Copyright Office Refuses Registration for 'Fresh Prince' Star Alfonso Ribeiro's "Carlton Dance"
Art Law

Copyright Office Refuses Registration for ‘Fresh Prince’ Star Alfonso Ribeiro’s “Carlton Dance”

The U.S. Copyright Office is skeptical about Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor Alfonso Ribeiro’s ownership claim over the signature "Carlton Dance," which became famous after a 1991 episode of the Will Smith series. In correspondence last month that was surfaced on Wednesday in California federal court, Saskia Florence, a supervisory registration specialist in the Office’s Performing Arts Division, told Ribeiro’s attorney that registration must be refused because his claimed "choreographic work" was a "simple dance routine." "The dancer sways their hips as they step from side to side, while swinging their arms in an exaggerated manner," wrote Florence ( see here ). "In the second dance step, the dancer takes two steps to each side while opening and closing their legs and their arms in unison. In the final step, the dancer’s feet are still and they lower one hand from above their head to the middle of their chest while fluttering their fingers. The combination of these three dance steps is a simple routine that is not registrable as a choreographic work." Take-Two Interactive, publisher of the game NBA 2K , is now seizing upon the refusal in support of the argument that movements for the "Carlton Dance" […]

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