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Even If The Fortnite Lawsuits Fail, This Issue Isn’t Going Away

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The legal battle over Fortnite’s popular emotes continues. In a court filing last Friday, attorneys for Epic Games argued that lawsuits claiming the studio had infringed upon intellectual property by cloning dance moves were meritless. Emotes, if you recall, are movements that players can make their in-game avatars perform at will. Responding to a suit from rapper 2 Milly, whose “Milly Rock” move was cloned into Fortnite as an emote called “Swipe It,” lawyers wrote, “No one can own a dance step. Copyright law is clear that individual dance steps and simple dance routines are not protected by copyright, but rather are building blocks of free expression, which are in the public domain for choreographers, dancers, and the general public to use, perform, and enjoy.”

The filing continues on to describe, in painstaking detail, the ways that the Milly Rock and Swipe It are different.

The Dance Step [Milly Rock] consists of a side step to the right while swinging the left arm horizontally across the chest to the right, and then reversing the same movement on the other side—namely, a side step to the left while swinging the right arm horizontally across the chest to the left. … By contrast, Swipe It consists of (1) varying arm movements, sometimes using a straight, horizontal arc across the chest, and other times starting below the hips and then traveling in a........

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