OffBeat

Sweet irony: Warner Bros. faces lawsuit over illegal use of Nyan & Keyboard cats

Big media companies like Warner Bros. are quick to send out their teams of lawyers whenever one of their properties gets used without permission, which is more frequent thanks to the Internet.

Well, now the Internet is striking back, so to speak, reports the BBC.

Creators of Internet cat meme videos Nyan Cat (a kitty with a Pop Tart body that flies through space on a rainbow) and Keyboard Cat (aka Charlie Schmidt’s cat, Fatso, made famous in this 2007 video) are suing the media company for copyright infringement. The lawsuit claims that both kitties appeared — and are even specifically referred to — in Warner Bros. game Scribblenauts that was produced by game studio 5th Cell. The game itself appears on the Nintendo DS as well as many other platforms.

From the legal complaint:

For the past three years, WB along with game developer 5th [Cell], have knowingly and intentionally infringed plaintiffs’ copyrights and trademarks by usingĀ  “Nyan Cat” and 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 6 without plaintiffs’ permission and without any compensation to plaintiffs.

The creators of the cat videos, Schmidt (Keyboard Cat) and Torres (Nyan Cat), are attempting to block further sales of the Scribblenauts games. Presumably they’re doing this as a purely symbolic gesture, but something tells me this one will be settled out of court for a hansom sum.

This is certainly an interesting development, especially because media companies are rarely on the receiving ends of these copyright infringement claims.