Fortnite and the Exploitation of Creative Capital

Over the last several weeks, a number of creatives—including 2 Milly, Alfonso Ribeiro, and Backpack Kid—have filed lawsuits alleging misappropriation of their signature dance moves by Epic Games, the company behind the video game Fortnite. It’s worth highlighting that these lawsuits aren’t about artists going after fans incorporating these dances socially at parties or in nightclubs (which would almost certainly qualify as fair use under copyright law anyway). Instead, the complaints allege that Epic Games is profiting directly from the use and popularity of these dances by allowing players to customize their avatar and gaming experience by accessing the moves (called emotes in the game) through in-game purchases.

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