Activision Blizzard Sued Over Call of Duty Character Design

Photographer Claims Activision Blizzard Copied His Copyrighted Design

Activision Blizzard is reportedly getting sued over an operator they added to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in 2019. The plaintiff is a writer and photographer named Clayton Haugen, who claims the Call of Duty character, Mara, is based on “Cade Janus”, a character he created and uploaded to his website and social media channels prior to Mara’s release.

According to court documents originally published by Torrent Freak, Haugen filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in a Texas court on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Haugen claims that Activision Blizzard, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare developer, Infinity Ward, intentionally modeled the character of Mara after his own original design –both of which even hired the same model, Alex Zedra for the basis of the character.

Haugen had previously hired Zedra to model his character before she was contacted to work on the role of Mara. Haugen has several photos of Zedra dressed in military garb on his Instagram account. The lawsuit claims that Activision Blizzard used these photos as inspiration for the character design and reached out to Zedra to model the character as a result.

Some of the claims filed in the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard claim that they:

  • Used Haugen’s Cade Janus photographs as guides during their shoots
  • Hired the same talent, Alex Zedra
  • Requested Zedra wear the same attire from the Cade Janus photographs
  • Hired the same makeup artist from the Cade Janus shoot
  • Directed her to do the same makeup as the Cade Janus shoot
  • Directed her to style Zedra’s hair in the same style as the Cade Janus Shoot

The lawsuit also claims that Activision Blizzard required both Zedra and the makeup artist they used to sign non-disclosure agreements.

“To conceal their planned infringement of Haugen’s Cade Janus Photographs and his Cade Janus character, Defendants required the talent and the makeup professional to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements.”

The lawsuit claims that “Haugen is entitled to recover all monetary remedies from Defendants’ infringement, including all of their profits attributable to their infringements, to the full extent permitted by 17 U.S.C. § 504.” as well as recovering any financial loss occurred in filing this lawsuit, including attorney’s fees.