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Floss dance creator Backpack Kid suing Fortnite now too

  • April 1, 2019
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Yesterday Carlton from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, today the Backpack Kid from, um, Instagram – another day, another legal case against Fortnite because of dances in the game.

Who’s the Backpack Kid? Only the teenager who created the Floss*, the most famous dance in Fortnite (and maybe the western world in 2018). His real name is Russell Horning and he’s 17 years old. His mother is reportedly filing suit on his behalf, wrote TMZ.

The similarities to Carlton actor Alfonso Ribeiro’s lawsuit, and rapper 2 Milly’s, are no coincidence, as it’s the same law firm representing all three people: Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht.

As in the other cases, The Backpack Kid is also suing NBA 2K for use of the Floss, and he’s seeking to copyright the dance.

Have any of them got a leg to stand on – are Epic and Fortnite in trouble? Purewal Partners lawyer Pete Lewin wrote a blog post on the topic, and in a nutshell, it’s going to be tricky for the dance creators.

Not only does the US Copyright Office apparently have prohibitions on registering dance moves, there’s also the issue of proving creation of the dance move, and working out who actually owns it – Carlton, say, or the TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Lewin’s take on the Fortnite litigation is the law firm Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht is trying to attach as many people as possible to the lawsuit in order to put pressure on Epic for an out-of-court settlement.

Hence why I think we will see more artists join. Little reason not to. Complainants want to make it grow so big to force an early settlement. Will Epic fight it though? They?ve shown a no nonsense approach to lawsuits so far. Interesting times….

— Pete Lewin (@LegalGamerUK) December 17, 2018

Russell Horning’s Backpack Kid adventure (which he recounts in a Buzzfeed video embedded below) began in 2016 when, after impressing his friends in a dance-off at church club, he posted a video of himself Flossing (in amongst other dances) on Instagram.

Young Horning went to bed in the hope it would propel him to 400 followers by the morning, but when he woke up, he had more than 5000. I bet he nearly spat out his Cheerios.

It was nothing compared to when Rihanna re-posted a video, though, which in turn was nothing compared to when Katy Perry called up and was like, “Hey, wanna come on Saturday Night Live with me and do your dance?”

Today, the Backpack Kid has a very valuable 2.3 million followers on Instagram, and a dodgy haircut. Regarding the litigation, he wrote: “I’m just a teen having fun in life, I leave all that other stuff to the adults and management. I’m more focused on my EP dropping tomorrow and my birthday.”

*But did Russell Horning in fact create the Floss? There is tangible proof that no, he did not. There’s a video from 2012 of a bunch of kids in chinos and ties lip-synching One Direction’s You Are Beautiful, and at 3:07, lo and behold, one of them – who looks a bit like a young Bill Gates – busts out the Floss.

But even earlier than this, in January 2011, a mysterious mop-haired youth known as “mashed potato man” was caught on video Flossing.

Maybe the Floss goes back even further…

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