Warner Bros Pictures and 5th Cell are sued for the improper use of the popular Internet memes of Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat. Christopher Orland Torres and Charles Schmidt filed a lawsuit against the said companies for infringing copyright and trademark. Such claim is based upon the presence of Torres’ Nyan Cat and Schmidt’s keyboard Cat in the video game Scribblenauts, a game developed by both companies.
About Cat Characters
For those who do not now the cat characters, here is a brief background of them. Keyboard Cat is a meme created from Schmidt’s cat named Fatso. The cat wears a T-shirt while playing a piano keyboard. The cat’s debut was on YouTube in the year 2007. Four years later, another cat appeared to create by Torres as an 8-bit GIF image. In the Scribblenauts game, they are found in Easter egg appearing several times in the game.
Reasons for Suing
Both creators were annoyed. They said that the popularity of their “cats” as an Internet meme does not give them (both companies) a right to make use of their creation for free just to profit themselves. Torres and Schmidt are the first people to file a lawsuit against those who improperly use copyrights and trademarks. The Keyboard Cat copyright was secured by Schmidt in 2010 while Torres obtained the Nyan Cat copyright a year after. They have registered their Nyan Cat and Fatso trademark by submitting their copyright applications in the U.S. Patent Office. Using their characters is not a problem as long as companies have licensed such characters properly for profitable use. There would be no problem either if the characters are used for non-profit activities as long as the license is properly acquired.
Torres and Schmidt tried to reach out to Warner Bros Pictures and 5th Cell in a hope that they would be able to settle with an amicable solution. Since they felt disregarded by the companies, they went ahead with their decision to file a lawsuit. In a message, the two creators further explained their reason. They pointed out that they need to be treated and compensated fairly for their work as normal artists such as them have no means to protect their against these big corporations. Nevertheless, this is not the first time that someone gets sued. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of them. Schmidt filed a suit against a T-shirt maker who included Keyboard Cat designs.