Right now, one the most popular games in the world is Fortnite. No matter where I go, I can't escape it. I don't even play the game, but I constantly get videos of it recommended to me by Youtube. I constantly have to navigate a sea of Fortnite videos when I browse the explore page on Instagram.
I also see kids randomly doing dances that can be purchased within the game, called emotes. Players usually use emotes to taunt other players. They cost real money to buy and as a result, ended up bringing the game's creator, Epic Games, a lot of revenue and controversy.
The controversy began back in July when Chance the Rapper tweeted that the rappers who inspired some of Fortnite's dances should be compensated. The tweet seems to be alluding to cultural appropriation, which does seem to be the case as none of the dances in the game appear to be credited to those creating them. This leads to people thinking that Fortnite is where the dances originated.
Rapper Blocboy JB attacked Fortnite for this on Twitter, mentioning that Epic Games is making money from his popular "shoot" dance they didn't create. He also mentions cultural appropriation by saying, "Dey Love Our Culture But Hate Our Color." Recently, Scrubs actor Donald Faison chimed in on the debate over Fortnite dances by responding to a crowd asking him to do his famous "Poison" dance by saying "If you want to see it, you can play Fortnite, because they jacked that shit."
The controversy does not end there either. Rapper 2 Milly, the creator of the "Milly Rock" dance, has decided to sue Epic Games over stealing his dance. He won't be the only doing so, as Russell Horning, aka the Backpack Kid and creator of "The Floss," will be suing; so will Alfonso Ribeiro, best known for the Carlton dance from "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
I think those who want to sue Epic Games over the unauthorized use of their dances have every right to do so, seeing as if they had never performed the dances, they wouldn't be in the game making money in the first place. The game is free to play, which is pretty explanatory. The game makes money by selling the dances, outfits for characters, and the "Battle Pass." With the revenue split between these three different sources, it's no surprise that the game has made over $1 billion dollars.
It's not known how much of that money comes in from the dances, but it has to be a significant amount. The only obstacle facing those who want to stop Epic Games from making money from their dances is the fact that they will have to prove in a court of law that they are the actual creator of the dance. If you look at this gif of the Fortnite version of "The Carlton" and compare it to the real version, you'll see that is an exact copy, so Alfonso may have an actual case. Backpack Kid has no case whatsoever.
First of all, in June, Horning talked to TMZ saying he was "just glad it's in the game." He also didn't even create the dance in the first place. This video was uploaded in 2014 and if you watch it, you'll see that's Justin Stuart in the video, not "Backpack Kid." Backpack Kid's version of the dance wasn't even done until last year when it started to become popular.
Sure, you can argue the same thing for "The Carlton," since Courtney Cox did it first, but the version that is used in Fortnite is an exact replica of the one Alfonso did. Horning is trying to piggyback off actual lawsuits in order to get some easy money. However, that money may not come easily, since this is not the first time Epic Games has been sued over stealing something from someone else.
Hopefully, those with an actual case against Epic Games can get the credit and money they deserve. Companies should not be allowed to just take and steal things as they please just because they are huge and have a lot of money.