How (Fortnite’s) It’s Complicated Became Complicated
Since Fortnite might have violated the ownership rights of emote creators, today we need to look at copyright law.
“The Floss” and “It’s Complicated” are dance moves called emotes for Fortnite’s avatars (characters). To see “It’s Complicated” do take a look at this video. Although it occupies one hour, a 30-second look is all you need:
We could say that the “Backpack kid” is an emote creator. Because of a video post and appearance on SNL, his floss dance attracted two million followers. Then though, Fortnite offered the floss emote and the Backpack kid’s mom sued.
Similarly, the choreographer Kyle Hannagami alleges that “It’s Complicated’ replicates his copyrighted routine.
Claiming to be an emote creator, Mr. Hannagami might try to prove that his dance is unique, Other qualifying characteristics from U.S. copyright law include having an audience.
Now, though, we have another consideration because the Supreme Court further defined who can sue. Recently they decided that you needed a registered copyright to claim infringement. As a result, the floss suit was dismissed.
However, since he has the copyright, Mr.Hanagami’s case remains in the courts.
Our Bottom Line: Ownership
As economists, we can see the Fortnite cases through an ownership lens.
To function optimally, markets require clearly defined ownership. On the supply side, producers can profit because they own their land, labor, and capital. Correspondingly, on the demand side, we need to know that the purchase dependably transfers ownership.
Consequently, when they believe they own the moves, emote creators can sue Fortnite.
My sources and more: Thanks to Mason for suggesting today’s post about emote creators. After that, Mason provided the facts as did The Sun, NBC News, and oyez.org. Then, for more on ownership, I also recommend MINE.
Originally published at https://econlife.com on April 24, 2022.