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‘Flossing’ Backpack Kid Joins Fortnite Copyright Lawsuit Wave

Dec. 18, 2018, 4:12 PM

The dancer who made “flossing” an international phenomenon has joined actor Alfonso Ribeiro and rapper 2 Milly in accusing Epic Games Inc. of profiting off his signature moves in its Fortnite Battle Royale video game.

Russell Horning, also known as “Backpack Kid,” first posted his Floss dance on Instagram in 2016, according to his Dec. 17 trademark and copyright infringement lawsuit. Since then, Horning has been featured on singer Rihanna’s Instagram page and had a dance cameo in a Katy Perry music video, he says.

Fortnite gamers can purchase the Floss dance for their avatars with a credit card or with in-game V-bucks. The Floss dance was requested by Fortnite players on forums, but Epic never asked Horning for his permission to use the dance in their video game, he says.

Fortnite is estimated to generate $2 billion in revenue for Epic by the end of 2018, Bloomberg reported in July. Horning, like Ribeiro and 2 Milly, accuse the company of making money off of their intellectual property without compensation or permission and infringing their California statutory right of publicity.

Epic didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment.

Horning’s lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California through his mother. Like Ribeiro and 2 Milly, Horning is represented by Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP. The three plaintiffs—so far—have chosen to file individual but nearly-identical complaints, rather than joining together under a single case.

The case is Redd v. Epic Games, Inc, C.D. Cal., No. 2:18-cv-10444, complaint filed 12/17/18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Porter Wells in Washington at pwells@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com

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