A choreographer's lawsuit over the Fortnite 'It's Complicated' dance has been thrown out by a US judge because the dance moves aren't sufficiently similar
Fortnite developer Epic has spent a lot of time in court defending itself from accusations of copyright infringement over dance moves available to buy in the battle royale game. A US judge has dismissed the latest suit, this one from a professional choreographer who said that the Fortnite ‘It’s Complicated’ emote was a rip-off of the dance routine he created for a Charlie Puth song.
Choreographer Kyle Hanagami, who NBC News reports has worked with artists like Britney Spears and BlackPink, filed a lawsuit in April alleging that the ‘It’s Complicated’ emote in Fortnite copied moves he created for a dance routine for Charlie Puth’s ‘How Long.’ The video debuted in 2017, and the emote appeared in Fortnite in 2020.
Hanagami’s attorney posted a video that showed the registered choreography side-by-side with the Fortnite emote, and they do indeed appear to be very similar. However, US district judge Stephen Wilson didn’t see it that way, and dismissed the suit August 24, saying that the two works do not share enough creative elements for Fortnite’s emote to constitute infringement.
Fortnite’s use of popular-looking dance moves as paid emotes has been the target of quite a few lawsuits over the past few years: hip-hop artists Chance the Rapper and 2 Milly, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor Alfonso Ribeiro, and the ‘Orange Shirt Kid‘ have all attempted to sue Epic over the use of what they’ve said are dance moves they created and popularised.
Many of these suits were dropped voluntarily in 2019, following a decision by the US Supreme Court that held that a work must be filed with the US Copyright Office before someone can be sued for copying it.