Epic Sued For Stealing Fortnite Dances... Again

Epic Games has been sued again. This time for stolen choreography for a Fortnite emote. Here are the details.
Fortnite dance Epic Lawsuit
The pictures speak for themselves... | © Kyle Hanagami / Epic Games / David Hecht

It's no secret that Epic Games makes most of its profits from Fortnite. Although the game is free to download, Epic has made billions selling skins, gliders, emotes and more. With all the money pouring into the game, you'd think Epic could afford to pay choreographers to create the game's infamous dances and emotes. But it seems that is not the case. Because now a choreographer has sued Epic for stealing a dance move he made and using it as an emote. And the evidence is clear.

Epic Games Sued For Stealing Dance Move

It's not the first time Epic has run into trouble over its popular emotes. Perhaps best known is the case of influencer Russell Horning, known as the Backpack Kid, who sued the company for stealing his move for the game's most famous emote, "Flossing Dance." While it was clear that Russell had used the dance before it appeared in the game, he never copyrighted the moves and therefore had no legal claim.

The current case is about the "It's complicated" emote, which has been in Fortnite since August 2020. The move's creator and choreographer, Kyle Hanagami, copyrighted the dance, which he uploaded to YouTube about four years ago. And indeed, the moves are identical, as you can see in the comparison video here:

Because of this, Kyle Hanagami was forced to sue Epic Games. In his lawsuit, Hanagami demands that the developer stop using and selling this dance. Despite the copyright, it won't be easy for Hanagami to prove it. The emote begins with a two- to three-second section that appears to be from Hanagami, but then continues and adds more steps. However, should Hanagami win the case, he would be the first to do so, which could perhaps deter Epic from choreography theft in the future.

We'll see if Hanagami can win the case...