A TEEN who shot to fame for sparking the “flossing” dance craze is suing video game Fortnite’s creators – claiming they stole his moves for their characters.
Russell Horning, known as “the Backpack kid”, became a worldwide sensation last year when he performed the dance on US TV show Saturday Night Live with Katy Perry.
Backpack Kid performed alongside Katy Perry in Saturday Night Live last year[/caption]
The 16-year-old had already gained social media stardom by posting quirky clips of himself flossing on Instagram.
But a lawsuit filed by his mum Anetta on Monday claims game developers Epic Games stole the dance from him.
Epic Games makes the global smash-hit shoot-em-up Fortnite.
Also named in the lawsuit is Take Two Interactive – makers of basketball game NBA 2k – which also allows players to perform the dance.
Fortnite players can unlock the Floss dance for their characters[/caption]
Both companies are unfairly profiting from use of the dance, the suit claims.
Dancing is protected under US copyright laws as long as the composition is original and has been recorded on film owned by the copyright holder.
Dance contest: Copyright rules for performing dance moves explained
UNDER US law, a copyright can be obtained for dancing.
The Copyright Act provides protection for “pantomimes and choreographic works”.
According to the law, “choreography is the composition and arrangement of a related series of dance movements and patterns organised into a coherent whole.”
The dances must also be unique and not consist of “ordinary motor activities, social dances, commonplace movements or gestures, or athletic movements”.
For a dance to be classed as choreographed, it must have at least one of the following elements:
- Rhythmic movements of one or more dancers’ bodies in a defined sequence and a defined spatial environment, such as a stage
- A series of dance movements or patterns organised into an integrated, coherent, and expressive compositional whole
- A story, theme, or abstract composition conveyed through movement
- A presentation before an audience
- A performance by skilled individuals
- Musical or textual accompaniment
In Fortnight, players battle each other across a vast map using an array of weapons and gadgets.
If they build up enough credits, players can purchase “Emotes” – which allow their characters to perform special moves.
The Floss emote was introduced as a reward in the Season 2 Battle Royale version of Fortnite.
It comes after Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro filed a similar lawsuit against the developers behind the game.
Ribeiro and fellow Fresh Prince star Will Smith on the Graham Norton Show in 2013[/caption]
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He claimed his rights over the dorky dance – performed by his character Charlton in the hit 90s show alongside Will Smith – are being infringed.
The “Emote” dance called Fresh in Fortnite bears an uncanny resemblance to the arm-swinging moves performed by Rieiro’s character, the suit claims.
His lawyer told TMZ: “It is widely recognised that Mr. Ribeiro’s likeness and intellectual property have been misappropriated by Epic Games in the most popular video game currently in the world, Fortnite”.
Both Epic Games and Take-Two Entertainment have declined to comment.
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