On March 29, lawyers representing choreographer Kyle Hanagami sued Epic Games for copyright infringement over the “It’s Complicated” dance emote in Fortnite. The in-game emote begins with movements which Hanagami’s lawyers allege are lifted from copyrighted dance moves created by the choreographer. The lawsuit was filed in the Central District of California, and states that Epic “did not credit Hanagami nor seek his consent to use, display, reproduce, sell, or create a derivative work based on the Registered Choreography.”
In 2017, Hanagami posted a video of a dance he’d choreographed set to Charlie Puth’s “How Long.” In August of 2020, Fortnite introduced the “It’s Complicated” emote. Now, Hanagami’s lawyer, David Hecht, has posted a video to YouTube comparing the first movements of Hanagami’s dance with the first movements of the emote. The movements and timing do indeed appear to be almost identical. However, based on previous lawsuits filed against Epic, resemblance alone isn’t enough to establish a legitimate claim. What do YOU think??