Remember back in December when a number of people were suing Epic for the unauthorized use of their dances in Fortnite? Well, now there’s another one, according to lawsuit filings that were first spotted by Variety.
Orange Shirt Kid (that’s honestly what he’s known as) is joining the rapper 2 Milly, actor Alfonso Ribiero, and Backpack Kid in filing lawsuits against Epic for using his dance move in their battle royale extravaganza, but this one is a bit stranger. You see, unlike the others, Orange Shirt Kid actually gave consent for his dance to be included in the game. No, honestly.
At the end of March last year Epic Games announced the BoogieDown contest which allowed players to submit a short video of their own created dance, with the winners dance being added to the game as an emote. In the rules for the contest, Epic made it clear that players would not be paid for the use of selected dance moves, and they also reserved the right to use the selected dance for publicity for the game. Well, Orange Shirt Kid actually submitted his dance (which he called the Random) into this contest through Twitter but didn’t win, but players actually petitioned for the dances inclusion in the game and eventually got their way, with the dance being added to Fortnite as an emote under the name Orange Justice.
Orange Shirt Kid was delighted that his dance was being added to the game and actually took to Twitter to celebrate the fact, but this tweet and the original tweet submitting the dance have been deleted – how convenient. Strangely, the lawsuit—which has actually been filed by Orange Shirt Kid’s mother, Rachel McCumbers—doesn’t mention either the BoogieDown contest or the now-deleted tweets. What are the chances of that?
What the lawsuit does claim, however, is that Epic has “unfairly profited from exploiting Orange Shirt Kid’s protected creative expression, likeness, and trademark without consent or authorization.” Well, that’s not exactly true for two reasons; first of all, he gave consent by entering the competition (the conditions of which state that players won’t be paid for the use of any entries), and secondly, Epic didn’t profit from the dance, the emote was given away as a reward in the free Battle Pass.
Interestingly, and somewhat unsurprisingly, the lawsuit—which is seeking unspecified damages—is being handled by Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, the same firm that are dealing with the other three lawsuits. The other three lawsuits do have a point, as none of the plaintiff’s gave permission for their dance to be used and Epic did profit from them, but this lawsuit seems to me like opportunism of the highest order. It seems to be nothing more than an unjustified attempt to get some cash out of Epic Games and, frankly, it shouldn’t be anything for Epic to worry about.