Appeals Court Reinstates Copyright Lawsuit Against 'Fortnite' for Dance Move Use
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has reinstated a copyright lawsuit brought by choreographer Kyle Hanagami against Epic Games, the creator of the popular video game Fortnite. Hanagami, who has choreographed for notable artists such as BTS, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, and Britney Spears, alleges that Epic Games unlawfully used his dance moves in the game as "emotes" without permission.
Previously, a lower court had dismissed Hanagami's lawsuit, ruling that the dance moves were merely a series of unprotectable "poses." However, the appeals court disagreed, This landmark decision does not imply Hanagami has won but allows him to continue his litigation in the lower court, potentially leading to a trial. Epic Games has not commented on the ruling, while Hanagami's attorney David Hecht has expressed that the decision is a significant victory for the rights of choreographers and creatives, especially in the digital media era. This lawsuit is one of several recent legal actions concerning the use of dance moves in video games, indicating a growing legal scrutiny in this creative field.
Implications of the Ruling
This decision underscores a significant shift in how choreographic works are perceived in the digital age, recognizing the complexity and originality that choreographers bring to their compositions. It paves the way for deeper consideration of the artistic merit and copyright eligibility of choreographic works, especially in the rapidly evolving realm of digital media.
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