Entries in Copyright (4)


Warner Brothers Hit with Copyright Infringement Suit

Photo by Amy T. Zielinski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Copyright holders of some popular online cat images claim media giant Warner Brothers swiped their cat images then refused entreaties to pay for them.

Warner Brothers has been slapped with a copyright infringement suit for their “unauthorized use” of two popular YouTube cat characters.

The suit is “Nyan Cat” and “Keyboard Cat” vs. Warner Brothers and 5th Cell Media, the makers of WB’s Scribblenauts puzzle action video game series. The claim is that the games released for Nintendo and PC platforms have, without consent, featured the likeness of Orlando Torres’ “Nyan Cat,” a flying cartoon cat with a Pop-Tart body and rainbow trail, and Charles Schmidt’s “Keyboard Cat” video, which shows his cat, Patso, propped up on a keyboard made to look like he’s playing a song.

“When Chris Torres, the creator of the Nyan Cat meme, found out that Warner Bros. put his character in its newest Scribblenauts game, Scribblenauts Unlimited, without his permission, he says he tried to negotiate with the entertainment conglomerate.

“Warner Bros. called him a nuisance,” Stephen D. Rothschild, attorney for Torres and Schmidt, told ABC News. ”Warner Bros. did the same thing with Charles Schmidt’s creation, the Keyboard Cat meme—put the character in Scribblenauts Unlimited and earlier Scribblenauts games without permission.”

Professor Shyam Balganesh with the University of Pennsylvania Law School told ABC News that he sees this suit as an interesting case of role reversals.

“When the public thinks of copyright today, it’s often big corporations as plaintiffs going after individual copiers and users,” said Balganesh. “This is an instance of that being reversed. Copyright’s excessive litigation costs have been a major deterrent for smaller plaintiffs.

“This is a welcome instance of individual plaintiffs willing to take that chance and go after a big corporation that used their works.”

Balganesh also said that he thinks Torres and Schmidt do have a “good case.”

“Looking at the two designs, I would say that the Nyan Cat clearly implicates both the reproduction right and derivative works right in equal measure,” he said. “The Keyboard Cat, however, was converted from video to cartoon, and likely implicates the derivative works right more than it does the reproduction right. I think the plaintiffs do nonetheless have a good case for the Keyboard Cat as well.”

The attorney for the plaintiffs said that this could have all been avoided had the game makers just gone about using these cat characters in the way other brands and media companies have. Rothschild told ABC News that both “Nyan Cat” and “Keyboard Cat” have been used with permission to market brands including Vitamin Water, Nike, Old Spice, Sprint, Starburst Candy, and Google.

A spokesperson for Warner Brothers told ABC News that the company has no comment on this legal case.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Angelina Jolie Sued for Copyright Infringement over New Film

ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(LOS ANGELES) -- Angelina Jolie's directorial debut hasn't gone over well with a journalist who claims its plot was taken from a book he released in 2007.

Croatian journalist James Braddock has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in response to Jolie's upcoming film In the Land of Blood and Honey, a love story set during the 1990s Bosnian War.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Braddock alleges that he discussed his Croatian-language book, The Soul Shattering, with one of the film's producers, co-defendant Edin Sarkic, over the course of a few years, as well as the possibility of adapting it into a film.  

He says he eventually found out about Jolie's film and its alleged similarities to his own work.  He says much like Jolie's movie, his book takes place during the Bosnian War and features a Serbian camp commander who falls in love with a woman who's imprisoned and raped by soldiers.

Braddock seeks statutory damages and an injunction against the film's release.  In the Land of Blood and Honey is due out Dec. 23.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'SNL's' Andy Samberg Hit with Copyright Infringement Suit

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Saturday Night Live comedian Andy Samberg has been slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit claiming he stole material for two sketches, including an Emmy Award-nominated short featuring him singing with Rihanna, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

St. Louis-based production team Aleric Banks, who also goes by "Rick Tha Ruler," and Monique Hines allege they wrote the music Samberg used in his Rihanna collaboration, titled "Shy Ronnie," and his clip with Seth Rogen titled "Like a Boss."

The pair claims in court papers that Samberg stole their songs "verbatim" and added his own lyrics to them for musical skits on SNL in 2009.  The digital shorts have since gone viral with “Like a Boss” racking up some 72 million views on YouTube.  Samberg even recorded one of the songs for his group's album: "Like a Boss" appeared on The Lonely Island's album Incredibad.

Banks and Hines have filed suit against NBC Universal, Samberg, The Lonely Island, and Universal Republic Records in Manhattan federal court and are seeking unspecified damages for willful copyright infringement and unjust enrichment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Scarlett Johansson Threatens Legal Action over Leaked Nude Photos 

Kevin Mazur/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Scarlett Johansson threatened legal action against websites that have posted the nude photos of her that leaked earlier this week.

E! News reports her attorney sent a cease-and-desist letter to a number of sites in which he ordered them to take down what he refers to as "stolen copyright protected private photographs." If they do not, the letter warns, they will be sued.

The photos—one of which shows Johansson topless—were posted onto the Internet after her cellphone was reportedly hacked. E! News reports that a few sites, such as, have taken down the pictures after receiving the letter from her attorney. The FBI said it is investigating the leak.

Mila Kunis' cellphone was also reportedly hacked recently, making her just the latest in a growing list of stars who've had pictures or personal information stolen from them and posted online.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio