Author and artist Judy A. Juracek is currently suing Capcom for unauthorized use of her copyrighted material in the Resident Evil and Devil May Cry series. The materials in question come from the publication in 1996 of Juracek’s book entitled Surfaces, which is a large collection of actual surface texture photos that are “ready to use in your designs, presentations or compositions, as backgrounds or for general visual information”. Surfaces also includes a CD-ROM containing digital copies of the photos.
In order to obtain higher quality copies of said photos and for them to be used for commercial purposes, Juracek had to be contacted and paid for the license, which Capcom would never have done.
Included in the court documents are comparisons between Juracek’s original photos and those of Capcom’s supposedly cut-and-paste work. If you look closer, the similarities become obvious.
In the screenshot of the court documents, we see G079 – a photo taken by Juracek of a unique pattern of shards of glass that is nearly impossible to physically replicate. We see here that Capcom has superimposed G079 directly on the Resident Evil 4 logo.
In another screenshot of court documents, we see Juracek’s original photo labeled W061. Next to it we see a door from Resident Evil 4 that clearly uses this original photo and uses it as its in-game texture.
The photo originally taken by Juracek was from a Rhode Island mansion that is apparently not accessible to the public. Technically, it’s impossible for Capcom to have taken a photo similar to Juracek’s work.
What makes the case for Capcom worse is that when their private data was released due to a hack in late 2020, hacked files with names identical to files in Surfaces‘ CD-ROMs were found.
Above is a photo file of the Surfaces’ CD-ROM known as ME009. Interestingly, a photo with the file name ME009 is seen in leaked files from Capcom.
There is more evidence of Capcom’s unauthorized use of Judy A. Juracek’s photos in resident Evil and in The devil can cry, and people on social media were understandably frustrated.
I’ve seen the evidence of Capcom’s alleged pursuit of stolen images, it’s very compelling and shocking that some of the texture files taken have the exact same filenames. It’s disappointing. Paying the original artist or just asking permission would have been so easy. 😩
— Suzi Hunter (@TheSphereHunter) June 6, 2021
Holy shit, this lawsuit against Capcom looks really bad for Capcom. I don’t know how this will play out in court, but some of this evidence seems like a fucking silver bullet to me.
— EMP_Dark_Triad (@HBJohnXuandou) June 5, 2021
Others have come to Capcom’s defense, but not exactly with the right frame of mind.
It’s multiple textures. The images line up exactly; something almost impossible to do by chance. And not everyone on the planet is a gamer. They only found out last year due to hacking/leaks. Sounds like you just wanna be sarcastic without knowing anything
— Fox Diamond (@FoxDiamondGamin) June 6, 2021
No more idiots wanting money it’s done and no more budging on the cause unless you redo that copyright all these years you ain’t got no case
—MattsCreative (@MattsCreative1) June 6, 2021
Capcom already has a history of copyright misconduct, as a Dutch filmmaker is also suing the company for copy monster drawings without permission for Resident Evil Village.
The beloved creators behind many of our favorite horror and suspense games seem to be in deep trouble, and rightly so. It’s only a matter of time before Capcom pays Juracek’s $12 million damages bill.
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