Since Terrence Ferguson, aka rapper 2 Milly, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against game developer Epic Games last month, the debate around whether copying a real-life dance move and turning it into a virtual good for sale has become a legal quagmire. Numerous other social media stars and celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon, including Fresh Prince actor Alfonso Ribeiro, aspiring hip-hop artist and floss dancer Backpack Kid, and most recently Orange Shirt Kid of viral YouTube fame.
Now, game developers are even pulling the dances from current titles, afraid of the potential legal risk. In the long term, the lawsuits may have a profound impact on both copyright law and the games industry. The cases could dictate whether dance moves do indeed constitute protected works of choreography, as well as whether game developers are liable for ripping them from pop culture as a way to earn money and stay relevant with fast-moving teenage audiences.