Lawsuits and big name properties seem to go hand-in-hand these days. It’s almost impossible to have a huge brand without someone attempting to sue over something. In the case of Epic Games, the lawsuits just keep piling up — this time from a rapper who may sue the company for a reason that you probably didn’t think was possible.
CBS News is reporting that rapper 2 Milly is claiming that Epic Games has stolen one of his dance moves and used it in Fortnite. According to the article, the rapper created a move called the “Milly Rock,” and it has supposedly become popular enough that the dance has been recognized by other entertainers and sports stars, and it even managed to make its way into the game Fortnite.
The issue is that the move has supposedly been changed from the “Milly Rock” and turned into the emote called “Swipe It.”
Now, unlike other lawsuits aimed at games like Fortnite or Grand Theft Auto V, where people sue for infringing on likenesses — or, in PUBG Corporation’s case, infringing on ideas — 2 Milly could have a slightly more reasonable case on his hands. His main issue isn’t that the move is featured in the game, nor that the name has changed. 2 Milly’s objection comes from the fact that the “Swipe It” emote, allegedly based on the “Milly Rock,” is being sold in the cash shop for $5.
2 Milly explained that it wasn’t necessarily about the money, but more the fact that it was his move that’s being sold for money in a game that’s making Epic Games billions of dollars. So that’s why he might pursue legal action…
They actually sell that particular move. It’s for purchase. That’s when I really was like … oh nah, this can’t go on too long. […] I don’t even want to bash them for all the millions. Know what I am saying? It’s not really like that. I just feel like I have to protect what’s mine.
The CBS report points out that while copyright law is designed to protect a lot of material made by artists when it comes to actual paintings, drawings, music, beats, and lyrics, there isn’t a lot of precedent set for actual dance moves.
Then again, copyright law has yet to actually catch up to the rapid evolution of electronic and interactive entertainment. Entertainment lawyer Merlyne Jean-Louis mentioned to CBS that, since choreographic work case law doesn’t really exist, it may be difficult for 2 Milly to sue Epic Games.
However, Epic already seems aware of the brouhaha brewing across social media and media entertainment regarding 2 Milly and the “Milly Rock” being featured in Fortnite. Previously, the company was able to wave off other lawsuits against it — such as when it was sued for a likeness in Gears of War, and for compatibility issues that Silicon Knights suffered with the development of Too Human on the Unreal Engine. However, this time around Epic did not comment on the issue and actually opted to remove the “Swipe It” from the cash shop for the time being.
If you already have the “Swipe It” emote for your character, you can continue to use it, but new players won’t be able to purchase it for the time being.