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Report: Capcom's Dead Rising Triumphs in Dawn of The Dead Infringement Case

Capcom survived a copyright infringement suit filed by MKR Productions, producer of the film Dawn of The Dead, alleging that Dead Rising aped it too closely -- and a key point on which a judge identified the game's originality turned out to be its
Dead Rising 's zombie horror can stand on its own two shambling, rotten legs. Capcom survived a copyright infringement suit filed by MKR Productions, producer of the film Dawn of The Dead, alleging that Dead Rising aped it too closely. According to a report from consumer site GameSpot, Magistrate Judge Richard Seeborg granted Capcom's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, on the grounds that the film company failed to identify any "protected element" of Dawn of the Dead within Dead Rising. Essentially, the case showed that the concept of humans battling a zombie outbreak is "wholly unprotectable" -- whether or not it features scenes in a mall, as both the game and film do. Other similarities between film and game include action set in the mall's gun shop, the mall's location in a rural area patrolled by the National Guard, a helicopter trip for the lead characters, and plaid shirts for the zombies, among others. Capcom had presented a variety of other cultural properties that it said used similar conventions, to support its case that its themes were universal and unprotected -- but the Judge didn't accept these examples because Capcom took them from the user-edited Wikipedia. Another point of contention is that the film production company alleged that Dead Rising copied Dawn of the Dead's tactics of employing subtext that criticizes sensational journalism -- but according to GameStop's report, Judge Seborg didn't find any social commentary in Dead Rising at all, a mixed blessing for the game in the case. "To the extent that Dead Rising may be deemed to posses a theme, it is confined to the killing of zombies in the process of attempting to unlock the cause of the zombie infestation," wrote Judge Seeborg. "The social commentary MKR draws from Dawn of the Dead, in other words, appears totally absent from the combat focus found in Dead Rising." MKR Productions first filed suit against Capcom late in February 2008, as a reaction to a "pre-emptive" suit filed earlier in the month by the Dead Rising publisher to "eliminate any doubt" that the game did not infringe on the film company's rights. Widespread media reports suggest that Capcom is working with Canadian developer Blue Castle Games to create Dead Rising 2.

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