropriated by Epic Games in the most popular video game currently in the world, Fortnite.” Hecht added that “Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like “Fresh,” and stated that Epic has “failed to compensate or even ask permission” for using the dance in their game.
Other reports have indicated that Fortnite is not the only game that Ribeiro is seeking to claim damages from as he is currently trying to copyright the Carlton dance, as it has also appeared in other games such as the NBA 2K series.
As is the case with other lawsuits of a similar fashion with Fortnite utilizing dance moves from artists without compensation, it remains unseen as to whether Epic Games will change their stance on properly crediting or compensating artists for using this material in their game, despite some of the grey area that surrounds being able to copyright dance moves or other physical motions.