James Baker, better known by his stage name BlocBoy JB, is the latest celebrity to sue Epic Games over the unlicensed use of a dance move. The Memphis, Tennessee rapper is known for such songs as “Look Alive,” and “Rover 2.0.” BlocBoy’s dance, featured in the music video for his song “Shoot” which you can check out below (Warning: Explicit Language). Fortnite, as per their usual antics, have included the dance in the game and called it “Hype”. Now, BlocBoy is suing Epic Games for using the dance he created without permission, reports TMZ.
BlocBoy JB now joins the ranks of other celebrities such as Alfonso Ribeiro, and Internet celebrities such as Backpack Kid, in suing Epic Games for the unlicensed use of their dances. “I just don’t think it’s fair what Epic is doing,” said Blocboy JB in a press release. “I started the dance and made it popular through my music. Epic didn’t ask me if they could put it in Fortnite.” His sentiments echo that of the growing laundry list of celebrities suing Epic. Though the dance was not copyrighted at the time Fortnite added it to the game, BlocBoy is currently making moves to change that.
BlocBoy’s decision to sue came after he received overwhelming fan support on Twitter after posing the question, “Should I Sue Fortnite Or Nah.” Once the choice was made, he enlisted the help of Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP with the suit. BlocBoy’s representative, David L. Hecht, claims that Epic’s history of appropriating intellectual property is detrimental to the artists, specifically African American artists. Hecht says that stealing dances and renaming them leads many to believe the dance originated from Fortnite, therefore robbing the true creating artists of recognition.
Should I Sue Fortnite Or Nah🤔
— BlocBoy JB (@BlocBoy_JB) December 20, 2018
Epic Games is no stranger to lawsuits and controversy. After Fortnite‘s launch, they were sued by PUBG for copyright infringement due to the similar nature of the two games. While that lawsuit was eventually dropped, they began fielding lawsuits for the dances. Epic Games seemed unfazed by the legal actions taken against them and even filed for some of their own, suing two YouTubers in October over their promotion of cheats for the game. To add insult to injury, Epic also received an “F” score in customer service from the Better Business Bureau for lack of response to customer complaints. While a decision has yet to be made whether or not Fortnite can continue to include dances made popular by others, it’s likely they will continue to receive lawsuits should they continue the practice.