In this day and age where an innocuous home video or the latest news story can explode into an internet phenomenon, game developers looking to cash in on the popularity of the latest memes need to carefully consider the potential copyright ramifications of using protected images without permission.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and 5th Cell, developers of the popular Nintendo DS gaming franchise Scribblenauts, recently found themselves the target of a lawsuit filed by the creators of two popular internet memes, namely Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat.
The creators, Charles Schmidt and Christopher Torres, respectively, filed suit because the Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat both appear as Easter Eggs in Scribblenauts, an adventure game in which players summon objects to help solve puzzles. The lawsuit claims that the Cats are “valuable for commercial uses” based on their status as foundational internet memes with tens of millions of views on YouTube. The creators seek unspecified damages and an injunction on Scribblenauts-related products.