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“It is widely recognized that Mr. Ribeiro’s likeness and intellectual property have been misappropriated by Epic Games in the most popular video game currently in the world, Fortnite,” Ribeiro’s attorney, David Hecht told TMZ.
The move in the game, called the “fresh emote,” has been available since January 2018. TMZ reports that in the documents, Ribeiro claims it is a carbon copy of the move he came up with for his character from the sitcom. The actor also says he is in the process of copywriting the dance move.
This isn’t the first time the game has been accused of appropriating dance moves of popular artists and actors. Earlier this year, Chance the Rapper publicly called out Fortnite developer Epic Games for failing to share royalties with the artists who created the dances.
“Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes,” he wrote on Twitter. “Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them.”
Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes. Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) July 13, 2018
Last month, rapper 2 Milly filed a similar lawsuit against Epic Games, accusing the developer of stealing his “Milly Rock” dance move featured in the music video “Milly Rock x 2 Milly.”
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Gabrielle Sorto is an Atlanta-based freelance writer covering culture, lifestyle, and news. Her work has appeared in CNN, Teen Vogue, INSIDER, and Vice. She can usually be found writing with an overpriced coffee in hand or hanging out with her dog, Rihanna, who is named after exactly who you think.