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Alfonso Ribeiro Drops Lawsuit Against Fortnight Over ‘Carlton Dance’

Ribeiro Subsequently Withdrew Charges Against the Gaming Company Alfonso Ribeiro, who portrayed Carlton in the 1990s hit TV show ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,’ has dropped a lawsuit he...

Ribeiro Subsequently Withdrew Charges Against the Gaming Company

Alfonso Ribeiro, who portrayed Carlton in the 1990s hit TV show ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,’ has dropped a lawsuit he filed over the alleged use of his famous dance. Ribeiro claimed that the game Fortnight had stolen his intellectual property when they created a dance for their playable characters that were based on his famous dance.

Alfonso had created the specific dance moves while on the show, and it has since been dubbed “The Carlton Dance.” The dance involves utilizing exaggerated hand and hip movements for a silly, lively effect.

The actor was denied copyright over the moves in February by the US Copyright Office and subsequently decided to drop the suit against the game developers of Fortnight, Epic Games.

According to the Copyright Office’s Choreography Registration guidelines, the difference between choreography and pantomime can be a hard to define and therefore dances are not often protected by copyright. There were similar lawsuits filed against Epic Games that were also dropped last year.

The game developers succeeded in creating pantomimes of the dances, rather than explicitly stealing the entire dance. Whats more, there is no way to fully copyright dance moves, instead a fully formatted choreograph must be established and subsequently recreated for there to be any wrongdoing, legally speaking.

While Alfonso was not able to actually claim ownership of the dance, it will forever be known as “the Carlton Dance,” in the public’s eye. Weather or not he was owed any compensation has been decided, but we all know who actually came up with the recognizable dance.

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