Capcom Faces New Lawsuit After Claims of Stolen Artwork

A lawsuit filed on Friday puts Capcom in the spotlight for stealing works from a copyrighted book of artist and designer Judy A. Juracek. Cited in the lawsuit are two of Capcom’s most highly prolific titles — Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry.

The lawsuit alleges that Resident Evil 4, Devil May Cry, and other Capcom games used unlicensed copyrighted photos extensively throughout those games to build out environments and game details. Even the Resident Evil 4 logo appears to have been lifted (plagiarized) according to the lawsuit.

Juracek filed her initial complaint with a court in Connecticut. Her book, Surfaces, is described as the primary source from which came the photos from for Capcom’s games. Surfaces is a collection of 1200 photographs of textures, all photographed by Juracek herself. The 1996 book’s description explains that the publications is intended to be used for “visual research” for artists, architects, and designers. The book also comes with a CD-ROM of the images, for which Juracek stated she requires people to attain licenses through direct contact for commercial use.

At least 80 different photographs are allegedly used in different scenarios across games published by Capcom. In the lawsuit, Juracek declares that Capcom never contacted her for a license.

Leon S. Kennedy as seen in Resident Evil 4 © 2005 Capcom Co., LTD

The Resident Evil 4 logo is called out in the lawsuit, which appears to have been recreated from a photograph of a shattered glass texture. The lawsuit argues that the pirated photo was taken in Italy, explaining “It is hard to imagine that Juracek would take a photo of shattered glass in Italy for an interior mansion door design and that Capcom artists would reproduce the exact same pattern of shattered glass in a logo and interior design without benefit of Juracek’s photographs,” the lawsuit states.

Image: Judy A. Juracek/Capcom via court documents
Image: Judy A. Juracek/Capcom via court documents

The lawsuit features over 100 pages of supporting case documents with more than 200 instances of Juracek’s photographs, all allegedly being used in Capcom’s games.

“The file names for at least one of the images from the Capcom hacked files are the same file names as those used on the [Surfaces] CD-ROM,” she has alleged. The lawsuit shows a metal texture that was labeled “ME009” on Juracek’s CD-ROM, and labeled the same in the Capcom folders.

Also of note from Juracek’s lawsuit, Capcom was recently accused of copying monster designs from Dutch filmmaker Richard Raaphort for the recently released Resident Evil Village game. The director stated the Sturm boss found in the recently-released Resident Evil Village is a “one-to-one” copy of a monster he created for his 2013 found footage horror film Frankenstein’s Army. Raaphorst found out about the allegedly stolen design after fans contacted him about one of the characters from his film being the basis for the propeller-headed antagonist.

Sturm from Resident Evil Village © 2021 Capcom C., LTD

Last November, Capcom suffered a data breach in which personal information for hundreds of thousands of people had been compromised, including customers, shareholders, and employees, and had also resulted in a leak in which Resident Evil Village‘s launch plans were prematurely revealed. Capcom reported to have received a ransom note in the attack, but the information was subsequently leaked online to the public. Part of Juracek’s evidence comes from that data breach where it was discovered that some high resolution images of artwork used in Resident Evil and other games were actual pieces belonging Juracek.

Juracek’s lawyers are asking the court to award her up to $12 million in damages on a count of copyright infringement. She’s also seeking damages for “false copyright management and removal of copyright management,” $2,500 to $25,000 for each used photograph.


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