Alfonso Ribeiro Denied Copyright for the ‘Carlton Dance’
After disputes between Alfonso Ribeiro and the makers of the video game 'Fortnite' over the use of the 'Carton Dance', the US Copyright Office has denied Ribeiro's request to register the dance.
Ribeiro has been in litigation with Take-Two Interactive and the publishers of the video game 'Fortnite' over the game designers including the 'Carlton Dance' without giving credit or financial compensation to Ribeiro, who has claimed he originated and therefore owns the dance.
Unfortunately for Ribeiro, the fact he originated the dance on a show that is owned by NBC casts doubt on Ribeiro's ability to claim ownership. Also, in his request for copyright, Ribeiro used the video from his appearance on 'Dancing with the Stars', which caused additional doubt on his ownership as the dances performed on the show are usually choreographed by the professional dancer in the team.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a registration specialist at the Copyright office told Ribeiro's attorney that the dance itself is too basic to be considered a protected, choreographed dance,
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 registrable as a choreographic work.
There's also the question of where Ribeiro got the idea for the dance, which he has openly stated he's copying Courtney Cox from the Bruce Springsteen music video for 'Dancing in the Dark'.