A designer is suing Capcom over improper use of licensed material, Polygon reports. According to a lawsuit filed Friday, Capcom used unlicensed photographs as art assets in Resident Evil 4, Devil May Cry, and other games.
Judy A. Juracek, an author and artist, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Connecticut on Friday. In 1996, Juracek published Surfaces: Visual Research For Artists, Architects, And Designers, a compendium of detailed photographs largely focusing on surface textures and how they change over time. In addition to interviews with a handful of design experts, the book is intended to allow people to use those photos in projects. But, as Friday’s suit states, using the photos for commercial purposes requires a licensing fee, which Capcom allegedly did not pay.
Juracek supplemented the complaint with more than 100 pages of supporting documents, showing photographic comparisons between screenshots of Capcom’s video games and photographs from Surfaces. In one, you can clearly see the facade of a door in Surfaces matching the facade of a door in Resident Evil. Another photo directly mirrors the cracked-glass designed that characterizes the “4″ in the Resident Evil 4 logo.
Theoretically, it is very technically possible that, in making these games, Capcom sent photographers to each and every cited location in Juracek’s tome. That seems highly unlikely, and would be a high bar to clear in court.
Friday’s suit states that Capcom owes Juracek anywhere from $2,500 to $25,000 per photo, and says that Capcom unlawfully used around 80 photos in total. The suit also claims Capcom could owe Juracek up to $12 million for copyright infringement, alongside legal fees. Lawyers are requesting a jury trial.
Capcom told Polygon it is “aware of the lawsuit” but declined to comment further to the outlet.
Read Polygon’s report here, which includes an uploaded copy of the complaint and exhibits in full.