This Is Happening: Scribblenauts Sued Over Cat Memes

By Nathan Grayson on May 3rd, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

As of now, god, the devil, and dinosaurs are still considering their legal options.

Here at RPS, we make a policy of loving Scribblenauts in spite of its flaws, and sometimes we use it to construct elaborate, oddly poignant superhero parodies. And yet, even before DC license announcements entered the picture, I was always impressed by how carefully the series balanced on the glossy lip of pop culture without falling into a bottomless well of legal troubles. No, it’s never applied names (or any proper nouns at all) to its homages, but some of the candy coated likenesses are uncanny. So naturally, it’s finally happened: a lawsuit. But it didn’t come from Rick Astley, Barack Obama, or even a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man. Oh no. So then, who are 5th Cell’s mighty legal foes? Why, none other than the folks who created Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Internet.

Kotaku dug up the lawsuit, which alleges the following instances of trademark infringement against Keyboard Cat rights holder Charles Schmidt and Nyan Cat owner Christopher Orlando Torres:

“Plaintiffs accuse Warner Bros and 5th Cell of including, without any licenses or authorizations, the Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat characters in their original Scribblenauts videogame released in 2009, the 2010 Super Scribblenauts, 2011 Scribblenauts Remix, and the 2012 Scribblenauts Unlimited.”

“Defendants are accused of shamelessly using identifying ‘Nyan Cat’ and ‘Keyboard Cat’ by name to promote and market their games. Plaintiffs claim that Warner Bros and 5th Cell’s trademark infringement was willful and intentional and are requesting an award of treble damages and requesting the case be deemed exception under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a), thereby entitling Plaintiffs to an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees.”

Me-ouch, etc.

The lawsuit comes at an odd time, given that Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat have been easter eggs in various Scribblenauts games for years. But who knows? Maybe the not-quite-omniscient Internet cat deities just weren’t aware until now. I suppose that’s possible, though not exactly probable. UPDATE: Eurogamer obtained a statement from Torres, wherein he alleged that he and Schmidt have been “disrespected and snubbed each time as nothing more than nuisances for asking for fair compensation for our intellectual property.” Thus, a lawsuit was the last remaining option.

WB and 5th Cell have yet to make a statement on the matter, in spite of the very serious threat of an outer space rainbow pop-tart feline pressing down upon them. I have, however, sent emails to both, so we’ll see. But goodness, unknowable cosmic forces writing the script for the gaming industry’s existence, this is the best you could come up with for this spring’s titanic legal rumble? Previously, you brought us EA vs Activision and EA vs Zynga, but now you’re cashing in on Internet memes? For shame. For shame.

, , , .

122 Comments »

  1. Bhazor says:

    4Chan
    “We aint gotta explain shit”

    • jesemain06 says:

      If you think Patrick`s story is impressive…, five weaks-ago my son in law earnt $8989 workin 40 hours a month from their apartment and the’re neighbor’s mom`s neighbour done this for 3 months and made more than $8989 parttime on there pc. apply the guidelines on this site wow65.com
      (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

  2. MarcP says:

    Isn’t the eponymous song used in nyan cat ripped from somewhere else? The animation might be original, but the meme only got popular because it included someone’s else intellectual property to start with.

  3. Teovald says:

    Interesting, Nyan cat appears in many things ; Google for example has many Nyan easter eggs :
    - Google docs now features random animal avatars for anonymous users. One of them seems to be nyan cat : http://googlesystem.blogspot.fr/2013/04/anonymous-animals-in-google-drive.html
    - One of the tools for Android developers created by Google is logcat; by popular demand the icon of this tools has been changed to a nyandroid : https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=20386
    - Ice Cream Sandwich features an hidden NyanCat inspired animation.

    The difference may be that WB makes money from these, whereas it is just an easter egg for Google.

    • Bhazor says:

      Ice Cream Sandwich is such an adorable name. I’m tempted to call my next cat that.

      Well that or wainscotting.

    • solidsquid says:

      Apparently they’re quite happy to licence it to people, not sure what they charge for it though

      • Teovald says:

        I guess that must be the case. The ADT one is very weird then, paying just to change a 40×40 icon to a nyan cat in an obscure dev tool does not make a lot of sense.

    • povu says:

      And sueing Google is kinda hard to win at…

    • Milky1985 says:

      Yes and google don’t make any money at all from users of those products :P

      • RvLeshrac says:

        Google collects information from, almost literally, every single mouse movement you make on an adwords page. There is nothing Google owns or operates that they do not monetize in some fashion by collecting information and selling that information in aggregate for advertising.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      For all we know Google pays for those.

  4. Larkington says:

    Just when I thought internet meme creators couldn’t get any dumber, they go and do something like this…Aaand totally redeem themselves!

    …sorry. It’s too early.

    • bit_crusherrr says:

      So it’s ok for a company to use your trademark work in something they sell for profit without asking if it is a “meme”?

      • Chalky says:

        You can’t just pick some arbitrary point at which to start enforcing your trademark once enough people have violated it to make it popular. Nyan cat has been reproduced an infinite number of times and the only reason it is of any value is because they let that happen.

        Trademark law requires enforcement in order for trademarks to be valid precisely to prevent situations like this where you just sit back and wait for someone rich to fall into your trap then sue them.

        This is a perfect example of why trademark maintenance laws exist.

        • bit_crusherrr says:

          So what your saying is I should be able to print any “meme” onto a t-shirt and sell it without asking the original creator or trademark/copyright owner because thousands of people wrote some text on the picture and uploaded it to a image sharing site which means it’s public domain?

          • Chalky says:

            Correct.

            If you publish a website covered in Pepsi logos, you will get a trademark lawsuit or takedown request. Pepsi are required to send such takedown requests in order to keep their trademark. They are also required to USE their trademark.

            If Pepsi never sued anyone for using their trademark, or never used the trademark on products themselves, the trademark would become invalid.

            That is precisely the case here, this trademark has never been enforced or used by the owner.

            There is some leeway if it can be proved that the owner of the trademark considered a specific violation too minor to bother about, but it cannot used to justify never enforcing any violation in a situation when it is happening thousands of times all over the internet – especially when the only value in your trademark is the fact that people are violating it. It’s nonsense.

            In short, you can’t trademark some random thing then sit on your hands and wait for someone rich enough to accidentally violate it. That’s abusive, and the lawmakers have already thought of it.

            Further reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark#Maintaining_rights

          • mrmalodor says:

            This may come as a surprise to you, but there is a big predatory industry that’s based on suing people for allegedly infringing on trademarks and patents that the holder never ever uses. They just acquire patents and trademarks, do nothing with them and then sue people for damages. That’s how broken patent, trademark and copyright law is.

          • Chalky says:

            Patents are massively broken, as is copyright, but I always understood trademark law to be slightly better.

            This situation seems to specifically refer to trademark rather than copyright – which I guess is fortunate since the original meme uses copyright music without permission itself. I’d love to see someone argue that one.

          • Captain Joyless says:

            Wrong, Chalky.

            It’s for:

            copyright infringement
            trademark infringement
            lanham act violation
            unfair competition

            Try reading the actual Complaint instead of making assumptions about the nature of the case. The link is even in the damn story.

          • Milky1985 says:

            Its not patentsd but the trademark part still won’t fly, you HAVE to defend trademarks, they have not been defending it in various circumstances so it will be thrown out. The trademark on keyboard cat and nyan cat are both just word trademarks, NOT the iconic image (you can look this up on various free trademark search places) , also keyboard cat is not trademarked for video games (you have to be very specific on what areas you trademark things in )

            So the guy who is sueing for keyboard cat is going to get reemed in court, he has no case on the trademark side.

            Nyancat may have a bit more of a chance but still its only the name that is trademarked, not the image.

          • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

            Agree with Captain Joyless.

            Chalky should go read up, at the very least, on how copyright works before proudly flaunting his ignorance.

            One thing to correct CJ himself on – in tany country that signed the Berne Convention copyright is automatic – there’s no need to register (you register trademarks). You need to be able prove it was yourself that created it, but that can be achieved by methods as simple as sending yourself (or even better, a lawyer) a copy of whatever it is in the post, then leaving it unopened. Generally a better idea to be a bit more thorough though. :)

          • jrodman says:

            Except that chalky was (correctly) talking about trademarks.

            So flaunt your own ignorance, or something.

            Ever trying to relate trademark, copyrights, and patents will always lead to errors as they’re rather different in many ways.

          • WHS says:

            Hey, Captain Joyless: the Lanham Act and unfair competition claims essentially are trademark claims. The Lanham Act is the US trademark statute, and since the line between unfair competition and trademark is sort of fuzzy, litigants usually just claim violations of both.

            That leaves copyright, but as other posters have noted, it’s pretty dubious whether you could even copyright nyan cat.

        • Sir_Pete says:

          Nyan Cat has copyright (http://knowyourmeme.com/blog/interviews/qa-with-chris-torres-the-creator-of-nyan-cat).
          Phrase “Nyan Cat” seems like to be your trade mark.

          • solidsquid says:

            Character designs can’t be copyrighted because only a discrete creation is covered by copyright law. To get around this animation studios and such will trademark character designs instead (Micky, Tom Jerry, Bugs, etc). So it’s possibly, even likely if there’s enough money in the licencing, that they would trademark keyboard and nyan cats

          • Milky1985 says:

            They don’t have a trademark on the nyancat image, only the name so that might also hurt them

          • jrodman says:

            But NyanCat is pretty much a single discrete creation. It’s not like the character ever says or does anything, it’s just pop-tart-cat-with-animated-rainbow. That’s it. You can probably copyright that image and call it done.

        • Premium User Badge darkChozo says:

          Do we know that Nyan Cat has been reproduced in such a way as to invalidate the trademark? It’s been internet-copied a million times, sure, but I’d imagine that if they were moderately vigilant in at least contacting major offenders (anything commercial, mostly), they could still claim that they upheld the trademark and that other usage was either copyright (in the case of not-for-profit fan works) or trademark (saying “Nyan Cat”) fair use.

          IANAL, btw.

          • solidsquid says:

            It’s possible that it’s licensed under creative commons non-commercial licence, and that any for-profit groups have agreed to pay-for licences

        • Captain Joyless says:

          Good thing they have copyright over their respective meme cats, then.

          And even if they didn’t already have registered copyrights, we don’t actually know the extent to which they are enforcing their marks. Just because you think a meme is widely used doesn’t mean it’s actually been abandoned, and it would be up to the defendants to prove that the plaintiffs had abandoned their marks.

          IAAAL, btw.

      • Urthman says:

        My favorite part of all this is how they use the word “meme” as if it were a legitimate legal term like “trademark.”

  5. Low Life says:

    Oh man, those Guacamelee developers better watch their backs.

  6. Screamer says:

    “disrespected and snubbed each time as nothing more than nuisances for asking for fair compensation for our intellectual property.”

    Intellectual property? I don’t even… There’s nothing intellectual about it! :/

    • qrter says:

      That’s not how words work.

      • R10T says:

        That’s not how world work (sadly).

        Intellectual property has some meaning in nuclear program, but no one should be allowed to OWN an IDEA of rainbow farting flying cat.

        Also, “NYAN CAT owner”.

  7. Ephant says:

    I love how they used “horizontal breakfast bar with pink frosting sprinkled with light red dots” instead of pop-tart in the complaint.

    • smoke.tetsu says:

      Yes, it’s clearly a pop-tart. I bet they didn’t license or get permission from Kellogs to use a pop-tart as the body of the cat either! Especially if they are calling it a “horizontal breakfast bar”.

      • tungstenHead says:

        I’m pretty much positive that there are no copyright protections for food. There are trademarks for food branding, but so long as it’s a called a breakfast bar and not a Pop-Tart, it’s completely legal. Any patents that may have been held regarding Pop-Tarts would probably be expired by now, too.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          I’m pretty sure there are no copyright protections for geometric shapes on a cat. There are for trademarks. But cat clothing is not copyrightable. So, just claim it’s a cat in a square dress….?

        • smoke.tetsu says:

          Still I find it ironic that they are suing while at the same time tip-toeing around the fact that they are “borrowing” from someone else.

          Also, hell yeah geometric shapes are trademarked. What do you think logos are? Who said putting geometric shapes on a cat invalidates that?

  8. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    It’s a pretty weak meme if it’s a copyright.
    For something to be a strong replicator it should probably be freely available for copy, dissemination and repetition. Of course this cat thing wasn’t going to be a long lasting meme to the human species, anyway.

  9. Shivoa says:

    “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

    Just to remind people what the original protection was listed as from which this spat descends. My understanding is the trademarks were not violated (as 5th Cell avoid proper nouns) and so this is a copyright issue. The two people are making the claim that they not only own the creations of their own work (or at least paid for access to with original memes that were works of infringement before all parties agreed on a way to profit) but also the concepts of a shirt wearing cat playing a keyboard and a cat with a poptart body shitting rainbows. I wish them an expensive and fruitless legal battle trying to defend that claim but I wouldn’t be totally blown away if they get rich via settlement or even win. I hope they shouldn’t and feel bad about it, but law is sometimes a bit crazy.

    • Premium User Badge darkChozo says:

      As I recall, this is a trademark issue. Images are trademarkable, and besides, I think these were accessible via their “proper” names in-game.

      • ZamFear says:

        As I recall, this is a trademark issue
        It is both. They are making copyright and trademark claims in the lawsuit.

        • Premium User Badge darkChozo says:

          Mmm, okay, yeah. Specifically, reading through the actual suit, it looks like in both cases, they’re claiming copyright on the image and have pending image trademarks. So the actual names probably don’t actually matter (well, probably, I’m not a lawyer).

          • Captain Joyless says:

            Why does everyone express a legal opinion and then say “well, maybe not, I’m not a lawyer”?

            WHY HAVE THIS DISCUSSION IF YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT?

          • Premium User Badge darkChozo says:

            Because discussion stimulates the mind and perhaps can result in a greater degree of understanding of the relevant issues for involved parties?

            I would add a similar disclaimer for any remotely technical field with which I wasn’t acquainted. It indicates that my opinion is purely speculative and probably wrong.

          • cowardly says:

            So one should never ever talk about anything one knows little about? How on earth do we get to talk to people who know about things if we won’t even talk about them? He expressed a reasonable point based on actually having read through the suit iself, which is more than most commenters do. If you want to engage in a conversation about it, please do, but there is no need to get annoyed at his honesty in admitting he isn’t a trained lawyer. Intelligent opinions can be expressed by peopple who are not experts, as long as they use their brains.

          • Captain Joyless says:

            No, he didn’t express “a reasonable point of view.”

            There is an actual answer to the topic. This is not an opinion question. There is a right answer and a wrong answer. It’s not a topic for discussion. In answer to your own question, if you don’t know something, you, I don’t know, maybe ASK A QUESTION INSTEAD OF POSITING A BULLSHIT RESPONSE?

            Law + Facts = Answer. If you don’t know the law, and you don’t know the facts, you have nothing, period. If you know the law, but not the facts, you can at least say “If the facts are X, then the answer is Y. But if the facts are X2, then the answer is Z.”

            Hey guys, I think if you had 5 oranges, and then you added 3 oranges, you’d have 7 oranges. But I don’t know, I’m not a fruit stand operator. Don’t get mad at me for just expressing my opinion, dude.

          • jrodman says:

            Joyless, you are certainly well named.
            Also you are really adding to this conversation.

            Saying “shut up” x infinity always improves discourse and makes people smarter.

          • Premium User Badge darkChozo says:

            Analogously speaking, what I said was more along the lines of “I have 5 oranges here, and 3 oranges here. I never learned how to add, but I’m guessing that together that’s like 7 oranges.”

            (technically, my saying “image trademark” was made up and probably incorrect, so maybe instead the second thing should be 3ranges or something).

            Regardless, a correction would have sufficed. Considering that this is very much not a forum for legal experts and that I was rather upfront with my ignorance, your response was roughly the equivalent of going to a middle school and yelling at the students for not knowing how to do calculus, if you’ll excuse the US-centric metaphor.

          • arccos says:

            “There is an actual answer to the topic.”

            No, actually there probably isn’t. That’s why judges have split decisions in almost every case that goes to the highest levels of the court and companies settle rather than risking a loss.

            There is no answer to a dice toss, but there is a result.

    • kyrieee says:

      The game recognizes “Nyan Cat” so the name is in the game.

  10. Banana_Republic says:

    “This is Happening…”

    This can’t be happening.

    • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

      Can this really be happening?

      Tell her, tell her not to go near the window with the tree, just tell her!

    • Dowr says:

      Can anything be happening? Is this life really here or are we just the visual manifestation of a child’s mind?

      Who knows, but what I do know is yes: meme creators are suing a games developer.

  11. Caiman says:

    In other important news, spots were found on a zebra’s arse that resembled somebody important, scientists calculated that the chances of getting gravel stuck between the gaps in your shoe tread was exactly equal to getting it stuck in your car tyre tread, and finally salt is bad for you again. And now, back to politics.

  12. Didden says:

    I’m in the wrong job.

  13. mrmalodor says:

    1) Create a depiction of an animal playing an instrument.
    2) Exploit trademark law.
    3) ???
    4) PROFIT

  14. Innovacious says:

    I find it funny how at the moment a lot of people are up in arms about this new legislation that will allow people to take images they find on the Internet and make profit from them (As long as they have proof that they at least tried a little bit to find who created it). And at the same time everyone is against this.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Yes, because in no way did they draw a cat with a pink rectangle and a rainbow. Nope, it’s a photo from Google images… or is it?

  15. BockoPower says:

    They look more like Nyan Mouse and Keyboard Fox than cats. But ye, you can say they stole the idea I guess.

  16. Danda says:

    These memes are probably 0.0001% of the content of the games, being generous. Now they will be patched out from the games, ruining the fun for everybody and leading to self-censorship in future games. Well done, Sue To Win guys.

    On the other hand, if Warner Bros paid to use other characters, why didn’t they license these? Just because there’s not a big corporation behind them?

    • Captain Joyless says:

      If by “self-censorship” you mean “not using stuff other people own” in your game, yeah.

      This is exactly like if someone just randomly put Superman in their game without licensing the use of Superman. You just can’t do that under the law. Oh, but maybe it should be ok if I put the owner of Superman in the end credits? “Thanks for creating Superman”?

      This isn’t going to “ruin the fun” for anyone. This is going to be “fine, here’s the money we should have paid you plus some extra for not asking permission first.” And then in the future there will still be Nyan Cat in Scribblenauts, except the guy who owns Nyan Cat gets paid like he should have.

      If you don’t like it, call your senator / MP. Good luck with that.

      Your comment is a perfect example of ignorant internet commenters who have an opinion about something without knowing a single thing about the topic.

      • Danda says:

        Please read the second part of my comment.

        I thought these memes only appeared as easter eggs. I posted my comment before I knew that they used one of these memes in a TRAILER. I assumed this was like E.T. showing up for a couple of seconds in the Star Wars films, not like Hulk appearing in The Avengers.

        Of course they deserve to get compensated, but now they are making it look like Scribblenauts owes its success to a couple of easter eggs. And that is a silly fiction which they are mantaining now to get money, but it’s also a precedent that will keep reference fests like Borderlands 2 from happening.

        http://borderlands.wikia.com/wiki/Borderlands_2_Easter_eggs

        Should Gearbox pay millions to the Double Rainbow guy too? Or is it just a 5 seconds joke in a 50-hour game?

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Make one thing not inspired, similar or in imitation of one other thing. Then come back, thanks.
        Else we could point to all of the IP industry. All of it.

        • Captain Joyless says:

          Yes, that’s why copyright and trademark eventually (or potentially, anyway) return things to the public domain. So that they can be used as inspiration for the future. But Congress secures to creators, for limited times, the exclusive right to their creations.

          • WHS says:

            Honestly, you don’t know anything about copyright and trademark and you’re just spreading misinformation every time you post. They are very different things; trademarks are never “returned to the public domain.” Copyrighted material is (after many, many decades), but there are huge limitations to A. what can be copyrighted, and B. what a valid copyright can be enforced against.

  17. captainbipto says:

    From a creator of Nyan Cat:

    “By the way, the original Blog that reported on this lawsuit has many errors in it. ”Nyan Cat” was a valid copyright as of April 2011, and Scribblenauts unlimited wasn’t released until late last year (2012).

    When I first heard of Nyan Cat being used commercially in Scribblenauts Unlimited it was in the debut trailer for the game:

    http://youtu.be/9lkqdQsLcQE

    http://i.imgur.com/hcWYl.png
    http://scribblenauts.wikia.com/wiki/Nyan_Cat

    Previous Scribblenaut games have featured Keyboard Cat too. Even 5th Cell Producer admits using our creations:
    http://www.vgblogger.com/vgb-feature-scribblenauts-unlimited-qa-with-5th-cell-producer-brittany-aubert/18683/

    We reached out to the companies in hopes of working out an amicable resolution of the issue, yet were disrespected and snubbed each time as nothing more than nuisances for asking for fair compensation for our intellectual property. That’s not right. 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 Scribblenaut 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. Meanwhile, 5th Cell recently negotiated proper rights for several Nintendo characters for their games. Just because popularity with millions of fans has caused Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat to become famous by virtue of their viral or meme nature, doesn’t give these companies a right to take our work for free in order to make profits for themselves, especially considering too that they would be the first to file lawsuits against people who misappropriate their copyrights and trademarks. It just isnt fair. I’ve been working alongside with the creator of the music and the lady who uploaded it to YouTube since the start. There are many reputable companies that have respected our rights and negotiated fees to use our characters commercially. Warner Bros. and 5th Cell should have done the same.

    Since Warner Bros. and 5th Cell chose to act as if we had no rights in characters we created, filing a lawsuit was the only way we had to protect our intellectual property rights from being used for others’ commercial profit without our consent. Too often normal artists like us don’t have the means and resources to protect our rights against big media corporations who use our work for their own profit without permission. We are looking here just to be treated fairly and to be fairly compensated for our creative work.”

  18. Captain Joyless says:

    Nathan,

    cheers for linking to the complaint itself. It’s a big help for people who want to read the actual allegations and see what the claims are based on. For example, it makes a big difference if we are talking about copyright or about trademark. (Here, the copyrights are registered but the trademarks are still pending.)

  19. MeestaNob says:

    Hopefully a future update will include a picture of the meme cat jerks if you type in ‘cash grab’.

  20. Lemming says:

    So, am I understand this right:

    Meme creators, from 4chan, home of piracy, ‘free internet’, anonymous etc are suing a company for copyright infringement?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think anyone who created a meme should be able to claim copyright – it’s a created work after all – but the underlying hypocrisy here is interesting.

    • Entitled says:

      Yeah, because every individual who has ever been to chan must have the exact same views about IP laws, right?

      I personally think that all copyright holders in the world can go fuck themselves, but these here not more so than the Big Content.

    • kelvarnsen says:

      Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat aren’t memes created by 4chan posters, so that aspect of your post is wrong. There are many 4chan memes that have been used for financial gain, with no lawsuits being filed. A large proportion of the “rage faces” used and abused by Reddit were originally created on the various boards of 4chan, and now they are used in advertising, commercial products, and sold on t-shirts. So no hypocrisy.

    • Innovacious says:

      Every Internet meme was created anonymously and on 4chan, right?

  21. Rollin says:

    Isn’t the whole point of a meme that it goes viral and gets reproduced all over the place? I think starting a meme and then suing someone big when it catches on is pretty dumb and an obvious cash grab.

    Hopefully Goliath stomps on David this time around.

  22. gulag says:

    Well, this is what you get when you lobby hard for strict copyright/trademark laws with no avenue for fair use, mash-ups, derivative works, etc.

    Turns out you are subject to the laws you paid for, no matter how dumb they are. Imagine that.

    Well played WB, well played.

  23. Nim says:

    ‘Eurogamer obtained a statement from Torres, wherein he alleged that he and Schmidt have been “disrespected and snubbed each time as nothing more than nuisances for asking for fair compensation for our intellectual property.” ‘

    I’m sorry but that is the correct way to treat two persons who believe that this cat-based nonsense constitutes intellectual property and I am being very moderate and tolerant in my response right now.

  24. Premium User Badge Simplisto says:

    While I think the use of Nyan Cat is up for debate, the fact that someone is making a claim to Keyboard Cat is ridiculous. It’s a cat playing a keyboard – a keyboard cat.

    If the claim is upheld, I’d highly advise any of you who have ever uploaded a video of an animal doing something funny should change the title accordingly so that you too can ‘own’ it.

    Have a video of a fox on a trampoline? Trampoline Fox! Got a video of a dog drinking from the toilet? Toilet Dog!

    Swear Parrot! Sausageroll Pigeon!

    OWN THEM ALL!

    YEEEEEAH!

    OWN THEM ALL!

    • giantspacenewt says:

      As the copyright holder for the Sausegeroll Pigeon IP, I request that you remove all reference to it from your comment. Failure to do so will result in legal action taken against you.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      I think someone making a claim to Citizen Kane is ridiculous. It’s a citizen named Kane – a Citizen Kane.

      • Premium User Badge Simplisto says:

        I agree!

        Wait… you were being sarcastic?

        Huh… I see…

    • Captain Joyless says:

      Seriously you might have written, hands down, the most misguided and ignorant comment on this entire thread.

      • jrodman says:

        Pithy, insightful, accurate!

        Oh yes, so misguided.

        Oh yes you might say, blah blah keyboard cat blah blah specific performance blah blah blah but fucking no one cares, it’s just a cat playing a keyboard.

      • Geen says:

        ….WOOOOOSH! RIGHT OVER HIS HEAD

      • Premium User Badge Simplisto says:

        I am okay with this.

  25. GeminiathXL says:

    Considering the usage of the memes in scribblenauts is FAR from damaging to the “owners” of the meme, I find this suit an act of dickish Moneygrubbery.

    I’m expecting new memes emerging from this laughable suit.

  26. Mad Hamish says:

    Am I the only one seeing this as a kind of an FU to Warner Brothers for trying to have their cake and eat it it? They are quite used to hefting their weight around to attack anyone who goes near their copyright and now we see they are profiting off someone elses.

    I’m alright with this, shame about the Dev getting stuck in the middle I hope their not liable for anything.

  27. sinister agent says:

    Here’s hoping the response from WB and 5th Cell is “Piss off, you ambulance chasing arseholes”.

  28. dE says:

    Well, it worked for Schnappi the crocodile. I have no doubt it will work for Nyan Cat too.

  29. DrZhark says:

    Every now and then I get requests from players to add Nyan Cats to Minecraft Mo’Creatures…. good thing I didn’t do anything like that, now that they are all sue-y with it

    • TechnicalBen says:

      I hope you don’t have horses. You know Dethesda own Horses!

  30. fuggles says:

    What possible damage can they be claiming? I don’t see how this harmed sales of keyboard cat or nyan cat, although it begs the question of whether nyan has paid to use that poptart image.

    • Syphus says:

      That’s funny, I thought I was the only one who saw the Pop Tart irony.

  31. geldonyetich says:

    Hah, this should be interesting. What’s up for grabs is the very idea of if you can copyright a meme. If they’re successful in determining the case, it may be the end of memes as we know them, because the only reason they worked was due to their ability to be freely bandied about.

    That, and memes are short-lived things. Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat are hardly in their heyday anymore. They should be thanking the Scribblenaut developers for name dropping them in hopes somebody will hit up their pages and tag their ad revenue banners, not suing them.

  32. Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

    Hands up everyone who has no idea what Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat are.

    Just me then? I’ll get me coat.

    • jonahcutter says:

      While I’ve unfortunately been subjected to the mind-numbingly z-rate Keyboard Cat meme many times, I’ve never before actually encountered the “I’m suing you over the intellectual rights of my Pop-Tart-bodied” Nyan Cat meme.

  33. Premium User Badge Hodge says:

    Am I violating their trademark if I use the phrase ‘cynical greedfucked cockwits’?

  34. Panda Powered says:

    They are okay with people using it in non-profit stuff but give WB a dose of their own lawyer-throwing medicine. Just serves WB right as they do exactly the same to anyone using their IP as easter-eggs without permission. Just because its a meme the creators doesn’t have any rights over it? (Btw Batman etc. are memes too).

    • Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

      (Btw Batman etc. are memes too)

      Not sure if retarded or…

      • TechnicalBen says:

        I’m Batman.

        Not sure if…

      • Captain Joyless says:

        They’re using “meme” in the sense of a “unit of idea” not just “internet jokes.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme

        • jrodman says:

          meme doesn’t refer to “idea unit” but rather “self perpetuating idea” in the sense that it uses humans (or other thinking things) to perpetuate itself analogously to how genes are now seen as sometimes to act against the interests of the species in the interest of the gene.

          • RProxyOnly says:

            What a lot of overblown bullshit.. yeah, I’ve read and heard the same crap that you have, but the difference is I don’t swallow pseudo-intelectualism by the bucket load.

            Giving a simple human psychological phenomena, the need to have common ground, to be part of a ‘tribe’ a motivation of it’s own as if it is somehow an entity in it’s own right. as if it was somehow alive in it’s own right.

            People who spread this kind of pap should be slapped hard for muddying the waters of real worthwhile rumination and thought.

  35. zeekthegeek says:

    I for one hope these Meme creators lose all their money fighting WB’s legal team and wind up on the street. Memes are the cancer of the internet.

  36. Syphus says:

    “Keyboard Cat” seems like a stupid copyright to me since the only thing that should be copyrightable is the video. A Cat playing a piano does not seem like I think you should be able to copyright.

    As far as Nyan Cat goes, I very much doubt they got permission from Kellogg’s for the use of their Pop Tart image.

    • jrodman says:

      But what about a Casio keyboard?? Ehh? ehh?

      • Syphus says:

        It’s clearly a Yamaha in the game (I actually went in to the game earlier to check, and for all you can tell it might even be a harpsichord).

  37. Donmai says:

    How come the “creator” of the nyan cat hasn’t been sued himself yet?
    http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm11509720
    http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm13455867

  38. lizard455 says:

    “accused of shamelessly using identifying ‘Nyan Cat’ and ‘Keyboard Cat’ by name to promote and market their games.”

    Heh. Everybody knows we buy the Scribblenauts games for Long Cat… I mean he’s been in there since the first one!

    • arkano0103 says:

      honestly until today i didn’t even know that those two were in there XD