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Alfonso Ribeiro reportedly suing Fortnite makers over 'The Carlton' dance

Key Points
  • Alfonso Ribeiro, known for his role as Carlton in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, is suing videogame producers Epic Games and Take-Two Interactive.
  • The actor claimed both games have used “The Carlton,” a dance move he created.
  • Ribeiro is the latest celebrity to sue the companies over the use of a dance move.
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'Fresh Prince' actor sues 'Fortnite' creator Epic Games

Actor Alfonso Ribeiro, who rose to fame playing Carlton in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, is suing the makers of Fortnite and NBA 2K18 over a dance move in their videogames, Variety reported on Monday.

Court documents reportedly claim game producers Epic Games and Take-Two Interactive had unfairly profited from "The Carlton" – a dance made famous by the Ribeiro on the sitcom.

According to Variety, both games feature versions of the dance as an "emote," a virtual dance that players can download during gameplay.

David L. Hecht, an attorney representing Ribeiro, told CNBC via email that the likeness between "The Carlton" and the emote was "widely recognized."

"Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like 'Fresh,'" he said. "Yet Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property."

As well as seeking a share of those profits, Ribeiro is requesting that the games cease to use "The Carlton," Hecht added.

Ribeiro's claim is the latest in a string of emote-related lawsuits. Rapper 2 Milly hired the same law firm in November to sue Epic over the use of his signature dance "Milly Rock," and according to Business Insider, 16-year-old Ryan "Backpack Kid" Huggins is filing claims against Epic and Take-Two over the use of "the Floss" in their games.

Dancing is protected as intellectual property under U.S. copyright law.

Spokespersons for both Epic Games and Take-Two Interactive told CNBC their firms did not comment on ongoing litigation.

Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, the law firm reportedly representing Ribeiro in the case, was also contacted for comment by CNBC.