Copyright is always a pesky problem when it comes to designing characters in the video games industry. Most recently a female Yoshi look-a-like was spotted in an indie game released for the iOS, but fortunately Nintendo worked outside of the courtroom. Scribblenauts developer 5th Cell hasn’t been so lucky. The company is being sued, alongside publishers Warner Bros., over copyright infringement from the use of internet memes Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat within their Scribblenauts series.
Keyboard Cat creator Charles Schmidt, who found success on YouTube, and Christopher Orlando Torres who developed the Nyan Cat animated gif are both suing on copyright grounds, and allegedly claim that their creations were used without license or authority. 5th Cell and Warner Bros. featured the animated versions of the two aforementioned cats which were included as Easter eggs in the 2009 Scribblenauts release, Super Scribblenauts in 2010, Scribblenauts Remix, and the most recent title Scribblenauts Unlimited.
“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.”
– Complaint from the legal paperwork of Schmidt and Torres V Warner Bros and 5th Cell Media
Warner Bros. and 5th Cell are yet to make an official statement.