“Soft Kitty” is well known and loved by Big Bang Theory fans as the lullaby that Penny sings to comfort Sheldon. Even his mother sang it to him.
Now, The New York Times reports that Warner Brothers, CBS, and all other involved media companies are being slapped with a lawsuit claiming they stole the lyrics of the song.
The claim is that the lyrics of the song were originally a poem written by Edith Newlin, who was a teacher in New Hampshire. The poem was published in the 1937 booked called Songs for the Nursery School and now Newlin’s daughters, Ellen Newlin Chase and Margaret Chase Perry, say the lyrics of the “Soft Kitty” song in the show is copyright infringement because they never sought permission from their mother before using them in the “Soft Kitty” song.
While Edith Newlin died in 2004, one of her daughters discovered the copyright infringement in 2014 when she was researching the life of her mother for an article. The lawsuit argues that the “Soft Kitty” song is an integral part of Big Bang Theory.
“The ‘Soft Kitty’ Lyrics are among the best-known and most popular aspects of The Big Bang Theory. They have become a signature and emblematic feature of the show and a central part of the show’s promotion.”
The lyrics of the “Soft Kitty” song used on Big Bang Theory are straightforward.
“Soft kitty, warm kitty
Little ball of fur
Happy kitty, sleepy kitty
Purr, purr, purr.”
The New York Times reports the lyrics to the poem Newlin wrote, called “Warm Kitty,” are almost identical.
“Warm kitty, soft kitty,
Little ball of fur,
Sleepy kitty, happy kitty,
Purr! Purr! Purr!”
“Soft Kitty” has been sung on Big Bang Theory many times over the years. Check out the best of “Soft Kitty” on the show.
“Soft Kitty” has also inspired many to do their own videos and interpretations, including numerous official and unofficial products.
— Chip and Company (@chipandcompany) January 2, 2016
Despite all these renditions of the now famous song, the original version sounds pretty much the same, except with the word switch.
Wow! The similarity is mind-boggling.
— TheCelebrityTalk (@TheCelebrityTlk) December 29, 2015
According to TMZ, Margaret Chase Perry said that the studio that produces The Big Bang Theory did make a deal with a music company to use the lyrics of the song, but they did not contact her or her sister, who are the rightful owners of those lyrics. Perry has said the song is not only used in the show, but also in merchandising for the franchise. Perry says it’s time for the studio to pay up and she wants a court order stating that they can no longer use the song. Here is the entire lawsuit. The lawsuit claims the infringement on the part of the studio was willful.
“Defendants’ infringements of Plaintiffs’ copyright were, on information and belief, willful. The Defendants have extensive experience in the licensing of music and lyrics, and yet they purposefully or recklessly ignored the written statements in ‘Songs for the Nursery School’ that Edith Newlin was the creator and owner of the copyright in the lyrics.”
Apparently, there has not been any comment from Warner Brothers or any of the other defendants, thus far, but fans of the show can only hope that permission to use the song will not be taken away completely. If it was, then “Soft Kitty” will surely be missed by millions of people, as well as by Sheldon. And how would they write that into the show? Fans will have to wait to find out what happens to their beloved song in the coming weeks and months of the show.
[Photo by Christian Bertrand/Shutterstock]