You may not know the names Charles Schmidt and Christopher Orlando Torres, but if you have experience on the internet, you certainly know their works. They were responsible for creating the Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat memes, respectively. Now, the two have joined in a lawsuit against Warner Bros., who allegedly used the image of their characters illegally.
The company used both characters in the Scribblenauts franchise games. In the game, in which the player can type in names of things that can help him solve puzzles and these objects appear on the screen, when typing “Keyboard Cat”, a cat in a blue T-shirt appears, playing the keyboard. J “Nyan Cat” features a flying cat, just like the original meme.
Torres and Schmidt are both managed by the same businessman, Ben Lashes. Their creations are protected by copyright and they cite the Warner Bros logo itself as a meme. The difference, however, is that the company uses an army of lawyers to protect its intellectual property.
They ask for the payment of an amount not yet revealed as compensation for the misuse of the characters, as well as for the “misleading relationship” created by the WB between the game and the two cats.
The big question involved in the process, however, is what freedom of speech and parody is and what is a plagiarism. American law usually highlights the use of characters from third parties in a work with the intention of parody or homage. In addition, there is also the cultural issue, since the two characters spread and gained notoriety through remixes and adaptations, which could invalidate the process.
Warner meme Plgio