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Warner Bros. being sued over memes in Scribblenauts

copyright-attorney-trademark-sue-nyan-cat-keyboard-cat-Scribblenauts

Warner Bros. has always been one of the biggest lobbyist for copyright protection for their movies and games, so it’s ironic we find them as a defendant in a copyright case. The plaintiffs are Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat creators Christopher Torres and Charles Schmidt, who claim Warner Bros. and developer 5th Cell infringed on their copyright by using their characters without permission.

Both Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat can be summoned into the game by typing their respective names in all Scribblenauts games, including Scribblenauts, Super Scribblenauts, Scribblenauts Remix, and Scribblenauts Unlimited, the latter of which is a Wii U title. The official complaint filing reads as follows:

“For the past three years, WB, along with game developer 5th, have knowingly and intentionally infringed plaintiffs’ copyrights and trademarks by using ‘Nyan Cat’ and Fatso’s image in WB’s top selling ‘Scribblenauts’ games. Including, most recently, ‘Scribblenauts Unlimited’, which WB released in 2011.”

The lawsuit also hilariously compares the WB shield logo to a meme, which is describes Warner Bros. lawyers as zealously protecting. I’ve never considered the WB logo a meme, but it is a trademarked representation of the company that should be protected as all logos are. Whether these two have a leg to stand on remains to be seen. What do you think of the lawsuit?

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  • tronic307

    Trolling for Dollar$.

  • HSN1

    Wait… Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat are copyrighted?!

    • http://waluigi.com/ Waluigi

      Expecting not copyrighted? TOO BAD! COPYRIGHT TIME!!!

  • Peter

    Where is my european version of Scrobblenauts Unlimited? That is all I wanna know…

    • http://about.me/overlordror Ashley King

      This is likely one factor holding up that release. Right now if the plaintiffs win, Warner Bros. won’t be responsible for damages outside of the US.

    • Jeffrey Debris

      Same here, I’ve been waiting for the game to be released for ages. I even paid for it already… :(

    • Møhåmmęd Jårmøn

      It’s really not that worth it. The game is extremely short.

      • BL4CKSH33P

        I dont mind that… what i do mind is not being rewarded for cleverness creativity. The same thing happens no matter what you use to complete the objectives… that are extremely simple. So it got boring.

        • Møhåmmęd Jårmøn

          Yeah that’s true. It did get boring really fast

          • BL4CKSH33P

            wonder which asshole downvoted us lol

          • Møhåmmęd Jårmøn

            Probably the guys at WB lol

    • http://www.mpt-online.eu/ Sylux

      I have no clue but honestly I’m affraid it won’t come at all anymore because it has to use proper (UK) English and also German, French, Italian etc, the game is months overdue. I hope it still comes for those who are eagerly waiting for it. But I seriously doubting it, then this lawsuit ain’t helping either…

  • Morits Lian

    Why?
    Why are people so evil?

    • Alex

      Not evil more like very greedy.

      • Morits Lian

        Downvoting like a boss.

        • Alex

          I didn’t down vote you, I up voted you.

          • Morits Lian

            And I actually meant to say “Someone’s downvoting” but I got cut off so I was gonna edit it later

    • Silent

      More like greedy and very stupid.

  • http://www.youtube.com/azhood321 AZHood

    Schmidt and Torres did not submit trademark applications for
    Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat until after the first Scribblenauts game was
    released, which could hurt the pair’s case.

    • Retro Cool

      Tho, would it not fall under the Parody law of such things?

      • wiiudaily

        I think Warner Bros are covered under the fair use and parody law.

  • Kalai3

    This is stupid. Nyan cat is all over the internet and they don’t complain about its use there. They’re only kicking up a fuss now because a company that they could get a lot of money from is using it.

    • JumpMan

      1) i totally agree with you. 2) I LOVE YOUR ADIPOSE AVATAR! <3

      • Kalai3

        Thanks. :)

    • Laud

      Welcome to America.

      If you make money we’ll find a way to sue you.

      • Nintedward

        WHO THE HELL IS NYAN CAT ?

    • crocodileman94

      Exactly what I was going to say.

      btw, why can you sue people for the most ridiculous stuff in America?

      • Sdudyoy

        I have no idea.

      • Retro Cool

        YES. Remember a long time ago, someone sued Dunkin Donuts for the coffee being to hot. The woman (I believe) spilled it on herself after taking a sip because she did not know when you buy hot coffee, IT IS HOT and WON!

        • http://about.me/overlordror Ashley King

          Excuse me but this is completely factually wrong. The case you’re referring to is Stella Liebeck vs. McDonald’s, who sued because her coffee was too hot. The thing is, McDonald’s was repeatedly warned that they were serving their coffee at near boiling temperatures.

          If you think this case is frivolous you have no idea the pain and suffering this 79 year old woman went through. She had to receive multiple SKIN GRAFTS to fix the coffee burns. So before you spout inaccurate information, read up on the cases instead of listening to what the media is telling you. Don’t believe me? The following link is a VERY GRAPHIC image of the burns Liebeck received from her coffee.

          NSFW: http://harmfuldruginfocenter.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/mcdonalds.jpg

          Factual Account of the Case:

          http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm

          • Kalai3

            Yikes…

          • Retro Cool

            thank you for the correcting me on that case.

          • http://about.me/overlordror Ashley King

            No worries. I didn’t want to seem like a bitch, but it really irks me when people spout, “Oh in America you can sue because coffee is too hot!” when that case was actually a legitimate reason to sue.

          • Arthur Jarret

            Ashley is one of the few reasons why gaming makes you smarter.

          • Guest

            Do not get me wrong, I feel bad for the woman, but this statement below shows no common sense whatsoever to me

            “After receiving the order, the grandson pulled his car forward and stopped momentarily so that Liebeck could add cream and sugar to her coffee. Liebeck placed the cup between her knees and attempted to remove the plastic lid from the cup. As she removed the lid, the entire contents of the cup spilled into her lap”

            Call me heartless but i have no sympathy for those who do not use common sense.

          • Flamingoathere

            Common sense or not, accidents happen. The point is that a woman should not be burned that severely if the coffee was prepared at normal temperatures. McDonald’s prepared the coffee with temperatures too high, and caused severe damage to someone. She had every right to sue.

          • BL4CKSH33P

            Wait shouldn’t mcdonalds have the RIGHT to make coffee as hot as they want?I mean as long as they tell you its hot, which is stupid already unless you ordered iced coffee.

          • Flamingoathere

            Whether they should or shouldn’t have the right to serve coffee however hot they want is entirely opinionated. The fact is though, that right now they don’t have that right. There are these things called regulations, which every industry has to meet.

          • BL4CKSH33P

            HAHA I’m just fucking with you, I have to mess with people who have that “RARA GO ‘MERICA” attitude. But I guess what you previously said “In ‘Merica we have these things called rights” That means you are wrong you don’t have rights or McDonalds would have… said rights.

          • Flamingoathere

            My “attitude” comes from the same place as Ashely K. I too hate it when people make snarky comments about America, like we’re full of idiots or something. We are a modern country with rights with people that like to exercise them. Just because McDonald’s can’t serve their customers coffee at whatever temperature they want, doesn’t mean they don’t have rights. Don’t act all coy and ignorant. I don’t believe that you’re stupid enough to think that America is the country where you can do whatever you want.

          • BL4CKSH33P

            Of course its not where you can do what you want BUT it is so damn proud that it is… get it? The mixture of arrogance and ignorance is why people just have to make those “snarky” remarks. Because America IS full of idiots, greedy idiots.

            How is McDonalds right to serve coffee at what ever temperature opinionated, but your right to sue because your dumbass got burnt by hot coffee not opinionated?

          • Cerus98

            It was still a frivolous lawsuit and a waste of taxpayer money. While I sympathize with the situation, no person in their right mind would put a flimsy cup of hot coffee (whether its 100F or 180F) between their knees and open the lid. It was overblown in the media as most suits against businesses are. Had she not been elderly (their skin is more sensitive and delicate) and wearing thick cotton pants (absorbing and holding the hot liquid against her skin) she would not have suffered nearly as much skin damage – no more than minor sunburn.

            Coffee from a home coffee machine would cause the same burns under the above circumstances. I hate to say it but a younger person would have been able to react fast enough to remove the pants thereby avoiding burns. The cup was labeled hot as well. Yes I know it was argued that it wasn’t large enough but how large do warnings that should be common sense need to be? It’s just like all the BS over requiring fast food menus to post nutritional information or to make cigarettes labels bigger. If you don’t know by now that french fries and cigarettes are unhealthy then no amount of labeling will fix that. As the saying goes, you can’t fix stupid.

          • Guest

            Isn’t that her fault for not using a freaking cup holder, you know, that thing that was invented to prevent things like this? Yes, they served the really hot coffee, but she is the one responsible for putting the coffee in her lap when she could have easily used a cup holder. People not using common sense like that is why people can make a lot of money for making a bad decision.

          • http://www.facebook.com/AJ.Fowl Andrew Chambers

            There are quite a few cars that don’t have cupholders.

      • Flamingoathere

        Because we’re one of those countries where people have things called rights. Being able to take things to court is one of them. Just because you sue also doesn’t mean you are going to win, you have to have a strong case developed.

        • Silent

          Yeah, in America you have the right to be a d**khead. The right to sue someone for using a meme that has been all over the internet. The right to be greedy and sue someone if they are successful. But it doesnt happen it all places in the US. IMO, too much rights make some people think they are glass sculptures.

        • https://www.facebook.com/BlueLightningTechnicalServices Bob Wilkerson

          IS that why people can sue a fast food chain because they spilled their hot coffee in a cup clearly labeled with a warning of Hot and get millions or a home invader can sue and win when they hurt themselves in the act of robbing your home?

          • Flamingoathere

            You should really look at Ashley’s post about that, otherwise you just look ignorant.

          • https://www.facebook.com/BlueLightningTechnicalServices Bob Wilkerson

            Forgive me if this sounds ignorant and I feel bad for the woman that got burnt but the burns were partially because she didn’t exercise caution and opened the cup in a car to add cream. Was McDonald’s partially at fault for making their coffee hot… yes but my point is many people are careless things that can harm them and then sue for their carelessness. I guess maybe it is just me but if something is marked CAUTION: HOT I would not open it in a car and not on a unstable surface next to sensitive skin. If the coffee was closer to the 150 degree temp that most places serve coffee at vs the 170-180 degree the burns would have been less severe but still pretty bad. Should her medical bills have been paid and compensation for her recovery… by all means yes but nearly 3 million??? Especially when she put it between her legs and squeezed and when she removed the lid the flimsy Styrofoam gave in? I guess maybe they should add DO NOT OPEN UNLESS ON A SAFE STABLE SURFACE AWAY FROM SKIN. Some of this is due to lack of common sense and patience on the lady’s part.

          • http://www.facebook.com/AJ.Fowl Andrew Chambers

            Well I’m sure they’ll add that to the cups now.

        • BL4CKSH33P

          In ‘merica you can even have terrible grammar when speaking about your magnificent country lol. Can’t wait to leave. Btw you should check the rights you have in the U.S. compared to nations like Canada and Singapore.

          • Flamingoathere

            And since you’re so educated on grammar, you would know that grammar is largely subjective, and that there is nothing wrong with my post. Why should I check out the rights in Canada and Singapore? Granted they may be interesting, but they aren’t dong me any good being an American.

          • BL4CKSH33P

            Dude, you put were instead of where. My point is they have more rights than you do, and you don’t see them suing people over stupid shit all the time.

          • Flamingoathere

            I apologize for my spelling error. Do you honestly think that out of all of my posts so far, that one error warrants you telling me I have terrible grammar?

            Just because I don’t get information about frivolous lawsuits in Canada or Singapore, doesn’t mean they don’t happen too. I’m not sure what you’re getting at though. Is exercising your legal rights a bad thing in your opinion? I for one think it is great that we have the right to debate an issue in modern countries, just like we are doing right now.

          • BL4CKSH33P

            Umm yes, I do. Joking, everybody makes grammatical errors, don’t get so worked up. (but its mostly the americans).

            Maybe they do but clearly not as often or as petty as the lawsuits in the states and they don’t get much publicity and they are dismissed and the idiots are treated as they should be treated, like idiots not heroes who need sympathy for being an idiot. What I’m getting at is that I think people should not have the right to behave likes asses? why should they? Why should you be able to try and take my money because you are an Idiot? Your “snarky” remark about the rights you are allowed to exercise in the United States honestly just annoyed me so I trolled a little. But if you continue this conversation it is bound to get political and you will not only lose but you will second guess your blind patriotism.

      • X3Charlie

        The main problem is not so much that you can is that people do. Americans tend to sue for everything, this also drives up the price of insurance.

  • Jon

    LOL, this is just sad I wonder if I can sue on Memebase on all those people that use it, Hey then I can afford a new car, a new house and pay off my education!

    rofl, just sad

  • Ben Kapferer

    Then maybe people can come with original humor for a change.

  • RyuNoHadouken

    frivolous

  • Wasbodee

    the idiots who are suing wb should both be smacked…. greedy idiots

  • ludist210

    “For the past three years, WB, along with game developer 5th, have knowingly and intentionally infringed plaintiffs’ copyrights and trademarks by using ‘Nyan Cat’ and Fatso’s image in WB’s top selling ‘Scribblenauts’ games. Including, most recently, ‘Scribblenauts Unlimited’, which WB released in 2011.”

    …except Scribblenauts Unlimited released in 2012?

  • FlyingBoat

    well if i made a meme and it was put in video games id think it was awesome. but i guess its their choice.

  • Kirbyomega

    Wow. Who really cares. Like the memes are cool and all but so what if they are used in a game…

  • Nintyfan

    You’d think they’d just be honored to have their creations referenced, instead they have to resort to a cash grab.

  • Eddie Garland

    Of course they have to defend their creative brilliance, only true geniuses could come up with a poptart rainbow cat and a cat playing keyboard. jldf agjrflhajfgkljdakl;gjiorajgkrlaa memes make me hate the internet.

  • http://clanzs.wix.com/zodiacslayers Stenaven

    The creators really have to be money hogs, and be a dick about it? Really?

    REALLLLLLYYYYYYY???

    That’d be like if the people used in memes sued every website that used their photo (ie: reddit, ifunny, using goodguygreg, photogenicguy, anything with actors, etc.)

  • Zombie_Andrew

    Is this the reason why it’s been delayed here in the UK?

  • David Rampa

    if i was a lawyer or a judge in the states and get confronted with copyright bullshit like “Nyan Cat”, id just put my face on my palms and think: “Fuck humanity…”

  • Ducked

    Its just a pop tart with a rainbow tail.