Billboard Magazine reports:
The U.S. Copyright Office is skeptical about Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor Alfonso Ribeiro’s ownership claim over the signature “Carlton Dance,” which became famous after a 1991 episode of the Will Smith series.
In correspondence last month that was surfaced on Wednesday in California federal court, Saskia Florence, a supervisory registration specialist in the Office’s Performing Arts Division, told Ribeiro’s attorney that registration must be refused because his claimed “choreographic work” was a “simple dance routine.”
Take-Two Interactive, publisher of the game NBA 2K, is now seizing upon the refusal in support of the argument that movements for the “Carlton Dance” are not protectable. Ribeiro is suing Take-Two as well as the publisher of Fortnite over special features that allow game players to have their avatars perform the dance.