Resident Evil And Devil May Cry Franchises Accused Of Stealing Artist's Work

Resident Evil And Devil May Cry Franchises Accused Of Stealing Artist's Work

Written by 

Tom Chapman


7th Jun 2021 14:00

Capcom might be a beloved developer known for its horror and fighting games, but now, the gaming powerhouse finds itself being sued over allegations it stole an artist's work. Aside from Street Fighter, Capcom is best-known for the long-running Resident Evil series. The zombie shooter has been crawling out of the grave since 1996, and only recently, soared to the top of the charts with Resident Evil Village. Elsewhere, there's the hack 'n' slash Devil May Cry that follows a demon hunter trying to save the Earth from annihilation.

Both Resident Evil and Devil May Cry are known for their distinctive style of artwork, however, one artist claims Capcom knowingly ripped off her own creations for both games. She alleges that the acclaimed Resident Evil 4, 2001's Devil May Cry, and other titles within the developer's back catalogue use her imagery.

Why is Capcom being sued for Resident Evil and Devil May cry?

According to Polygon, designer Judy A. Juracek has filed the first part of her case in a Connecticut court on June 4. Here, Juracek claims Capcom ripped off photos from her 1996 book, Surfaces. The licensable book is supposed to be used by artists, architects, and designers for "visual research" and comes with a CD-ROM of images. She says that Capcom used at least 80 of her photographs (out of 1,200), but didn't contact her for permissions. 

In particular, Juracek maintains the Resident Evil 4 logo uses her photograph of shattered glass as a texture. The documents read, "It is hard to imagine that Juracek would take a photo of shattered glass in Italy and 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". There are over 100 pages of supporting case documents, where Juracek points out 200 instances she thinks her photographs have been used in Capcom games. Other examples include marble textures and "ornate cultural details".

Will Capcom be sued over Resident Evil and Devil May Cry?

It remains to be seen whether there's any merit to the case, but there's no escaping the fact Juracek has a LOT of examples of potential copyright infringement. The case comes off the back of the massive 2020 Capcom data breach. Alongside plans for Village and personal data being leaked, Juracek said there was the reveal of "high resolution images of artwork used in Resident Evil and other games". What's interesting, is the fact Juracek alleges Capcom uses the same file names that she did on her Surfaces CD-ROM.

This is the latest in a string of potential cases against Capcom. In Juracek's case, she mentions how Resident Evil Village was recently accused of ripping off the design of the propellor-headed miniboss called Sturm in Heisenberg's factory. Juracek is asking for $12 million and damages for "false copyright management and removal of copyright management" - asking for an additional $2,500 to $25,000 for every photograph used.

When Polygon reached out to Capcom, the developer said it was "aware of the lawsuit" but has “no further comment". Much like Lady Dimitrescu sucking the life out of Ethan Winters, this could be one expensive case that drains the Capcom coffers.


Images via Capcom

Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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