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Alfonso Ribeiro Withdraws Fortnite Lawsuit

Lawsuit Over Carlton Dance Dropped “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star Alfonso Ribeiro has temporarily dropped his legal action against Fortnite’s creators Epic Games, for copying his character’s dance...

Lawsuit Over Carlton Dance Dropped

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star Alfonso Ribeiro has temporarily dropped his legal action against Fortnite’s creators Epic Games, for copying his character’s dance moves. The actor also withdrew a similar suit against Take-Two Interactive, creators of the basketball game series, NBA 2K.

Ribeiro’s case was weakened when the US Copyright Office refused to register his “Carlton dance” routine. Ribeiro’s lawyer said his client intends to refile the lawsuits.

What is the “Carlton dance”?

The dance was made famous by Ribeiro’s character Carlton Banks in the hit 1990s sitcom, starring Will Smith. Ribeiro famously performed the moves to Tom Jones’s ‘It’s Not Unusual,’ and continues to do it for fans.

Ribeiro had claimed Epic Games and Take-Two Interactive unfairly profited from his “creative expression, likeness and celebrity.” However, the suits received a serious blow when US officials denied Ribeiro copyright of the dance.

Saskia Florence, of the US Copyright Office’s Performing Arts Division, said that the dance could not be registered because it was a “simple dance routine.”

In a letter to Ribeiro’s lawyer, Florence wrote: “The dancer sways their hips as they step from side to side, while swinging their arms in an exaggerated manner. In the second dance step, the dancer takes two steps to each side while opening and closing their legs and their arms in unison. In the final step, the dancer’s feet are still and they lower one hand from above their head to the middle of their chest while fluttering their fingers. The combination of these three dance steps is a simple routine that is not registerable as a choreographic work.”

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