'Fear The Walking Dead' Caught in Copyright Lawsuit

It's another legal battle for AMC over the lucrative The Walking Dead franchise.

The cable network, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, Skybound Productions, producer Gale Anne Hurd's Valhalla Entertainment and executive producer David Alpert are among those named in a copyright lawsuit from comic creator Mel Smith, Deadline reports.

In the suit, which was filed yesterday in federal court in California, Smith claims that the second season of Fear The Walking Dead lifted significant elements from his comic series Dead Ahead.

"Within the last three years, defendants, and each of them infringed on plaintiff's copyright in Dead Ahead by, among other things, broadcasting or otherwise exploiting the second season of Fear The Walking Dead. Portions of that season's 13 episodes were copied from plaintiff's copyrighted literary work Dead Ahead,' the complaint reads.

Smith is seeking a variety of damages in the case. It's also worth noting lawsuit claims that Alpert was, at one point, Smith's "agent representative for the purposes of consulting with motion picture and television studios on the use or exploitation of Dead Ahead" and goes on to claim that the other defendants in the suit should have been aware of Albert's relationship with Smith.

This marks the third legal battle for many of the players involved regarding The Walking Dead franchise. AMC has been locked in a court battle with former show runnner Frank Darabont over nearly $300 million in profits Darabont claims were not fairly shared with him. Kirkman, Hurd, and Alpert are also in a legal fight with AMC over money, claiming that the network scammed them out of what they were due. The mother of a stuntman who died after an accident on the set of The Walking Dead in 2017 also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against AMC this year.


Smith's Dead Ahead comic series ran from 2008 to 2010 with Image Comics and follows a group of survivors who were out to sea when a zombie plague turned those on land into living corpses, the castaways only hope a luxury liner sailing their way -- provided it isn't infested by zombie passengers and crew. The second season of Fear The Walking Dead was set on the water, with various characters attempting to escape Los Angeles by heading out to sea.

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