Yesterday we told you that Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat creators has filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. Interactive and developer 5th Cell for using their copyrighted creations without permission. Today, Christopher Torres, the creator of Nyan Cat, has reached out to Eurogamer claiming that the lawsuit has been misreported. He claims that he was unaware of his meme’s use until it appeared in the debut trailer for Scribblenauts Unlimited, which was released in 2012. Nyan Cat was copyrighted in 2011.
Torres goes on to state that both he and Keyboard Cat creator Charles Schmidt reached out to Warner Bros. to try and resolve the dispute amicably, but that they were snubbed for doing so:
“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.”
Torres also mentions that 5th Cell took extra precautions to make sure players could not create copyrighted entities in the game by producing a pop up error when a copyrighted name is typed in. Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat are the only characters that appear in the game without proper licensing, as 5th Cell obtained proper licensing for the Nintendo characters that can be summoned in the game. Torres feels that this is unfair of Warner Bros. Interactive, which zealously protects its own trademarks and copyrights against the same infringing use.
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.
Torres hopes that by setting the record straight on why the filing was introduced, that gamers will realize Warner Bros. Interactive had the opportunity to fix this mess and license characters from their creators properly, but chose instead not to do so at every turn.