The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor Alfonso Ribeiro has been in the news a lot since attempting to copyright his “Carlton” dance. At the beginning of this year, we wrote about how the actor took issue with the video game creators of Fortnite, who used a likeness of the actor’s signature dance from the show done as the character Carlton. The actor and his legal team also had launched a suit against Take-Two Interactive, which created the video game NBA2K16.
Suits hobbled by Copyright Office ruling
The U.S. Copyright Office revealed in February that it had denied Ribeiro’s copyright registration for the dance . According to various sources, a document of the ruling states that the “Carlton” represents “a simple dance routine” instead of a detailed piece by a choreographer, which could be copyrighted. The NBA2K suit was subsequently dropped.
In light of the ruling from the Copyright Office, Ribeiro and his legal team have now filed papers in Federal Court in Los Angeles stating that they are voluntarily dropping the case against Epic Games. No reason was officially given.
Knowing when to fight
Dropping a case may seem like quitting to some. However, an important part of an intellectual property attorney’s role in a case is to understand the law and the potential outcomes of the case if it is to move forward. If there is no chance of winning, it is the attorney’s duty to notify the client that it does not make sense to continue the case, and/or that all options have been explored.