Copyright law considers ownership of dance moves

Protecting one's artistic creations is an important part of working in the arts, whether music, literature or visual arts. Copyright law is ever-evolving, and often one ruling on an intellectual property matter can affect many different areas of culture. This may be the situation for legal action initiated by rapper 2 Milly against Epic Games, creator of the wildly popular video game "Fortnite."

New York gamers who are fans of Fortnite know that the game is free to play, but users may purchase emotes, including dance moves, for their characters as they progress through the levels. Part of Fortnite's appeal is the use of current cultural references and popular dances, including a move 2 Milly claims is his signature and requires that users pay to add to their characters. The rapper has filed a lawsuit seeking compensation for the use of his dance, which he claims he did not authorize Epic Games to use.

Analysts say the lawsuit may have a far-reaching impact. There is little legal precedent involving the intellectual property rights related to choreography. If 2 Milly wins his case, it may affect future cases involving dance moves performers claim to have created. It will certainly also affect the liberal way in which Epic Games and other video game creators include pop culture in their products.

The rapper 2 Milly claims his lawsuit is not about the money but about his right to protect what belongs to him. Copyright law says that all creative artists in New York and elsewhere have the right to decide how their works will be used and to be paid fairly when others want to use their creations. When those rights are violated, they can explore options for legal recourse by consulting an experienced copyright attorney.

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