NEW YORK, Feb. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As the real-life battle royale over Epic Games' sale of emotes in Fortnite duplicating iconic movements of a bevy of performers heats up, attorneys for 2 Milly, Alfonso Ribeiro, Backpack Kid, Orange Shirt Kid, and BlocBoy JB faced an unexpected twist: attempted fraud on the Copyright Office.
Over the holiday weekend, lead attorney David L. Hecht was alerted that the following inquiry was submitted to the Office:
Name: David L. Hecht
Recently, I noticed that my clients and I have been filing copyright claims regarding dance moves. Please have them rejected right now. If any judges are working on them, I want your workers to tell them they should be rejected/dismissed because they were containing very false information. What my clients and I have done towards certain gaming companies were very wreckless and baseless. Once again, I would like for our copyright claims to be terminated/dismissed because they were false/baseless.
Mr. Hecht was made aware of the unauthorized, apparently-spoofed communication after the Copyright Office sent him an email including the message. Within minutes, the firm alerted the authorities, including the Federal Bureau of Investigations. On Tuesday, Mr. Hecht received a second notification from the Copyright Office that another inquiry had been made.
"While our clients have overwhelmingly received strong support from the public in pursuing fair and reasonable compensation – and proper recognition -- for their misappropriated likenesses and infringed works, an uninformed minority fails to understand the importance of these cases and apparently seeks to subvert them," Mr. Hecht commented. "Section 102(a)(4) of the Copyright Act is crystal clear: choreographic works are eligible for protection."
To date, Mr. Hecht's clients Backpack Kid and Orange Shirt Kid have successfully registered their respective works with the Copyright Office. He plans to fight any applications that are rejected by the Office.
"The recent press regarding initial rejections at the Copyright Office is highly misleading and quite uninformed," Hecht says. "Such unapprised reporting on highly technical intellectual property matters also fuels dissension. Our lawsuits are the opposite of 'wreckless and baseless' as suggested by the hacker; there is no doubt that all of our clients have colorable claims and there is no question that Epic shamelessly copied our clients' dances, failing to even ask for permission."
"I also want to make clear to some worried Fortnite fans: our clients are not looking to shut down Fortnite. There is no risk of that. Rather, our clients are looking for fair and reasonable compensation, and recognition, for their dances. We are also hoping to spread awareness that performers have a variety of rights that can protect them – not just copyright, but also right of publicity and trademark." Mr. Hecht noted that the most recent lawsuit filed by Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, on behalf of BlocBoy JB, has focused solely on Bloc's right of publicity and trademark rights.
More information about Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP can be found on its website at www.piercebainbridge.com.
SOURCE Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP