According to an email obtained by CBS, the Copyright Office rejected Riberio's copyright for the dance saying that it represented a “simple dance routine” rather than a work of choreography.
Ribeiro, who played Will Smith’s sidekick in the ’90s sitcom “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” devised the dance move for the show. Ribeiro sued several game developers, including Take-2 Interactive and Epic Games for the inclusion of his iconic dance move in the games NBA2k16 and Fortnite respectively.
The dance move is one of many that the game developers have included in the game as purchasable cosmetic items that players can have their avatars perform in-game. At about $5 a piece, the dance move cosmetics have likely generated hundreds of millions of dollars in in-game purchases for the game developers and represent a significant post-launch revenue stream.
The Associated Press reports a hearing on a motion to dismiss Ribeiro’s suit is scheduled for March 18.
The decision is likely to have ramifications for similar lawsuits against Fortnite developer Epic from Russell Horning, AKA the “Backpack Kid,” who devised the dance move “Flossing” and the rapper 2 Milly over the “Milly Rock.”