In a report from The Associated Press, the outlet claims the United States Copyright Office denied Alfonso Ribeiro’s request for official ownership of the “Carlton Dance,” claiming ultimately that he doesn’t own it, and therefore other people can use it commercially if they wish.
Sasika Florence, a registration specialist working on the case, explained that a “simple routine” was not registerable as a “choreographic work.” Moreover, the US Copyright Office explained a few other reasons as to why they rejected Alfonso’s claim of ownership.
The motion to dismiss the suit, claims BET.com, read that the lawsuit had a number of problems, including a lack of plausible ownership due to a lack of similarity in addition to “preemption by the Copyright Act.” Alfonso claims he created the dance specifically for the sit-com, and therefore, owns it.
But he never officially registered it until he saw the use of it in an immensely popular video game. In the documents, they suggested Alfonso recently filed for copyright because he knows deep down inside that he doesn’t own the right to the dance move.
Unfortunately, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air appears to be another pain point for Mr. Ribeiro. In the past, Ribeiro revealed that he refused to do a Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air reunion due to the fact his career was practically ruined by the television show.
The star admitted that casting agents always looked at him as Carlton from The Fresh Prince, and they figured the public would as well.
It was a plague that never affected the show’s lead, Will Smith, who has gone on to be one of the most successful actors of all time. Alfonso Ribeiro, essentially, was type-casted as a bourgeoisie black man living in Beverly Hills, and while he performed the role well, it ultimately had a deleterious effect on his career.
Another star to suffer a similar problem includes Mark Hamill who portrayed Luke Skywalker in multiple Star Wars films. Mark never managed to get out of that role, but he did move on to other aspects of the business, including voice acting, for which he was awarded critical acclaim.