On December 17, 2018, Alfonso Ribeiro, widely known as Carlton Banks from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” filed a lawsuit in California federal court claiming video game makers, Epic Games and Take-Two Interactive, stole his choreography without permission, noting similarities between the famous “Carlton Dance” he created and moves performed by characters in two well-known video games, “Fortnite” and “NBA 2K16.” In a separate case against the same game makers, the same legal team representing Ribeiro filed a lawsuit on behalf of Terrence Ferguson (p/k/a 2 Milly) alleging similar claims.
Ribeiro asserts that the video game makers should have sought permission to use “The Carlton Dance,” arguing his right to control who uses the moves is protected by copyright. “The dance has become synonymous with Ribeiro…The dance is a part of Ribeiro's identity and the dance's unique movements readily evoke a connection to Ribeiro,” the actor said in his court filing.
The legal team representing Ribeiro, made up of attorneys from Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, have also filed a similar suit against Epic Games on behalf of Terrence Ferguson, better known by his rapper alias, 2 Milly.
In that lawsuit filed on December 5, 2018, 2 Milly alleged the Fortnite game-maker had wrongly copied his “Milly Rock” routine and sold users the ability to make game characters mimic the dance. On December 17, 2018, 2 Milly amended his complaint in that case, and filed a new suit in California federal court making similar allegations against NBA 2K16 maker Take-Two Interactive as well.
Ribeiro and Ferguson are represented by John M. Pierce, Carolynn Beck, Daniel Dubin, David L. Hecht, Maxim Price and Yi Wen Wu of Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP.
Horning is represented by Carolynn Beck, Daniel Dubin, David L. Hecht, Maxim Price and Yi Wen Wu of Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP.
Counsel information for Epic Games and Take-Two was not immediately available.
The cases are Alfonso Ribeiro v. Epic Games Inc. et al., case number 2:18-cv-10412, Alfonso Ribeiro v. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. et al., case number 2:18-cv-10417, Terrence Ferguson v. Epic Games Inc. et al., case number 2:18-cv-10110, Terrence Ferguson v. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. et al., case number 2:18-cv-10425, Anita Redd v. Epic Games Inc. et al., case number 2:18-cv-10444, and Anita Redd v. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. et al., case number 2:18-cv-10441, all in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
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