Rapper 2 Milly is considering legal action against Epic Games for using his signature dance move, The Milly Rock, in Fortnite, although you might know it better as Season 5 premium emote, "Swipe It".
"Everybody was just like, 'Yo, your dance is in the game,'" 2 Milly told CBS News (via ResetEra). "They actually sell that particular move. It's for purchase. That's when I really was like ... oh nah, this can't go on too long."
For several months now, the artists behind some of the moves have been calling on Fortnite developer Epic to compensate them, or at least "put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes".
Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes. Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) July 13, 2018
However, as business and entertainment lawyer Merlyne Jean-Louis notes in the CBS story, there's no case law setting a precedent for copyrighting choreographic works and the US Copyright Office currently cannot accept copyright patents for individual dance moves due to creative choreographic expression.
"There's a lot of case lawsuits surrounding the copyright of music. Lyrics. Sounds. There's a full body of case law related to that. But regarding choreographic works, that does not exist," they said.
The more ethical dilemma, then, lies in whether or not the developer should compensate the creators of the moves, or - as Chance the Rapper suggests in the tweet above - accompany the emotes with the tracks that made them famous and share the sale profits with the artists.
"I don't even want to bash them for all the millions," 2 Milly added. "Know what I am saying? It's not really like that. I just feel like I have to protect what's mine."
We've reached out to Epic for comment and will update as/when we hear back.