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Colin Young-Wolff, Invision
Alfonso Ribeiro (pictured Thursday, July 18, 2013, on the set of the Klondike Celebrity Challenge), the actor who played Carlton on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” was refused copyright of the Carlton dance this week.

SALT LAKE CITY — It looks like the Carlton dance will stay on “Fortnite” after all.

The brief:

  • Alfonso Ribeiro, the actor who played Carlton on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” was refused copyright of the Carlton dance this week, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
  • The U.S. Copyright Office said the dance wasn’t a registrable work.
  • "Upon review of the material deposited for registration, we must refuse registration (of the dance) because the work submitted for registration is a simple dance routine,” the office said in a letter, according to THR. "As such, it is not registrable as a choreographic work."
  • The decision comes after Ribeiro and a number of other celebrities filed lawsuits against “Fortnite” for allegedly stealing their dance moves and trademarks for in-game dances called emotes, which I wrote about for the Deseret News.

Bigger picture: The keyword in the letter is “simple,” according to Eurogamer.

  • “To register a choreographic work it has to be substantial. Simple routines or social dance steps — think the basic waltz step or second position in ballet — aren't protectable,” according to Eurogamer.

The U.S. Copyright Office outlined the dance in its letter and said the dance itself is simple enough that anyone could do it.

  • "The dancer sways their hips as they step from side to side, while swinging their arms in an exaggerated manner.
  • "In the second dance step, the dancer takes two steps to each side while opening and closing their legs and their arms in unison.
  • "In the final step, the dancer's feet are still and they lower one hand from above their head to the middle of their chest while fluttering their fingers."
  • "The combination of these three dance steps is a simple routine that is not registerable as a choreographic work," the office said in its letter. "Accordingly, your application for registration is refused."
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As The Verge puts it, “In other words, even if Ribeiro’s dance was unique and distinctive, it’s not protected by copyright.”

The rejection could put an end to Ribeiro’s filed lawsuits against Epic and Take-Two Games. And it could impact rapper 2 Milly’s lawsuit over his dance, which he alleges Epic used in “Fortnite,” too.

  • “Ribeiro’s case isn’t completely interchangeable with other Fortnite suits, however. He created the Carlton dance while playing a fictional character on someone else’s television show, which raises unique questions about who owns the routine,” according to The Verge.