Nyan Cat creator Christopher Orlando Torres has said he tried to reach an amicable resolution with 5th Cell and Warner Bros over the use of the meme in Scribblenauts Unlimited, but was “disrespected and snubbed”.
In a lengthy statement published on Eurogamer, Torres defended the lawsuit, which has attracted negative attention.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Torres said other companies lawfully license Nyan Cat for commercial use, but 5th Cell and Warner Bros. did not, despite the game’s own warnings about respecting copyright. He noted that Warner Bros. licensed Nintendo characters fairly, and that he himself worked in collaboration with the creator of the music used in the original Nyan Cat video.
“There are many reputable companies that have respected our rights and negotiated fees to use our characters commercially. Warner Bros. and 5th Cell should have done the same,” he said.
“Since Warner Bros. and 5th Cell chose to act as if we had no rights in characters we created, filing a lawsuit was the only way we had to protect our intellectual property rights from being used for others’ commercial profit without our consent. Too often normal artists like us don’t have the means and resources to protect our rights against big media corporations who use our work for their own profit without permission. We are looking here just to be treated fairly and to be fairly compensated for our creative work.”
Torres also noted that he didn’t know his creation was in the game until after release, as he was unaware of relevant promotional materials.