Keyboard Cat Meme Creator Suing Scribblenauts Creators
Warner Bros. and 5th Cell are to be sued for infringing upon internet memes Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat for their inclusion, as Easter eggs, in the game Scribblenauts.
Creators Charles Schmidt and Orlando Torres, are suing Warner Bros. for infringing upon Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat Respectively. There are some of the most famous internet memes and both are featured in Scribblenauts and its sequels.
The memes appearances were unlicensed and unapproved and it means it’s time for a lawsuit. Both the creator filed lawsuits against 5th Cell Media and Warner Bros. Entertainment, the developer and publisher of the Scribblenauts games. With the claim that neither of them had authorized the usage of their creations, seek restitution profits, legal fees, and the usual things involved in such lawsuits.
Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat are both extremely popular memes and are valuable for commercial uses. Many other companies who do use such intellectual properties usually pay substantial license fees to prevent such lawsuits from occurring. The lawsuit states “For the past three years, WB, along with game developer 5th, have knowingly and intentionally infringed plaintiffs’ copyrights and trademarks by using ‘Nyan Cat’ and [Keyboard Cat] Fatso’s image in WB’s top selling Scribblenauts games, including, most recently, Scribblenauts Unlimited, which WB released in 2011. Compounding their infringements, defendants have used ‘Nyan Cat’ and ‘Keyboard Cat,’ even identifying them by name, to promote and market their games, all without plaintiffs’ permission and without any compensation to plaintiffs.”
Both authors claim to have attempted to rectify the situation before resorting to the lawsuit; with emails and phone calls, but both ended up being ignored. Also both memes were not trade marked until 2010 a year after Scribblenauts was released. According to the Los Angeles IP Trademark Attorney Blog, that automatically disqualifies claims for attorney’s fees and statutory damages; in both cases the memes were trademarked more than 5 years after being released so there is no “presumption of validity” of the copyright.
This is a bit of a reversial for the large companies, normaly it is the big foot on the little creator. This lawsuit will be worth watching.