Epic Games, the creator of the very popular battle royale game Fortnite, is getting sued by hip-hop music artist 2 Milly. In a lawsuit, 2 Milly claims that the game developer ripped off his “Milly Rock” dance move and turned it into an in-game emote. This is an add-on element in the game which gamers can earn after buying it as an in-game purchase. Epic Games had added the now contentious emote called Swipe It, to the Fortnite game in July 2018. This emote is based on ‘Milly Rock’ dance, which was a part of 2 Milly’s music video in 2014.
The lawsuit has been filed in California district court, according to Variety magazine. One of the issues of contention is that Epic Games did not offer the emote to gamers for v-bucks, which is Fortnite’s in-game currency. Instead, it pushed the Swipe It emote as an unlockable add-on, which was applicable for those who purchases the Fortnite seasonal Battle Pass after paying $10 (around Rs709).
This lawsuit comes at a time when the gaming industry is relying heavily on pop culture globally to add a new dimension to the games they sell.
“This isn’t the first time that Epic Games has brazenly misappropriated the likeness of African-American talent. Our client Lenwood ‘Skip’ Hamilton is pursuing similar claims against Epic for use of his likeness in the popular ‘Cole Train’ character in the ‘Gears of War’ video game franchise. Epic cannot be allowed to continue to take what does not belong to it” says David L. Hecht, a partner at law firm Pierce Bainbridge, said in a statement.
Fortnite has more than 200 million registered players across all platforms the game is available on—Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows and macOS. There are big numbers in play here. Fortnite has raked in as much as $300 million as of October numbers by research firm SensorTower, just on the Apple iOS platform.
This is not the first time that Epic Games has modified popular pop culture dance moves for Fortnite. Previously, Fortnite has used dance moves from Snoop Dog’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” (it is known as “Tidy” in Fortnite) and BlocBoy JB’s “Shoot” (it is known as “Hype” in Fortnite) tracks.