The creators behind the popular Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat memes have filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros and 5th Cell for the use of the popular felines in the Scribblenauts series.
While you’d think that such images, gifs, or videos on the internet are free-for-use, the Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat have been trademarked. Charles Schmidt is the creator of the Keyboard Cat video, and Christopher Orlando Torres made the animated Nyan Cat gif.
For those not familiar with Scribblenauts, the game requires players to type in words to generate objects to solve environmental puzzles.
“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 Fatso’s image in WB’s top selling Scribblenauts games,” says the court document.
The two plaintiffs have reportedly tried to contact WB and 5th Cell in order to achieve an amicable resolution, but have been “snubbed each time”.
Torres explained and clarified why the two have followed through with the lawsuit:
“I have no issues with Nyan Cat being enjoyed by millions of fans as a meme, and I have never tried to prevent people from making creative uses of it that contribute artistically and are not for profit. But this is a commercial use, and these companies themselves are protectors of their own intellectual property. Many other companies have licensed Nyan Cat properly to use commercially. In Scribblenauts Unlimited, you have to actually type out the words “Nyan Cat” and “Keyboard Cat” to get our characters to appear in the game. In fact, the game forbids you from making any copyright references in their games with a pop-up error.”
What do you think of the use of memes in games? Do you think WB and 5th Cell were right to use such a popular internet image and/or video? Let us know what you think below and in the forums.