‘Fresh Prince’ actor Alfonso Ribeiro’s Fortnite dance emote lawsuit gets surprising update

Virginia Glaze
CNN / Epic Games

Alfonso Ribeiro, known for playing Carlton in popular 90’s sitcom ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,’ took legal action against Fortnite developers Epic Games for using his famed dance in an emote – but it looks like things may not work out in his favor.

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According to a U. S. Copyright Office registration specialist, Ribeiro’s copyright for the ‘Carlton’ dance is being denied, as told in a statement to the actor’s attorney.

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The specialist went on to break down the moves step-by-step, and argued that the routine is not eligible to be placed under copyright as a dance.

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“The combination of these three dance steps is a simple routine that is not registrable as a choreographic work,” the specialist stated, as reported by TMZ.

Ribeiro filed a lawsuit against both Epic Games and the developers of NBA 2K for using his dance as an in-game emote, claiming that his “likeness and intellectual property have been misappropriated.” 

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However, investigators quickly found a 2012 interview with TMZ, where the actor admitted that he’d gained inspiration for the dance from Courtney Cox and Eddie Murphy – leading to mass speculation regarding he legitimacy of Rebeiro’s claim to the moves.

While his lawsuits against both companies remain active, his lack of copyright claim over the ‘Carlton’ dance could hurt his chances of success.

The Today ShowRibeiro’s ‘Carlton’ dance isn’t eligible for a copyright claim – which could hurt his chances against Fortnite devs Epic Games.
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Ribeiro isn’t the only celeb to take action against Epic Games, either; American rappers 2 Milly and BlocBoy JB have also gotten in on the action, with Epic themselves claiming that “no one can own a dance step” in response to Milly’s lawsuit.

Internet celebs ‘Backpack Kid’ and ‘Orange Shirt Kid’ are likewise seeking restitution from the company for use of their ‘Floss’ and ‘Orange justice’ dances.

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About The Author

Virginia is Dexerto's Entertainment Editor and an expert in all things TikTok, YouTube, and influencer-related. Boasting a background in esports, she's been tackling the social media space for over five years. You can reach Virginia at: virginia.glaze@dexerto.com.