Regardless of the presented similarities, George A. Romero's company lost the copyright suit that claims Dead Rising as an infringement on their Dawn of the Dead property.
Last month, a lawsuit was filed against Capcom over their Dead Rising property by the MKR Group, George A. Romero's company, for copyright infringement of their 1979 film, Dawn of the Dead. Capcom motioned to dismiss the suit because the group had not presented any "protected element" of the movie that was infringed on.
In response to that, MKR Group presented the following list of items to the court:
- Both works are set in a bi-level shopping mall.
- The mall has a gun shop, in which action takes place.
- The mall is located in a rural area with the National Guard patrolling its environs.
- Both works are set in motion by a helicopter that takes the lead characters to a mall besieged by zombies.
- Many of the zombies wear plaid shirts.
- Both works feature a subtext critique of sensationalistic journalism through their use of tough, cynical journalists with short brown hair and leather jackets as a lead male character.
- Both works feature the creative use of items such as propane tanks, chainsaws, and vehicles to kill zombies.
- Both works are a parody of rampant consumerism.
- Both works use music in the mall for comedic effect.
- Dead Rising's use of the word "hell" references the tagline for Dawn of the Dead's release ("When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.").
According to the presiding judge, Richard Seeborg, the only protected element of the list that Dead Rising may have infringed on is the parody of rampant consumerism. After examining both works, he found that while Dawn of the Dead exhibits these traits, Dead Rising does not to any extent. Its only theme "is confined to the killing of zombies in the process of attempting to unlock the cause of the zombie infestation. The social commentary MKR draws from Dawn of the Dead, in other words, appears totally absent from the combat focus found in Dead Rising."
As such, Capcom's motion for dismissal of the suit was granted yesterday morning.