Capcom 'resolves' lawsuit over images used in Resident Evil 4

resident evil 4
(Image credit: Capcom)

A lot of copyright infringement cases in the games world are tedious, frustrating affairs, solidifying the idea that games publishers are staffed with painfully pedantic legal automatons designed for one purpose: copyright-striking (yes you, Take-Two). What's less common is a copyright dispute where your jaw drops at the resemblance between dozens of textures in a major game look and the photographs in an art photography book.

That was the basis for designer Judy A. Juracek's lawsuit against Capcom, which alleged last June that the publisher used, without permission, at least 80 photographs from a CD-ROM accompanying her 1996 photography book Spaces. Most of the textures were claimed to feature in Devil May Cry and Resident Evil 4. Now, the law firm representing Juracek, St Onge Steward Johnston & Reens LLC, has confirmed that the dispute has been "amicably resolved" (thanks, Polygon).

We don't have the specifics of what resolution was reached, so can't definitely sing the copycat, copycat song at Capcom, but some of the exhibits from the court documents are, shall we say, uncannily compelling.

There's the actual game logo…

resident evil 4 logo next to Juracek's photo

(Image credit: Judy A. Juracek/Court documents (via Polygon))

Various keys designs and wall textures…

resident evil 4 textures next to Juracek's photos

(Image credit: Judy A. Juracek/Court documents (via Polygon))

Stained glass windows…

resident evil 4 stained glass window next to Juracek's photo

(Image credit: Judy Juracek/Court documents (via Polygon))

… and this texture, which had the exact same file name in the game files as it did on the Spaces CD. Either a case of very sloppy copycatting or a cosmic coincidence.

resident evil 4 textures next to Juracek's photo

(Image credit: Judy A. Juracek/Court documents (via Polygon))

The case is now closed, and the damages haven't been disclosed. What we do know is that Juracek's lawyers were seeking $2,500 to $25,000 for each photo used by Capcom, amounting to as much as $12 million in damages.

This isn't the only time Capcom has been accused of using existing designs without permission. Frankenstein's Army director Richard Raaphorst said last May that the Sturm boss (the one with a propeller for a face) from Resident Evil Village was ripped from the 2013 movie, which featured a near-identical monster.

At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that Chris Redfield was actually ripped from a mid-90s 'Sexy Firemen' calendar, and that mutated William Birkin was in fact a scrapped Teletubby design. Stay tuned.

Robert is a freelance writer and chronic game tinkerer who spends many hours modding games then not playing them, and hiding behind doors with a shotgun in Hunt: Showdown. Wishes to spend his dying moments on Earth scrolling through his games library on a TV-friendly frontend that unifies all PC game launchers.