Alfonso Ribeiro Told He Can't Copyright the 'Carlton' Dance

By Inside Edition Staff
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The "Carlton" dance cannot be copyrighted, according to a ruling by the U.S. Copyright Office.

Actor Alfonso Ribeiro, who played the character Carlton on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," had sought to copyright the moves, which he said he first performed in a 1991 episode of the show. The actor brought the dance back to life on season 19 of "Dancing With the Stars."

But in a letter sent last month, a copyright specialist with the U.S. Copyright Office told Ribeiro's lawyer, David Hecht, that the request to register the dance had been refused.

While choreography can be copyrighted, the specialist described the 'Carlton' dance as "a simple dance routine" and "as such, it is not registrable as a choreographic work."

The letter added that Ribeiro bringing his own personality to the routine did not change that.

"The fact that a dance or movement may contain more than a trivial amount of original authorship is irrelevant to this determination. Social dances, simple routines and other uncopyrightable movements are not ‘choreographic works,'" the letter said.

The Copyright Office's rejection surfaced in a motion to dismiss Ribeiro's lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive this week, The Associated Press reported. Ribeiro had accused the video game creator of copying the dance for a celebration in "NBA 2K16."

A hearing on the motion to dismiss the lawsuit is scheduled for next month.

Last year, Ribeiro also accused the creators of the video game "Fortnite" of copying his signature move for its "Fresh" dance. In a lawsuit filed in December, he claimed Epic Games profited from the moves.

A spokesperson for Epic Games told InsideEdition.com at the time, "We do not comment on ongoing litigation."

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