2 Milly, Alfonso Ribeiro, Backpack Kid, and the Orange Shirt Kid. What do all these people have in common, besides nobody over the age of 25 having a clue who they are?
The answer of course, is that all of the above have had their respective dances transformed into emotes by Epic Games for their super popular battle royale Fortnite. It also turns out all of the above are seeking legal recompense for their dances having been used in the game.
Rachel McCumbers is the mother of Orange Shirt Kid. She’s the latest in this growing line of disgruntled folk who aren’t happy with the fact that Epic have pinched some groovy moves for their own gain.
Weirdly enough, McCumbers is represented by the same law firm that all of the others are using to pursue Epic: Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP.
I can only imagine that if one sets up a law firm with the express intention of one day monopolising representation of those who have had dance moves stolen by a brightly coloured free to play video game, then Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP are killing it.
As if with all the other cases, McCumbers – on behalf of her son – is claiming that Epic Games have “unfairly profited from exploiting Orange Shirt Kid’s protected creative expression, likeness, and trademark without consent or authorization.”
The suit goes on to claim that Epic’s inclusion of the Orange Shirt Kid’s dance sparked a wave of cyberbullying directed towards the kid that forced him to delete his Instagram and YouTube accounts.
Unlike everyone else taking legal action against Epic and Fortnite however, it’s worth noting that OSK did originally submit his dance to Epic Games as part of a competition, with the winner getting their dance immortalised in-game.
While OSK didn’t win this competition, it was popular enough that a fan petition convinced Epic Games to include it anyway. This then leaves OSK and mum on shaky ground legal wise, given that his dance was submitted to Epic with the express intention of it being included in-game.
Here are the rules for entry from the aforementioned competition:
As a condition of entry, Contestants hereby grants to Sponsor a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, transferable, sublicensable, and royalty free license to use, modify, reproduce, prepare derivative works of, distribute, perform, and display the Submission in any and all media throughout the world and for whatever purpose Sponsor deems.
It sounds to me as if Epic are in the clear with this one, but there’s still the matter of 2 Milly, Alfonso Ribeiro, and Backpack Kid to deal with.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.