Carlton can’t copyright his Carlton Dance


Epic and 2K might be breathing a little easier today...

The US Copyright Office has refused actor Alfonso Ribeiro’s Carlton Dance copyright application, a move that will likely impact three lawsuits he’s filed against Fortnite and NBA 2K19.

The information comes from Take-Two (via The Hollywood Reporter), which provided documents that have detailed the Copyright Office has deemed Ribeiro’s dance too simplified to be protected by copyright. In fact, the Copyright Office has called Ribeiro’s submission “a simple routine made up of three dance steps.”

“The fact that a dance or movement may contain more than a trivial amount of original authorship is irrelevant,” the letter continues. Moreover, the Copyright Office also calls into question Ribeiro’s ownership, as the dance was produced for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and later reproduced on Dancing with the Stars.

“Even if the dance can be copyrighted, it’s not clear who owns it,” the letter added, stating ABC or Ribeiro’s professional dancing partner, Witney Carson, may also be owners of the content.

While courts don’t have to take this decision into consideration, it’s likely to impact his lawsuits against Epic Games (Fortnite) and 2K (NBA 2K19) over the inclusion of the dance in-game. Banks’ lawsuits are joined by rapper 2 Milly, Backpack Kid and Orange Shirt Kid over other dances.

We’ll keep you posted as the lawsuits continue.

Both Fortnite and NBA 2K19 are available now on Windows PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch.