The makers of two of the biggest cat-based memes of all time – Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat – are taking on the might of Warner Bros and video-game maker 5th Cell Media in a dispute over intellectual property.
Charles L Schmidt, the creator of Keyboard Cat, and Christopher Orlando Torres, who conceived Nyan Cat, are suing Warner Bros and 5th Cell Media, the creator of the game Scribblenauts, for using Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat to market the game without any compensation for the creators.
In the court documents, Schmidt and Torres allege that Warner Bros, along with 5th Cell Media, knowingly and intentionally infringed their copyrights and trademarks by using Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat in the Scribblenauts games and most recently used them to promote and market their games without permission.
Schmidt’s Keyboard Cat is listed as No 2 on Current TV’s 50 Greatest Viral Videos and features Schmidt’s cat Fatso sitting upright and appearing to play a tune on a keyboard. It was one of the first memes to become a widespread internet viral phenomenon.
Keyboard Cat recently features in a US Starburst TV and online marketing and advertising campaign.
Torres’ Nyan Cat was described in the court documents as “a character with a cat’s face and a body resembling a horizontal breakfast bar with pink frosting sprinkled with light red dots, flies across the screen leaving a stream of exhaust in the form of a bright rainbow in its wake.”
Torres owns the copyright to Nyan Cat, which was the fifth most-watched video on YouTube in 2011 and won the Meme of the Year Award at the 2012 Webbys.