Capcom faces lawsuit over unauthorized use of stock photos in Resident Evil & Devil May Cry

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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.

through Nintendo

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.

Capcom

via public court documents

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.

via public court documents

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.

Capcom

via public court documents

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.

Others have come to Capcom’s defense, but not exactly with the right frame of mind.

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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