Call of Duty Lawsuit Accuses Activision of Copyright Infringement Over Operator Mara

Writer and photographer Clayton Haugen has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Activision and Infinity Ward over the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare operator Mara. In a filing obtained by TorrentFreak, the plaintiff alleges that Activision’s character infringes on his copyright for a character named “Cade Janus.” Janus is the subject of a storyline called November Renaissance, which Haugen had written and was pitching to movie studios. In 2017, Haugen hired Twitch streamer, actress, and model Alex Zedra for a series of photographs he created as part of that pitch. Those photos were published on Instagram, Haugen’s website, and on calendars he created.

Haugen alleges that contractors for Activision, looking to create a new female character for the Call of Duty franchise, discovered these photos, and then specifically tried to replicate the same style by hiring Zedra for photos and 3D scanning for the game. The lawsuit claims that contractors hired the same makeup professional from the Janus shoot, used the same hair extension, and asked Zedra to obtain the same items worn from the shoot from Haugen. The lawsuit also states that Zedra and the makeup professional were required to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements to hide the similarities.

A side-by-side from the filing can be found below.

It remains to be seen whether or not Haugen’s case can be proven, but it does seem that Activision or its contractors may have been aware of the Cade Janus photos. In the filing, Haugen provides a “Project Odyssey” development document from Activision, dated September 8, 2017. The document has pictures of multiple actors and models, including one of Haugen’s photos of Zedra as Janus. The document is marked “the face of the future” and seems to point to Activision’s attempt to create a more diversified cast for Modern Warfare.

Haugen is seeking “all monetary remedies from Defendants’ infringement, including all of their profits attributable to their infringements,” as well as his attorney fees. The plaintiff is also requesting a trial by jury for the case.

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