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Published: July 3, 2023

Written by: Stoyan Todorov

  • Epic Games is under fire for allegedly copying a few seconds of a Hanagami choreography video
  • The game developer added the moves into Fortnite as an emote called “It’s Complicated”
  • Epic Games has gotten away with it in previous trials but may now be reprimanded as Hanagami’s dance is copyrighted

Epic Games will appear before the court after Hanagami accused the company of putting his dance moves into Fortnite without permission.

Fortnite’s Latest Emote Got Epic Into Trouble

Epic Games has once again gotten itself into trouble because of Fortnite. The company, known for its love for dance-inspired emotes, has been put on trial for using copyrighted choreography.

The situation pretty much mirrors what happened in 2018 when various choreographers tried to sue Epic Games for putting their dance moves in Fortnite. The court eventually ruled in favor of Epic, noting that none of the dances were copyrighted. This is not the case with the current trial, however, as Fortnite implemented an emoted inspired by Kyle Hanagami’s copyrighted dance moves.

The emote in question is called “It’s Complicated” and is allegedly inspired by a dance that Hanagami published on YouTube in 2017. Fortnite is accused of taking a three-second part of the original video and extending it into the aforementioned emote. To prove the point, Hanagami’s attorneys compared the section from the original video with It’s Complicated.

Epic Might Avoid a Fine If It Is Lucky

It is worth noting that the Copyright Act of 1976 tends to be rather vague with its definition of copyright infringement when it comes to dancing choreography. According to the law, choreography refers to the whole set of moves and not just individual parts of the whole thing, which will present difficulties for Hanagami.

Furthermore, Epic Games has already avoided several such lawsuits and has experience with the matter. The ace in Hanagami’s sleeve is the copyright protection on his work – something the plaintiffs in previous cases did not have. The choreographer also accused Epic Games of being anti-competitive and using illegal tactics to boost its business.

It will be curious to see how the trial develops and whether Hanagami will have more luck than those who previously tried to sue the company. Epic Games has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit.

This is not Epic Games’ only involvement with lawsuits in recent times. A year ago, the company clashed with Apple, which it accused of favoritism and anti-competitive marketing practices. While Epic did not win the trial, it managed to deal a significant blow to Apple as the court admitted that Apple does tend to be unfair in certain aspects. The judge then forced the tech giant to allow app creators to include links to third-party payment options in their apps.

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