2 Milly, the rapper who originated the “milly rock” dance, says that Epic Games, the game developer for the insanely popular first-person shooter Fortnite, stole his dance and wants royalties for its use in game, according to TMZ.
Among players of the popular video game, one of the favorite features is the “emote,” a quick dance that can be triggered to make the player’s character celebrate a particularly thrilling kill or victory. Many of the emotes, however, come uncredited from hip-hop dances originated by rappers, from Migos’ “dab” to Blocboy JB‘s “shoot.” The “milly rock” was originated by 2 Milly in the video for his song of the same name and later popularized by its use in Playboi Carti‘s “Magnolia” video and lyrics.
Unfortunately, Epic Games usually changes the names and does not provide the originators with compensation, which has raised the ire of some rappers like Blocboy, who tweeted his displeasure at the use of the dance in-game back in September, and Chance The Rapper, who said, “Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes,” back in July.
2 Milly’s attorney, David L.Hecht of Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, told TMZ that “Epic is enjoying record profits off of downloadable content in Fortnite, yet has failed to pay or even ask permission to use artists’ intellectual property and likenesses over many of its popular emote dances.”
The truth is, Epic Games does make plenty of money from the feature, which charges players a small fee to unlock each dance for their character. The dances are noted for their popularity, which is often misattributed to Fortnite by media when athletes perform the dances at sporting events. Since the developer does make money from the dances via microtransactions, it makes sense that the originators want to see their fair share of the profits. 2 Milly’s lawsuit is just the latest extension of a discussion regarding attribution of viral content and intellectual property that has continued to rage online as companies adopt and adapt slang, memes, and video from their original creators, who often never give permission or receive compensation.