Warner Bros taken to court by Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat creators

Warner Bros

Warner Bros

The memes are striking back. Warner Bros is being taken to court for using Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat in a game without their respective owners’ permission.

The authors of the two feline memes claim that their property was used without their permission in the game Scribblenauts, published in 2009. The game’s developer 5th Cell is also named in the suit.

Keyboard Cat is the older of the two memes. Uploaded to YouTube in 2007, it consists of a video from 1984 of a cat called “Fatso” wearing a blue shirt and “playing” an upbeat rhythm on an electronic keyboard. Nyan Cat meanwhile is the star of a looping video set to annoying music. The suit describes it as “a character with a cat’s face and a body resembling a horizontal breakfast bar with pink frosting sprinkled with light red dots” that “flies across the screen, leaving a stream of exhaust in the form of a bright rainbow in its wake.”

Both videos have racked up millions of views on YouTube and both have registered for copyright protection, meaning that when 5th Cell added their creations to Scribblenauts, it was in violation of that protection.

The creators of the videos therefore teamed up to take on Warner Bros and 5th Cell. “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,” they argue.

Interestingly, Christopher Torres, one of the plaintiffs, created the original Nyan Cat animation but he did not set it to the now famous music.

Warner Bros is charged with both copyright and trademark infringement.

Image: Gage Skidmore (via Flickr).



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