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Photographer seeks $12m in copyright damages over claims Capcom ripped off her snaps in Resident Evil 4 art

From pictures of shattered glass to patterns on doors and much more

A US designer has sued for damages of around $12m amid allegations that Japanese games developer Capcom breached copyright by using her photos in titles including the massively popular Resident Evil.

The lawsuit [PDF] alleges that Capcom used around 80 images – originally photographed by professional scenic artist and designer Judy Juracek – in its games and without her permission.

A number of those images are said to have been published in a book called Surfaces – along with an accompanying CD-ROM – by Juracek in 1996. In the 13-page submission filed in the US District Court of Connecticut last Friday, along with 134 pages of evidence comparing her images to those in the game [PDF], lawyers acting for Juracek highlighted two instances that they say point to copyright infringement.

The first centres on a photo taken by Juracek in Italy of a "unique looking glass shatter pattern" that allegedly forms part of "Capcom's primary logo for Resident Evil."

The second relates to a photo of intricate scrollwork on a wooden panel taken inside a Rhode Island mansion that forms part of a door in Resident Evil 4.

Arguing their case, Juracek's lawyers stated: "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 door design without benefit of Juracek's photographs."

In all, it's claimed that Capcom used approximately 80 or more of Juracek's photographs, which appeared more than 200 times in Resident Evil games.

Lawyers are seeking $12m in damages plus legal fees and that the case be heard in front of a jury.

No one from Capcom was available for comment at the time of writing. ®

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