A law firm says that someone has imitated one of his lawyers in messages sent to the US Copyright Office, in order to sabotage the lawsuits against Fortnite developer Epic Games. Pierce Bainbridge issued a fake email allegedly sent under the name of lawyer David Hecht, asking the bureau to reject all his copyright applications for dance moves – and confessing that "what my Customers and I did to some video game companies was shameless.[[[[sic]and without foundation. "
Hecht is the leading lawyer for several people who claim that Epic has illegally copied their dances as Fortnite emotes, including rapper 2 Milly; The prince of Bel-Air the star Alfonso Ribeiro; and more recently, rapper BlocBoy JB. As part of the court proceedings, Hecht's applied to register all of these dances with the Copyright Office. But the office would have told him a strange message this weekend:
Recently, I noticed that my clients and I were filing copyright applications for dance moves. Please, have them rejected now. If judges work there, I want your workers to tell them that they should be rejected / dismissed because they contained very false information. What my clients and I did with some video game companies was very lacking and unfounded. Again, I would like our copyright claims to be terminated / rejected because they were false / unfounded.
One person apparently sent a second message using Hecht's name and email address today, and Pierce Bainbridge said that she had alerted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and others. Authorities on what she describes as "fraudulent attempt at the Copyright Office". The Copyright Office did not immediately answer the question. a request for comment.
Last week, The edge and other media reported that the Copyright Office had refused to record Ribeiro's "Carlton dance", which could weaken Ribeiro's legal cause. Hecht said The New York Times that he was still pressuring the office for him to reconsider his claim, as well as a claim for 2 Milly, which was also dismissed. the Time noted that he had been able to record a dance from another of his clients, Russell "Backpack Kid" Horning. The unknown sender may have reacted to this recent coverage.
Pierce Bainbridge calls the sender of an "uninformed minority" who tries to subvert the claims. "Our lawsuits are at the opposite of" without wrecks and without foundation "as suggested by the hacker," Hecht said in a statement. We do not know if there has been hacking; the sender may have just enter Hecht's email address into a contact form. E-mail is also not a work of masterful identity theft: in the unlikely event that a lawyer would have qualified his or her own legal statements to be "reckless" in a letter to a government agency, he or she would have probably at least spelled the spelling correctly.
But it's not surprising that a law firm is suing Fortnite – and other games using emotes – would attract the wrath of hyper-protective players or trolls in search of controversy to exploit. (Nor is it surprising that the firm uses this anger to promote its clients' cases, as Pierce Bainbridge did here.) In her statement, the firm tried to "reassure the fans" by saying that it did not hurt the game of Epic. "Our customers are not trying to stop Fortnite. There is no risk of it, "Hecht said. "Our clients are looking for fair and reasonable compensation and recognition for their dances."