These days, you can’t even go to a Scrubs reunion without Fortnite coming up. At a panel with the cast of the medical sitcom, Donald Faison, who played surgeon Chris Turk, called out Epic Games and Fortnite for using a dance he created—on the spot, no less—for the show without paying him for it.
Faison joins artists like Chance the Rapper and 2 Milly in being less than impressed with Epic’s use of their dance moves as emotes. 2 Milly is considering legal action over Epic’s appropriation of his dance, the Milly Rock, which it has renamed Swipe It. Faison wasn’t quite as serious with his indignation on stage at the Vulture Festival, video below, but neither was he particularly happy with his dance move being pinched.
When he was asked to perform the Poison dance, he sat there stoically before shooting the request down.
“If you want to see it, you can play Fortnite, because they jacked that shit.”
He goes on to point out that nobody got paid for it. It’s not one of the dance emotes that you have to purchase, so Epic doesn’t make money from it directly, but it certainly benefits from Faison’s creation. Among kids, for whom Fortnite is undoubtedly a bigger deal than a show that ended eight years ago, the dance is a Fortnite dance. Epic doesn’t attribute the dances to their original creators, so it’s not difficult to see why someone might believe they’re seeing something original.
Regardless of the ethics, however, Epic hasn’t technically done anything wrong, at least not from a legal standpoint. Dance moves aren’t copyrighted, and series creator Bill Lawrence chimed in, explaining that Epic did get in touch to inquire about the legality of using the move.
“Fortnite had to inquire for the legality of it, and it’s fine because it’s just a character dancing.”
Lawrence was a little bit dismissive of the use of the dance in Fortnite, but he’s also not the dance’s creator. Generally, the panel was joking around about it, however, pretending that they all got paid while Faison did not.
Faison stuck to his guns and didn’t perform the dance, unfortunately, and for that, you’ll just have to blame Epic.