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Epic Games hit with another lawsuit over Fortnite dance moves


A YouTuber and choreographer has become the latest content creator to file a lawsuit against Epic Games over the usage of a dance technique in Fortnite. Unlike the previous instance, Kyle Hanagami claims to have trademarked the dance in issue, which he claims was plagiarized by the “It’s Complicated” emote, which was debuted in August of this year.

Hanagami created a dance to the song “How Long” by Charlie Puth in 2017, and shared it on YouTube, where it has received more than 35.7 million views. Hanagami’s case, which was filed on Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, claims that Epic took the “hook” of his dance and used it at the beginning of the “It’s Complicated” emote without his permission.

The lawsuit against Epic Games over the use of dances in Fortnite is not the first of its kind, but it is the first to be filed against the company after a four-year period of relative silence. Following a flurry of lawsuits filed in 2018, a Supreme Court judgement forced the legal firm Pierce Brainridge to withdraw from numerous instances in which it was representing the plaintiffs. However, there is a significant distinction between those cases and Hanagami’s allegation in that Hanagami genuinely owns the copyright to the dance at issue.

To demonstrate their position, Hanagami’s attorneys developed a side-by-side film comparing the dancing motions they claim Fornite has plagiarized with their own. Not only do the gestures appear to be identical, but the dance, according to Fortnite’s unofficial wiki on, is based in part on Hanagami’s choreography as well. As a result of this, the dancing moves used in the emote are not the same as or invented by Hanagami. Furthermore, the emote does not feature the song for which Hanagami choreographed the dance in the first place.

Securing the right to use dance moves as intellectual property is simply one aspect of the legal dispute. Dance copyrights are notoriously difficult to navigate, allowing for a broad range of artistic expression to be permitted while remaining legal. In addition, legal and aesthetic considerations like as “creative use” and “added to the choreography” play a significant role. As a general rule, a dance piece that violates a copyright must be determined to replicate a significant portion of the original work rather than simply a few steps or a single area of the original work.

Hanagami’s action seeks a court order prohibiting Fortnite from utilizing the “It’s Complicated” dance motion, as well as specific statutory and compensatory damages, as well as attorney’s fees and costs.