Producer, game firm in rights battle over zombies

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An independent movie producer with rights to the horror movie “George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead” sued video game maker Capcom Co Ltd on Monday in the latest salvo in a copyright dispute.

The producer, MKR Group, alleged that Capcom’s popular “Dead Rising” game was essentially a computer game version of its “Dawn of the Dead” movies.

Earlier this month, Capcom filed a case against MKR in a California federal court, seeking a declaration that the game did not infringe on MKR’s intellectual property rights. It also sought an injunction to prevent MKR from suing the company.

New York-based MKR said it filed its complaint after talks with Capcom over the dispute failed.

“Both works are dark comedies,” the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Monday reads. “In both, the recreational activities of the zombies and absurdly grotesque ‘kill scenes’ provide unexpected comedic relief.”

“Both works provided thoughtful social commentary on the ‘mall culture’ zeitgeist, in addition to serving up a sizable portion of sensationalistic violence,” it said.

A spokesman for Capcom, Chris Kramer, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Richard Rubinstein, who produced the 1979 horror film and was a senior producer of a 2004 remake, is the principal shareholder and president of the MKR Group, according to MKR’s complaint.

MKR sued the Japanese company and two U.S. units for copyright and trademark infringement and other claims.

Capcom’s “Dead Rising” game was released in August 2006 for Microsoft Corp’s XBox 360 and had shipped more than a million units by the end of 2006. The title is no longer being produced, Kramer said.