- Rapper 2 Milly said he will sue the creators of “Fortnite” for allegedly copying his dance the “Milly Rock” and selling it in the game.
- While 2 Milly has been the most vocal about the similarities of a “Fortnite” dance to existing work, several artists have accused the game’s creators of taking their dances without permission or pay.
- “Fortnite: Battle Royale” is the world’s most popular game, making more than $200 million a month selling emotes and other cosmetic items for use in game.
Brooklyn rapper 2 Milly plans to sue “Fortnite” creator Epic Games for allegedly copying and profiting off of a dance he created, the “Milly Rock.”
2 Milly has been vocal about his distaste for the game’s monetization of popular dances in interviews with Insider and CBS News. The “Milly Rock” dance originally arose in 2014 from the video for 2 Milly’s song of the same name, “Milly Rock.”
“Fortnite” added a dancing emote called “Swipe It” to the game in July 2018 that appears to be clearly inspired by the Milly Rock. For a time, players could unlock the dance through playing or by paying cash to level up the game’s Season 5 Battle Pass, but Swipe It can no longer be acquired in-game. Players who unlocked it before can still use it though.
“Fortnite: Battle Royale” is the world’s most popular game and has a massive audience that most artists can only dream of. While the game is free-to-play, the majority of its earnings come from the sale of emotes and other cosmetic items in-game. The game is currently generating more than $200 million a month in revenue and those emotes are available to more than 200 million registered players around the world, with no mention of the artists who inspired them.
2 Milly isn’t the only artist claiming that the game turned their original dance into emotes for purchase in “Fortnite” without permission or pay. Rapper BlocBoy JB criticized the use of his “Shoot” dance in “Fortnite” and actor Donald Faison claimed that “Fortnite” lifted a dance he performed for the TV show “Scrubs” as the game’s default dance.
On Twitter, Chance the Rapper also suggested that Epic Games should find a way to compensate the creators behind the dances.
Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes. Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) July 13, 2018
2 Milly’s case isn’t the only pending lawsuit Piece Bainbridge is bringing against Epic Games. The firm also claims that Epic used the likeness of former NFL player Len “Skip” Hamilton to create the character Cole Train for the Gears of War video game series. Pierce Bainbridge partner David L. Hecht claims that in both cases, Epic Games “misappropriated the likeness of African-American talent.”
Experts have been skeptical of whether artists can claim ownership over a dance, compared to the clear copyright laws that protect music and song lyrics, but it seems that won’t stop 2 Milly from pursuing his day in court.