A new controversy has hit Epic Games as the company was accused of copyright infringement last night. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the company paid $10,000 to Matthew Geiler, a former news anchor, in order to use his “Dancing Pumpkin Man” routine in the game. However, the anchor filed for copyright infringement arguing that the company was using his viral character’s likeness without permission.
According to GameSpot, Epic Games wants a New York Judge to declare that they are not committing infringement. The accuser, Matthew Geiler, responded to the lawsuit through his company Sick Picnic Media and alleges that the company is using his likeness without permission. When Fortnite released their Fortnitemares edition and a “Pump it up” emote, David Geiler sent Epic Games a cease and desist letter threatening to sue if they didn’t remove it. Epic Games went to court first in order to clear up this controversy.
Epic Games Lawyer Dale Cendali argues that there are no similarities between the jack-o-lantern costume players can use in the game and Matthew Geiler’s costume. In her argument, she stated that “Geiler is dressed in a plain black unitard he did not make, wearing as a mask a jack-o’-lantern decoration he did not create, dancing to a song he did not write in front of a static, generic graveyard image.” The argument being put forward by Dale Cendali implies that the concept of a person with a carved pumpkin for a face did not come from Geiler and is public domain, and as such any elements of Geiler’s video outside of the dance don’t require copyright protection. There is no new information regarding the copyright infringement accusation at the moment but more information will likely be revealed at a later date.
In other news, Fortnite will be revealing a scene from Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker at the in game drive-in theater Risky Reels. On December 14th, players will be able to get a sneak peek at the new movie with the doors opening at 1:30 pm and the show beginning at 2:00pm.