Epic Games’ Fortnite dance lawsuits proceed, however this time, Epic is placing first. On Oct. 30, Matthew Geiler — higher often known as “Dancing Pumpkin Man” — and his inventive consulting firm, Sick Picnic Media, drafted a cease-and-desist letter to the Fortnite creator, threatening a lawsuit relating to the sport’s Pump It Up emote.
Epic responded to the cease-and-desist after which filed a preemptive complaint looking for a choose’s ruling on the matter, as first reported by The Verge. On Dec. 9, Epic filed its complaint against Geiler and Sick Picnic Media, claiming that Dancing Pumpkin Man isn’t a trademarked character, so Geiler can’t implement a cease-and-desist.
The Pump It Up emote transforms gamers’ heads into flaming pumpkins as they dance like Geiler in his Dancing Pumpkin Man viral video, seen under. The emote was purchasable for a single day throughout this yr’s Fortnitemares occasion.
Epic’s complaint is a menace in response to a menace — it says that Epic will take Geiler to courtroom if he and Sick Picnic Media don’t retract their cease-and-desist. Despite having a licensing agreement with Epic, which he admitted to in a Facebook comment this yr, Geiler and Sick Picnic Media demanded Epic cease utilizing Dancing Pumpkin Man’s likeness. The letter additionally indicated that Geiler was “prepared to take all necessary actions to protect the Dancing Pumpkin Man character.”
An Epic consultant informed Polygon it doesn’t touch upon ongoing litigation. Neither Geiler nor Sick Picnic Media responded earlier than publication time.
Epic used its authorized weight to try to decimate the very picture of Dancing Pumpkin Man. In part 4 of its complaint, Epic’s attorneys declare that nothing in regards to the Dancing Pumpkin Man is initially created for the video, citing that Geiler didn’t make the leotard or the pumpkin masks he donned, nor did he compose the music he danced to.
Epic once more flexes its power within the allegations part, the place it proceeds to inform the historical past of assorted pumpkin head varieties and pumpkin characters, with photographs, to recommend the pumpkin character wasn’t essentially an authentic thought, both.
Epic desires a choose to say there’s no violation on Epic’s half earlier than Dancing Pumpkin Man can formally file a go well with. If Geiler and Sick Picnic Media don’t retract their cease-and-desist — tantamount to giving Epic permission to proceed utilizing the Dancing Pumpkin Man likeness — the studio will pursue a go well with against Geiler earlier than he can sue Epic.
This isn’t the primary time Epic’s been concerned in a authorized battle over an in-game dance. In March 2019, the Supreme Court dominated that corporations like Epic are protected against many of those authorized assaults, and accusers dropped a number of lawsuits against the corporate.