Night of the Living Dead and the Horrors of Copyright


Back in 1968 the late George A. Romero released his seminal zombie movie Night of the Living Dead. And with it came the birth of a whole subgenre of horror, one that is hugely popular and has spawned near endless amounts of fiction, not just in the movies, but novels, comics, and TV shows too. And one of the reasons all this was allowed to happen was because, accidentally, the copyright information was missing from the film’s title card.

Under the laws of the day it meant the movie went into the public domain, meaning anyone could use it or take and use the characters from it. And so an entire industry was launched because anyone could make a zombie movie (unlike with Universal’s monsters like Frankenstein), which has proved especially important, and popular, for indie filmmakers.

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