Rob Zombie’s lawyers claim he owns the word zombie…

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 17 - 2009

zombiebang-bandUPDATED UPDATE: Eric Weiss contacted me and says he was contacted directly by Rob Zombie, who did not know his lawyers were going after Weiss, and has agreed to coexist with Zombie! (aka Weiss). I had a feeling he didn’t know what his legal team was up to, and kudos to him for being a man and a human being and doing the right thing. Rob Zombie, zombie lovers everywhere salute you!

UPDATE: Opinion from my lawyer friend added!

I’ve seen a copy of the letter referenced in today’s news post from Rob Zombie’s trademark lawyers and it’s alarming. They seem to be claiming he owns the right to the word zombie in any musical context, which is just utter bullshit. I can think of a half a dozen band names that use the word in addition to the band Zombie! who they are going after (who, it’s worth noting, is a small, unsigned independent guy who isn’t a great position to fight a legal war). And since zombies are probably the second most popular movie monster ever, it isn’t like he staked out some far-out undiscovered territory with the name Rob Zombie — I guess John Vampire would be slightly less original, but just slightly.

I’ve asked  a lawyer friend if there’s any legal merit to the case and I will update when I hear back from him. I will also be attempting to contact the law firm tomorrow for comment. If you know of any bands that use the word zombie in their name, please leave them in the comments. I’d like to point out to these lawyers how futile and misguided this attempt really is.

My lawyer friend, who first points out that, “trademark law is a branch of Intellectual Property law and is its own unique thing with its own bar exam, etc.  If you really want a completely accurate legal opinion about this you would need to consult a Patent Attorney in all likelihood,” goes on to offer the following:

Without constituting an actual legal opinion but merely being my best guess, you are correct that this is bullshit.  The name “Zombie!” is distinct enough from “Rob Zombie” – the trademarked term – that it is unlikely to be confused and, therefore, unlikely to infringe upon Rob Zombie’s rights or capitalize on the goodwill his name generates.  There are numerous examples (The Mission and The Mission U.K., The Charlatans and The Charlatans U.K., Verve Records and The Verve, Dinosaur and Dinosaur Jr., etc.) where substantially more minor variations have been sufficient to differentiate between two distinct musical entities.  If the mere mention of the word “zombie” in a band name were enough to constitute infringement than Rob Zombie better be prepared to disgorge all of his lifetime earnings to the sixties band The Zombies.

Furthermore, it is unlikely that Rob Zombie’s birth name is Zombie.  He, like any number of others, is capitalizing on a horror creature/genre to give his audience an impression of what he and his work are about before they ever hear a note he has played.  One cannot at this point trademark the idea of zombies.  This is why hundreds of people have made zombie movies without being sued to hell and back while nobody except George Lucas and those who have purchased the rights from George Lucas have made films about Wookies.  Wookies are exclusive to the Star Wars universe and are the intellectual property of George Lucas.  Zombies are an idea in the public domain and available to anyone to use.  It is the zombie genre that your friends, Rob Zombie and The Zombies have all capitalized on for their musical names – Rob Zombie didn’t come up with the idea and cannot lay claim to it.
He goes on to say that Zombie’s lawyers probably will be able to sue Weiss out of business — unless enough unfavorable publicity is shed on the whole affair to convince them to back off. That’s where you all come in — please spread this far and wide, for Weiss and anyone else that ever wants to use the word zombie in their band or musical project without fear of Rob Zombie’s army of undead lawyers.

After the break, you can find scanned images of the cease-and-desist notice sent to Eric Weiss of Zombie!

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Deadlines: News roundup 6/17/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 17 - 2009

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Bookmark the home page or add the feed to your RSS for your daily dose of walking dead. Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

Musician Eric Weiss of the band Zombie! (a fun, kind-of-Misfits-sounding horror rock band) reported today on Twitter that Rob Zombie’s lawyers have sent him a cease-and-desist notice insisting he stop using the name Zombie! and selling merch with that logo, lest people be confused. Needless to say, this is complete and utter bullshit — Rob Zombie does not get exclusive use of the word zombie and his lawyers need to be eaten by ambulatory corpses if they can’t see that. When a guy comes along calling himself Rob Zombie or another band tries to jock White Zombie (itself STOLEN from an historic zombie movie, I might add), then they can get their lawyer on.

The folks at Fangoria have a bunch of stills and a few details from the cleverly named short film Paris by Night of the Living Dead. (Fangoria)

I’m a fan of poster art (rock concert posters, old movie posters, etc.) and I am totally taken with this print done for the Alamo Drafthouse’s Night of the Creeps showing. If it were up to me, my house would be decorated solely with this sort of stuff. (Fangoria)

Deadlines: News roundup 6/15/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 15 - 2009

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Bookmark the home page or add the feed to your RSS for your daily dose of walking dead. Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

A boatload of details about the upcoming Night of the Creeps DVD release came out over the weekend. The release date is October 20, there will be a ton of special features and there are even rumors of  a possible sequel. Get all the details here. (AICN)

It’s Day of the Undead Hipsters as Williamsburg in Brooklyn gets its very own zombie crawl. Read all about it in this extremely detailed and kinda wordy report (there are pictures, too). (Fangoria)

The folks at Dark Horizons used their sweet language skills to translate the disheartening news that the film adaptation of World War Z is still some ways off — director Marc Foster is planning on doing another movie in the meantime, so don’t count on seeing it at the ol’ multiplex anytime soon. (Dark Horizons)

Zombie Christmas carols? Sure, why not. Zombie Command has some info on an upcoming book of zombified Xmas favorites. (Zombie Command)

Got a baby? Need to teach them about zombies? Of course you do. Hang this Left 4 Dead mobile over their bed, and you’ll never have to worry about whether they can identify a Boomer or not… (Kotaku)

Deadlines: News roundup 6/8/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 8 - 2009

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Bookmark the home page or add the feed to your RSS for your daily dose of walking dead. Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

Check out some video of John Russo, one of the makers of the original zombie classic Night of the Living Dead, from Fangoria‘s New York Weekend of Horrors, embedded after the break. If that doesn’t fulfill your Russo jones, hit this link for a thirty-minute video containing another segment with him. (Fangoria)

Seems not everyone is happy about the announced Left 4 Dead 2. Nope, some folks are so pissed they are signing petitions and boycotting it. The complaints range from a lack of promised updates to the original and that it’s too soon, to not liking the new music and sunlight-based levels, among other things. On the one hand, I can see where they feel a little cheated since Valve usually does update stuff constantly for free. On the other hand, as a console guy myself, I’m a little more used to these kind of updates and usually willing to pay for them if I like the game. Also, bitching about the music and daylight-based gameplay? Really? (Kotaku)

What if Dante’s inspiration for the Inferno was a medieval zombie outbreak? That’s the premise behind Kim Paffenroth’s Valley of the Dead, and Zombie Command has an interview about it. (Zombie Command)

Mormons. Zombies. Some would argue that there’s no difference (I kid, I kid… Mormons are fine by me and much more polite when I tell them “no thanks” at my front door than the Jehovah’s Witnesses are). Now there’s a zombie movie called The Book of Zombie coming that looks into what the zombie apocalypse looks like, Mormon-style. It asks the question, how do you kill a Mormon zombie? Trailer after the break, official website here. (Bloody Disgusting)

New York gets Dead Snow in theaters June 19, LA on June 26. The rest of us will have to settle for VOD, but bad news abounds: the VOD presentation will be dubbed. Sucktacular. I guess the VOD crowd doesn’t like reading their Nazi zombie movies. So much more the pity, but at least the DVD release will be subbed. (Fangoria)

A few tidbits of news about a couple different movies in this blog: Bubba’s Chili Parlor (trailer after the break) is available on DVD from Amazon (Mad-Cow tainted meat makes zombies) and a few stills from The Undertakers: Road’s End (official website here) about a couple of small-town flunkies who discover an organization guarding a supernatural secret (hint: zombies). (Bloody Disgusting)

We all know that the Boston PD will tell you if zombies are coming, but what about your town? One enterprising reporter endeavored to find out (hint: New Yorkers, you are fucked). (ComicMix)

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Deadlines: News roundup 6/1/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 1 - 2009

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Bookmark the home page or add the feed to your RSS for your daily dose of walking dead. Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

Already blogged about my suggestions for it earlier today (hit that “previous” button if you have overlooked it somehow) but today Valve announced Left 4 Dead 2. An updated director, new survivors, new boss zombies (boo!), new weapons and items, including some sweet-ass melee weapons shown in the trailer (embedded after the break): I couldn’t be more excited. Except about the “more boss zombies.” I’m afraid that adding a bunch more of them is just going to tip things in the direction of silly. (Valve)

If you aren’t sick of Pontypool related info yet, there’s an interview with the director and cast at CinemaBlend. (CinemaBlend)

Some poor bastard in Seattle got arrested when he showed up early to a zombie crawl in a too-convincing costume and a concerned citizen called the cops. The story says he was dressed as a zombie, but for my money the description sounds like he was dressed as Umbrella Corporation security (maybe zombified, though). (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Over the weekend, news broke that work is starting on Quarantine 2. This one will supposedly be a totally new work, unrelated to the coming-soon REC 2 despite the first Quarantine being a shot-for-shot remake of REC. (Bloody Disgusting)

Londoners (or those with the resources to get there) can participate in the world’s biggest zombie walk and be in a mockumentary zombie film called I Spit on Your Rave come August 6, as part of the Big Chill music festival. (Dread Central)

New Yorkers can catch screenings of Dead Air (world premiere!) and Dead Snow (New York premiere!) at Fangoria‘s Weekend of Horrors convention, June 5 through 7. (Fangoria)

The episodic series Lifeless, about the survivors of a global pandemic who must face off against the newly risen dead victims of said pandemic, is said to be getting close to distribution. To celebrate and/or build hype, they’ve released two clips. I’ve got one embedded after the break, Quiet Earth has the other (and a more in-depth synopsis to boot!). (Quiet Earth)

If you like watching the opening minutes of a film in a tiny window of your computer, only to be cut off just when it starts getting good, rejoice, because the first ten minutes of mutant-femme cannibal quasi-zombie laffer Doghouse are online for you to watch in anticipation of the June 12 U.K. release. (Empire)

Another microbudget zombie flick is on the horizon. This one is called Bled White, and it gives us a scenario where survivors of the zombie apocalypse are driven to eat human flesh to survive. The official website says “All Rights Available” which I believe is code for, “Please god, someone buy our movie!” There’s no release date or info on when it might be available in any format, in any case. There is a trailer, after the break. (Horror-Movies.ca)

Also after the break is a new trailer for Dead Rising 2 that shows off a whole lot of zombies. Whew, can you believe all the news today? It’s like they knew it was Zombie Movie Marathon Month starting tonight and celebrated by choking me with a week’s worth of news. Anyway, tonight’s selection Dead Set will be kicking off as soon as I unwind a bit. Reaction and/or review of it up sometime tomorrow!

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Zombie carwash

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 1 - 2009

goodzombieThis weekend I got word from Matt Rouse, one of my remote zombie correspondents, of a zombie carwash in Ogden, Utah. Here’s the story in brief, in Rouse’s own words: “I had just grabbed my camera to take some product shots and thought I was dreaming when I saw a crowd of zombies holding up a sign saying ‘Zombie Carwash – $5.’  They were doing a fundraiser for Juvenile Diabetes here locally.”

I have to say, $5 is a great price for a car wash, although it’s hard to know how good a job a zombie would do. Seems like they might smear a lot of blood and viscera around in the process of getting dirt off. Let’s hope these undead raised enough money to make it worth their while, but remember: in the event of an actual zombie apocalypse, do not stop at a zombie car wash. It’s just an excuse for them to smash your windows to get at the tasty meat inside — i.e. you.

After the break, three more pictures. All photos credit and copyright Matt Rouse.

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Deadlines: News roundup 5/21/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On May - 21 - 2009

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

Stealing from the dead is never a hot idea, because as every reader of this site knows, sometimes they refuse to stay dead. Six crooks learn that the hard way in The Crypt (coming June 25), and you can get a taste of it with the trailer, embedded after the break. (Dread Central)

Cannes is generating a buzz for Colin, a microbudget (under $100 if the makers are to be believed!) zombie think piece told from the point of view of a zombie that’s trying to figure out what’s happened to him. It’s a brilliant idea that’s been tried, with limited success, a few times before. Hopefully more info (like a distributor and/or release date) will come out soon. (Times Online)

If you are a Boston resident, you can rest easy knowing your police department is firmly committed to giving you the truth if and when a zombie attack occurs. (Dumb as a Blog)

If you’ve never heard of Zombie Tales 2061, a unique zombie comic that tells of undead supremacy in the far future, your chance to catch up is nigh as a collection of the three short tales that make up the saga is coming this July. You can watch an interview with the writer (Oscar-nominated screenwriter Kim Krizan) and see a ten-page preview here. (Comic Book Resources)

The cover art for the September 25 release of Creepshow on BluRay has been revealed. And it is exactly the old cover art, which is fine. Also, no special features, which is bullshit since there are pre-existing special features that could be added and they are going to ask us to pony up a premium for the hi-def. Why do studios do this? (Dread Central)

In case you were wondering, there was nothing else posted today, just this news post. Fear not, there’s more stuff coming soon.

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Deadlines: News roundup 5/12/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On May - 12 - 2009

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

Zombies and the military go together like chocolate and peanut butter, which makes me favorably inclined toward the upcoming Platoon of the Dead, set for DVD release June 16. If you live in Salem, Oregon, you can catch the world premiere of this micro-budget feature on May 29 at the Northern Lights Theatre Pub. (Fangoria)

The beginning of the end draws nigh, as scientists have discovered a parasitic fly that turns fire ants into zombies. Seriously, you don’t think the army is already trying to weaponize this? (Fort Worth Star Telegram)

Love killing zombies so much you can’t bear to be away from the opportunity even while on the go? Then rejoice at news of the Resident Evil: Degeneration iPhone app! It’s based on the story of the movie it shares a name with (my review of that movie), you shoot zombies in it and it is available now for $7. (Kotaku)

Finally, in tangentially zombie-related news, I am writing about horror movies for Examiner.com. This will include some zombie stuff, obviously, but also non-zombie stuff. So if you were ever reading this blog and saying, “Yes, but what does he think of shark movies? Or slasher flicks?” this is your chance to find out. You can find me by clicking here. And don’t worry, I will always love zombies the best.

Swine flu or zombie apocalypse?

Posted by Cory Casciato On April - 28 - 2009

biohazardzThe ongoing swine flu outbreak in Mexico naturally has the zombie aware wondering if this could be the first step in the inevitable zombie apocalypse. It’s got some classic hallmarks: sudden development, high death rate, government entreaties not to panic, those biohazard-y looking dust masks. So is it time to head to your secure location, board up the windows and start sharpening your machete? Not quite yet.

It’s important to remember that, as of yet, there haven’t even been any rumors of swine-flu fatalities getting up to walk around. There also haven’t been any rumors of attacks on health care workers, family of the afflicted or anyone else. Hell, they only just verified it could pass from person to person. So apart from the elements of a new, highly contagious, still-mutating sickness and visual element of biohazard masks, this isn’t looking particularly zombiesque.

Still, it’s a good thing that the zombie community is watching these developments closely. If this does turn out to be the first outbreak of the zombie virus, we won’t be caught unaware. Even if it doesn’t, it’s a good test run of our monitoring systems and a chance to look hard at our contingency plans. And, if it turns out to be a more mundane apocalypse, like a garden-variety flu pandemic, the close monitoring of the news for signs of walking dead should still impart some practical knowledge sure to be of use.

So for now, keep monitoring the news but don’t shoot the staggering, sunken-eyed, pale dude on your lawn just yet. Look for zombie-indicating new developments – warnings to isolate the infected or dead should be considered suspicious, while instructions to decapitate or burn them should be considered an undead giveaway. Reports of riots, sudden outbreaks of bitey behavior or high spikes in murder rates near infected areas are all high-probability danger signs as well. And get your bug-out bag ready if it isn’t already. It can’t hurt to be ready to head for the hills when you see the first zombies instead of stopping to pick up that last box of granola bars and an extra fire axe, right?

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