Win Before You Dance: Lawsuits Against Fortnite Dismissed

One of the most prominent and spectacular innovations of the latest Fortnite seasons was its special dances. The greatest scandal of the year Fortnite was involved into was about dances it offered to its users. The original dancers, including Terrence “2 Milly” Ferguson, Alfonso Ribeiro, Russell “Backpack Kid” Horning, and, of course, Orange Shirt Kid, disagreed with the way Epic Games used their moves, so they initiated lawsuits. But now they have come to a halt, if not to complete end.

At least, Pierce Brainridge, the law company that represented the dancers, announced that at least five of the lawsuits versus Epic Games have been dismissed. The reason for such a retreat was provided by the Supreme Court that created a precedent with its decision in Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com. This decision overviews the whole procedure of copyright violation process.

Before the precedent, it was enough for copyright owners to apply for registration of the subject, and they could already sue supposed copyright violators. Not anymore. According to the aforementioned decision, before filing a lawsuit, the copyright owner should get their copyrights confirmed by the Copyright Office. It’s a matter of months, or even years, knowing how slow this office works.

That procedure change is the only reason why lawsuits are dismissed. Pierce Brainridge never says it gives up. But here is yet another obstacle. The US law only allows for copyrighting whole choreographic routines, not separate moves (as well as one can copyright a name or a slogan, but none of the letters it contains). But these two extremes are divided with a blurry line, so each case would require a special investigation on whether these moves can be copyrighted at all.

And while the Office is producing its decision, Fortnite fans keep dancing.

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