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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Is Dead Rising a Dawn of the Dead Rip-Off?

The answer, according to a U.S. magistrate judge, is a resounding no.

You may recall some months back that Richard Rubenstein's MKR Group, the company that owns the rights to George Romero's Dawn of the Dead, had brought a lawsuit against Capcom, the makers of Dead Rising. Their contention was that the zombie horror video game represented a direct copyright infringement on their intellectual property, since--like DOTD--it is set in a shopping mall and features humans fighting to survive a zombie uprising.

However, Judge Richard Seeborg, according to Gamespot, has ruled that the game is sufficiently different from the movie that no copyright infringement is evident. To quote the good judge:

"[MKR] has not identified any similarity between Dead Rising and any protected element of Dawn of the Dead. Rather, the few similarities MKR has alleged are driven by the wholly unprotectable concept of humans battling zombies in a mall during a zombie outbreak."

Bet Judge Seeborg never thought he'd be writing those words back in his law school days.

Furthermore, the judge determined that Dead Rising possesses none of the social commentary inherent in Dawn of the Dead. Yay, score one for mindless zombie killing!


Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Yeah you can't copyright ideas but then every zombie flick owes so much to the Romero movies.

Karl Hungus said...

This is a rare victory of common sense over absurd money grabbing lawsuits. I welcome it, and applaud the judge in question.

Mere setting alone does not a rip-off make, otherwise every haunted house story would be under copyright infringement.

B-Sol said...

This is exactly right, and what Archavist says is especially pertinent. If Capcom were to be found guilty of infringement, than any zombie script of the past 40 years is guilty too.

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