Scribblenauts dev, publisher face suit over use of Nyan Cat, Keyboard Cat

The creators of Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat have not taken kindly to the inclusion of their popular memes in the Scribblenauts series of games and is...

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The creators of Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat have not taken kindly to the inclusion of their popular memes in the Scribblenauts games. The two are suing developer 5th Cell and publisher Warner Bros for copyright and trademark infringement.

Keyboard Cat creator Charles Schmidt and Nyan Cat creator Christopher Torres both have filed suit alleging that both 5th Cell and Warner Bros. used the likenesses without permission in Scribblenauts (2009), Super Scribblenauts (2010), Scribblenauts Remix (2011) and Scribblenauts Unlimited (2012). "Compounding their infringements, 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," the suit said. The plaintiffs are asking for unspecified damages and attorneys' fees.

Trademark attorney Milord Keshishian blogged that, while there are portions of the case that have merit, the fact that the likenesses were first used before copyrights were registered in 2010 should keep the duo from getting statutory damages or attorneys fees. Also, the delay in registering for the trademarks--five years from when the respective videos went viral on the Internet--could be an issue in the case.

Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

  • reply
    May 2, 2013 2:00 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Scribblenauts dev, publisher face suit over use of Nyan Cat, Keyboard Cat.

    The creators of Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat have not taken kindly to the inclusion of their popular memes in the Scribblenauts series of games and is...

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      May 2, 2013 2:02 PM

      Oh dear Bob, they've cranked the dial all the way to Streisand!

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      May 2, 2013 2:37 PM

      Wow, thanks, now i can never enjoy keyboard cat or nyan cat ever again. What a turd.

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      May 2, 2013 2:50 PM

      All the other 40,000 inclusions of the memes that included advertisements, or were etsy things, or even clothing... those? Fine. Useless easter egg elements in a game? WOAH NOW GOTTA SUE THAT MIGHT BE MONEY THERE!

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        May 2, 2013 4:01 PM

        These guys have ACTUAL MONEY to settle out of court with! Jackpot!

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          May 2, 2013 4:54 PM

          Yeah, it's easier to go after one target that has notable pockets that tossed in casual references for shits and giggles than going after the thousands of people directly, but disparately, profiting off of the IP.

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      May 2, 2013 4:12 PM

      I don't normally use the term douche nozzle, but when I do, it's in reference to frivolous lawsuits.

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      May 2, 2013 4:15 PM

      What a couple of dongles

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      May 2, 2013 6:13 PM

      Streisand effect in 3... 2... 1...

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      May 2, 2013 6:37 PM

      Consider that Nyan Cat originated out of a NicoNicoDouga video from July 2010, that featured the Vocaloid Hatsune Miku saying "nya!" ("meow!") repeatedly.

      Someone else then used a different synthesis engine, UTAU, to change the sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EuPsXanYzY

      Anyway, that's the origin of the audio part.