File this one under “Big Ten basketball news you don’t hear every day.”
Former Maryland basketball players Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley filed a $5 million suit against Epic Games - makers of the massively popular game “Fortnite” - for profiting off their “Running Man Challenge” dance that went viral in 2016.
Check out the duo performing the dance on the “Ellen Degeneres Show” in May 2016.
When reached for comment, the former players’ attorney, Richard Jaklitsch said, “They have never made a nickel off of their creation” via the Associated Press.
The suit claims that “Fortnite” sells the dance as part of its game package, and Nickens and Brantley are owed money because they helped popularize the dance.
Former “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” actor Alfonso Ribeiro is also part of the suit. Ribeiro claims that Epic Games is using his popular “Carlton” dance in the same manner.
Epic Games attorneys argued in response to Ribeiro’s suit that “no one can own a dance step or a simple dance routine.”
“Fundamentally, this suit is at odds with free speech principles as it attempts to impose liability, and thereby chill creative expression, by claiming rights that (Ribeiro) does not and could not hold,” the attorneys wrote in a court filing last Friday, urging the court to throw out the lawsuit.
Stay tuned for more updates from this story.