Choreographer to Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, and Netflix movie Over the Moon. Kyle Hanagami sued Epic Games for copyright infringement over the “It’s Complicated” dance emote in Fortnite. Hanagami’s lawyers claim Fortnite presents a dancing figure that uses the same movements created and copyrighted by Hanagami. “Epic argued that the dance moves fell under free speech and that individual moves could not be copyrighted.” The lawyers are asking Epic to remove “It’s Complicated and pay Hanagami the profits incurred through copyright infringement.”

The lawsuit states that Epic “did not credit Hanagami nor seek his consent to use, display, reproduce, sell, or create a derivative work based on the Registered Choreography.”

“In 2017, Hanagami posted a video of a dance he’d choreographed set to Charlie Puth’s “How Long.” In August 2020, Fortnite introduced the “It’s Complicated” emote. Now, Hanagami’s lawyer, David Hecht, has posted a video on YouTube comparing Hanagami’s dance’s first movements with the emote’s first movements.” 

“The Supreme Court previously agreed with Epic’s argument, ruling that plaintiffs must register with the Copyright Office before they can sue for copyright infringement. Notably, in the case of the “So Long” dance choreography, Hanagami does hold the official copyright.”

Hanagami’s lawyer David Hecht told Kotaku: “[Hanagami] felt compelled to file suit to stand up for the many choreographers whose work is similarly misappropriated. Copyright law protects choreography just as it does for other forms of artistic expression. Epic should respect that fact and pay to license the artistic creations of others before selling them.”

 

– Excerpt from an article for Kotaku by Sisi Jiang. Read the full article here.

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