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Epic Games has been accused of constantly seeking to exploit African-American talent by the duo known for popularizing the Running Man Challenge.
The charges surfaced in a lawsuit filed against Fortnite developer by plaintiffs Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley, who claim to have created the dance in 2016 while they were playing together in the same basketball team -ball at the University of Maryland.
According to the complaint, Epic Games unfairly benefits from the creative expression of the plaintiffs by selling the dance emote under the name of Running Man.
This is the latest lawsuit filed against Epic Games for alleged misappropriation of copyright-protected dance movements.
"Epic copied the dances and movements of many African American artists … Epic did not ask for consent or permission to use any of these movements or dances" we read in the complaint.
Ranked just this week, the deal comes soon after Alfonso Ribeiro has been denied the author's right on the Carlton dance.
This was the first decision in the current legal battle of the creators against Epic Games and could set a precedent in these unexplored waters.
Despite the decision of the US Copyright Office, Ribeiro's dance was too simple to be protected by law, so Nickens and Brantley brought the case to the Maryland court.
The filing alleges infringement of copyright, contributory infringement of copyright, violation of advertising rights and unfair competition.
Nickens and Brantley argue that Epic Games actually captures the creative expression of the dancers as their movements associate with Fortnite, rather than their respective creators. .
"Epic uses the Running Man and other dances to create the false impression that Epic started these dances and these follies or that the artist who created them supports the game," reads in the complaint.
In total, the plaintiffs sue for a minimum of $ 20 million in damages, as well as for Epic Games, which wants to end the sale and distribution of the Running Man dance emote.
However, the origins of the dance could be disputed and are probably attributable to high school students Kevin Vincent and Jeremiah Hall, although popularized by Nickens and Brantley, as evidenced by a common appearance of the four in the show Ellen Degeneres. in May 2016.
There is no reference to Vincent or Hall in the filing, which states: "In 2016, plaintiffs [Nickens and Brantley] created a dance that they called "Running Man" while listening to and listening to music with their friends and teammates.
Nickens said he saw the dance for the first time when Brantley showed him the original Instagram video released by Vincent and Hall.
The legal representative of Nickens and Brantley did not respond to requests for comments in time for publication.