“Fortress Night” dance moves are accused again, the court directly dismisses the appeal
The lawsuit was filed by YouTuber and choreographer Kyle Hanagami, alleging that an emote in the game replicated his own copyrighted dance moves.
The ruling by a judge for the Central District of California said that while an entire choreography can be copyrighted, individual movements and steps cannot. As a result, the court said, Hanagami’s routines and Fortnite emotes did not have enough creative similarity to warrant a lawsuit.
“The legislative history of copyright law clearly states that ‘dance works do not include social dance steps and simple routines’,” the ruling said.
“Regardless of how the court assessed the plaintiff’s dance moves—two seconds, four beats of music, or eight body positions, repeated ten times throughout the registration choreography—the defendant’s argument was stronger. From the plaintiff’s entire work on the In context, there is no ability to argue that the plaintiff’s dance moves are protected under the following circumstances; in fact, academic authority suggests otherwise.”
Epic has also been sued several times before for unauthorized emote dancing in Fortnite. But in 2019, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling meant that all plaintiffs who accuse Epic of using their work without permission must first ensure that the work is copyrighted.
The lawsuit was filed in March, when Hanagami’s choreography was already copyrighted. He then demanded compensation from Epic for his damages and had the emote removed from Fortnite.