The meme-heavy video features everything from Kim Kardashian’s butt to Miley Cyrus’ wrecking ball yet the Nyan Cat gets the most airtime following around the band members.
Creator Chris Torres made the cat back in 2011 and it quickly became a viral hit. He’s now managed by Ben Lashes who also manages Grumpy Cat, which has successfully been turned into a dollar-generation machine.
He’s been asked by numerous brands to use Nyan Cat but apparently Sum 41 skipped the formalities and plonked it straight in the video without asking.
“There are procedures and agreements for when someone wants to use my art commercially, and Sum 41/Hopeless Records skipped all of the formalities that other brands have highly sought Nyan Cat out for,” he told Forbes.
“At the end of the day, I’m just like any other lone indie artist and it sucks when I see my art making other people a lot of money without permission. If they didn’t see any actual value in Nyan Cat, then they wouldn’t have used it in the first place.”
Torres has attempted to reach out to the band and the video director Marc Klasfeld but he hasn’t heard back from them as of yet.
Lashes also represents Atsuko Sato, whose Doge meme also appears in the video. The band also didn’t ask for permission to use that.
“The band may see their blatant infringement as a ‘punk rock’ move to reclaim some glory, or that stealing from the web is somehow only sticking it to the man, but with Nyan Cat and Doge they are ripping off an independent artist and independent photographer who rely on proper licensing of their works in order to continue creating,” Lashes said.
“That’s not punk rock. It’s just disrespectful, and against the law. As with any infringement of my clients property, we are taking this very seriously.”
The Sum 41 video has now amassed over a million plays on YouTube. In comparison, the original Nyan Cat video has collected 136 million views.
Watch: Sum 41 – Fake My Own Death