This isn't the first time and probably won't be the last time.
Click image for larger version

Name:	Fortnite Infringement of Kyle Hanagami Choreography 0-15 screenshot.jpg
Views:	705
Size:	165.2 KB
ID:	3516734

Once again, Epic Games is being sued over a dance emote used in their popular battle royale game, Fortnite. YouTuber and choreographer Kyle Hanagami filed a lawsuit against Epic Games that says they copied one of his dance moves without authorization.

Hanagami says that the "It's Complicated" dance emote in Fortnite copied one of his own choreographed moves. A move, he says, that he owns the copyright to.

The "It's Complicated" emote was added to Fortnite in August 2020. Hanagami's choreographed move dates all the way back to 2017. Hanagami's dance was used in the 2017 Charlie Puth video for the song How Long.

Hanagami's suit says that he was not offered any sort of license deal to use his move, nor was he even given credit in any form.

"Epic typically approaches young and/or less sophisticated artists, like those who are catapulted to fame on social media platforms like TikTok, about licensing choreography for pennies on the dollar. Hanagami, a sophisticated businessman and established choreographer who is aware of the value of his choreography generally and the Registered Choreography specifically, was never approached by Epic about a license."
Epic is no stranger to lawsuits regarding unauthorized use of turning real dance moves into Fortnite dance emotes. The company was previously sued by 2 Milly, Alfonso Ribeiro, and the mom of Orange Shirt Kid after Epic Games turned their popular dance moves into purchasable emotes in their game.

However, unlike those previous lawsuits, this one has a bit more bite to it. Hanagami's copyright on the choreography is registered, which makes it enforceable.

Hanagami is being represented by attorney David Hecht. Hecht also represented 2 Milly in 2018 when he sued Epic over the use of the "Swipe It" emote. Hecht created a video showing off the similarities between Hanagami's How Long choreography and the "It's Complicated" emote.


Despite how the emote and select parts of the dance look identical, this isn't exactly and open and shut case. So far, there has been very little precedent set concerning legal disputes over copyrighted dances. The outcome here is still very much up in the air.

Hanagami is seeking damages, covering of legal costs, and an injunction against the use of his work in Fortnite.