February 18, 2020 Articles

You Stole My Dance Moves: Copyright Lawsuits over Choreography against Creators of Fortnite

Recent cases highlight both the current vulnerability of works that feature recognizable dance moves and the difficult threshold for those seeking to protect those dances as choreographic works under the Copyright Act.

By Ross Bagley

Did Michael Jackson own a copyright in the Moonwalk? Who first fixed the Worm in a tangible form, and when? Is the internet littered with infringing wedding videos of the Macarena and the Electric Slide? These questions and myriad others are prompted by a series of novel lawsuits filed in late 2018 concerning the game Fortnite Battle Royale, which the complaints describe without exaggeration as “The Most Popular Video Game Ever.” These cases highlight both the current vulnerability of works that feature recognizable dance moves and the difficult threshold for those seeking to protect those dances as choreographic works under the Copyright Act. 

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