Rapper 2 Milly sues Epic Games for 'unauthorized' use of 'his' dance move

Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member

In a federal lawsuit filed in the Central District Court of California, Ferguson argues that Epic infringed his copyright, violated his right of publicity, and practiced unfair competition under California business and professional code by copying his "Milly Rock" dance move.

“Although identical to the dance created, popularized, and demonstrated by Ferguson, Epic did not credit Ferguson nor seek his consent to use, display, reproduce, sell, or create a derivative work based upon Ferguson’s Milly Rock dance or likeness,” states the filing.

Ars Technica notes Ferguson is currently trying to register a copyright on the dance move with the US Copyright Office (USCO). He filed for protection only days before bringing suit. However, there is some debate about whether dance moves are even covered under copyright law.

According to the USCO, a choreographic work is defined as “rhythmic movements of one or more dancers’ bodies in a defined sequence and a defined spatial environment, such as a stage,” which would seem to apply to the Milly Rock. However, the requirements to qualify for copyright protection are far more stringent than it just being a few movements.

“To qualify for registration, a choreographic work or pantomime must be fixed in a tangible medium of expression in such a way that reveals the movements in sufficient detail to permit the work to be performed in a consistent and uniform manner,” says the USCO’s guidelines for Copyright Registration of Choreography and Pantomime.

In other words, to be a choreographic work, the moves have to be specifically defined and notable. Furthermore, just as you cannot copyright single words, you also cannot copyright single or short dance “phrases.”

“Individual movements or dance steps by themselves are not copyrightable, such as the basic waltz step, the hustle step, the grapevine, or the second position in classical ballet,” says the guidelines. “The U.S. Copyright Office cannot register short dance routines consisting of only a few movements or steps with minor linear or spatial variations, even if a routine is novel or distinctive.”

So it would seem that Ferguson’s copyright complaint and registration might be baseless under current copyright law.

His stronger claims seem to be the “misappropriation” of his identity under California business and professional statutes §17200 and civil code §3344. The lawsuit makes the allegation that Epic “digitally copied” his performance without his permission. The performance referred to is his 2014 video “Milly Rock.”

“Ferguson was damaged by Defendants’ conduct as he was prevented from reaping the profits of licensing his likeness to Defendants for commercial gain,” the lawsuit claims.

The filing seeks an injunction on the Swipe It emote, punitive and exemplary damages, and legal expenses.

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Vulcanproject

TS Evangelist
He's got no hope under the current legal definitions of winning this case.

Maybe he doesn't have to. Maybe it's just more easy publicity for him. His name will be in hundreds of articles now, connected to Fortnite. A whole new audience to search who the guy is for those that do not know.

It's not that stupid if you think of it that way.
 

azicat

TS Booster
He's got no hope under the current legal definitions of winning this case.

Maybe he doesn't have to. Maybe it's just more easy publicity for him. His name will be in hundreds of articles now, connected to Fortnite. A whole new audience to search who the guy is for those that do not know.

It's not that stupid if you think of it that way.
Yes, can't help but suspect this being strategic in some indirect way. The entertainment industry (of which both Epic and 2 Milly are participants) has always been about the commodification of folk- and sub-cultural practices, so it's nothing new.
 

m4a4

TS Evangelist
He's got no hope under the current legal definitions of winning this case.

Maybe he doesn't have to. Maybe it's just more easy publicity for him. His name will be in hundreds of articles now, connected to Fortnite. A whole new audience to search who the guy is for those that do not know.

It's not that stupid if you think of it that way.
Yes, can't help but suspect this being strategic in some indirect way. The entertainment industry (of which both Epic and 2 Milly are participants) has always been about the commodification of folk- and sub-cultural practices, so it's nothing new.
Seems like it.
I wouldn't be surprised if they "come to an agreement" privately and it ends in him getting credit for the dance move. Which could be seen as a win on both sides...
 

petert

TS Evangelist
There is an easy fix. Pull the dance move. And use a place holder explaining why this dance move was removed. Turn his own complaint into public humiliation.
If I may, did you used to live in the former Eastern European block or Soviet Union? we are talking about the years before '89
 
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H3llion

TechSpot Paladin
There is an easy fix. Pull the dance move. And use a place holder explaining why this dance move was removed. Turn his own complaint into public humiliation.
You should see the white knights trying to encourage about suing EPIC for the dance emotes. Not only that, celebrities like Chance the Rapper are hopping on this bandwagon.

YEAH LETS COPYRIGHT FALLING WHILE DANCING TOO.

****ing short sighted morons, that are trying to spin everything into their liking, butt hurt that they are not profiting and overlooking other facts.

Oh and its all coming out from certain groups of people*
 
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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Ferguson is currently trying to register a copyright on the dance move with the US Copyright Office
How truly pathetic, for anyone who claims to be an artist!

It's like Mc Hammer still waiting, 30 years later, for his parachute pants to become popular and cash out big on his patent. Good luck!
It also speaks volumes as to his genuine lack of talent ..... any talented professional entertainer would see that it is a simple promotion of his moves and he should get busy designing more to ride of the wave of popularity ...... sigh
 

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
If I may, did you used to live in the former Eastern European block or Soviet Union? we are talking about the years before '89
Yes you may. No I wasn't. Central America all the way. Do I seem like I would fit in living in that area [that is back around 89]?