Copyright law is intended to protect artists of varying mediums and their work. The thought is that other people shouldn’t be able to steal and profit from an original work that someone else has already created. The internet and meme culture are changing the game on this idea. Some celebrities in New York and around the country are concerned that others are profiting off of their intellectual property, specifically original dance moves that they have popularized. Unfortunately, these cases may be difficult to prove.
Several celebrities and other public figures are suing Epic Games, the company that makes the popular game known as “Fortnight.” The game allegedly animates characters with certain dance moves that were arguably made popular by these entertainers. The entertainers argue that the dance moves are part of their intellectual property and should be subject to traditional copyright laws.
Some entertainers have gone so far as to try and obtain a copyright for the specific dance moves, but have been unsuccessful thus far. There is no precedent for these kinds of cases that would protect the entertainers. Other entertainers have tried to argue that the game is using their likeness without permission, but it looks like those claims will be difficult to back up in court.
No matter the outcome of these cases, it cannot be overstated how important it is for artists of all types to be sure that their work is copyrighted. Having one’s intellectual property stolen can feel like a serious personal violation, not to mention rob an artist of profit to which he or she is entitled. It is imperative that New York artists work with an experienced copyright law attorney to be sure that their work is properly protected.