The mother of “Orange Shirt Kid” wants justice for her son, and is suing Epic Games over Fortnite’s Orange Justice dance emote. It’s the latest legal tangle for Epic, which is now facing multiple lawsuits over dance-based emotes in its battle royale game.
The complaint, first reported by Variety, was filed in California court by Rachel McCumbers, the mother of the boy known as Orange Shirt Kid (named as C.C.M. in court documents) whose video went viral within the Fortnite community last year. The suit alleges copyright infringement, arguing that Epic copied the dance move — named “the Random” by the boy — and the catchphrase (“It’s also a great exercise move”), but “did not credit Orange Shirt Kid nor seek his consent to use, display, reproduce, sell, or create a derivative work based upon Orange Shirt Kid’s Random dance or likeness in Fortnite.”
This complaint was filed by the same law firm that’s representing the growing list of creators who say that Epic Games has taken their original creations and profited from them by selling emotes in Fortnite.
Unlike the complaints filed by creators like Alfonso Ribeiro and 2 Milly, Orange Shirt Kid’s case is distinct. The dance move in question was originally performed in a video that was uploaded as part of Epic’s BoogieDown contest. While Orange Shirt Kid didn’t win the competition, the express purpose of the contest was for creators to get their own dances in Fortnite.
Shortly after the competition ended and winners were announced, Fortnite players came out in vocal support of Orange Shirt Kid’s video and pleaded with Epic to put his dance in the game. Epic complied, adding the dance to Fortnite at the beginning of season 4.
The contest itself came with very specific rules for entry, including granting Epic use of the dance that was submitted. The complaint, however, makes no mention of the BoogieDown contest. The complaint does specify that Orange Shirt Kid filed a copyright application for the dance on Jan. 10, 2019 — one day before the suit was filed.
When reached for comment on previous complaints filed against the company, Epic Games stated that it does not comment on ongoing litigation.
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