A US rapper has taken legal action against the creators of popular video game Fortnite, claiming it uses a dance move he created without his permission.
Rapper 2 Milly – aka Terrence Ferguson – says the Milly Rock dance he created in 2011 is recreated in Fortnite as an “emote” called Swipe It.
“Emotes” are upgrades players can buy to personalise their online avatars.
In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday 2 Milly accuses Fortnite developer Epic Games of “unauthorised misappropriation”.
He claims the company has “unfairly profited from exploiting [his] creative expression” and has “consistently sought to exploit African-American talent… by copying their dances and movements.”
The suit follows numerous claims that Fortnite has replicated dance moves previously associated with stars like Snoop Dogg, Michael Jackson and others.
Earlier this year, Chance the Rapper called on the makers of the game to recompense “black creatives” by using “the actual rap songs behind the dances”.
Epic Games declined to comment on 2 Milly’s legal action, which seeks unspecified damages and a restraining order.
US copyright law covers “choreographic works… fixed in some tangible medium of expression” but does not currently extend to individual dance steps.
“Individual movements or dance steps by themselves are not copyrightable… even if a routine is novel or distinctive,” states the US Copyright Office in its official guidance material.