Call of duty modern warfare warzone mara character copyright infringement lawsuit

Activision Sued Over Alleged Copyright Infringement for Modern Warfare and Warzone’s Mara Character

Activision is the latest massive company being hit with accusations of a stolen character. A recently filed lawsuit alleges that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone’s Mara operator is a blatant copy of an original character called “Cade Janus,” who was created and copyrighted by Clayton Haugen as part of his story, November Renaissance.

The lawsuit outlines the timeline for the complaint, saying that Haugen hired actress, cosplayer, and twitch streamer Alex Zedra to portray his original character, Cade Janus, in a series of photographs that would accompany his story as a pitch to various film studios. The photographs of Zedra as Janus were also used on Instagram and a series of calendars.

The suit goes on to claim that Activision then hired Zedra and requested that she acquire the same clothing and gear used in the Janus photo series. Further, it’s claimed that they hired the same makeup artist with a request to copy the makeup and “even use the same hair extension piece.” Haugen even lays out claims that his original photos were “posted on the wall of the studio” as references in the creation of the Mara character.

Call of duty modern warfare warzone mara character copyright infringement lawsuit 1

It’s also claimed that those involved were required to sign non-disclosure agreements to hide the infringement. “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.”

Haugen’s suit then describes how Mara was used within a lot of Call of Duty marketing. “With this infringing female character as the centerpiece of an advertising campaign for the first time in the Call of Duty series, [defendants] shattered all previous sales and games-played records. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has generated more than a billion dollars in revenues,” the complaint states.

While Haugen’s Janus photos weren’t copyrighted until 2020, his story that they accompany has copyrights dating back to 2012 and 2013. Haugen is seeking monetary remediation in relation to the revenue earned by using the alleged infringing character in prominent positions of marketing for both the game and in-game purchases.

Mara is a popular character in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone, first introduced as part of the Season One Battle Pass, and later given additional skins via other Battle Pass rewards and premium bundles.

Last month, EA was also hit with complaints that they had stolen a character design for Apex Legends’ newest hero, though that alleged infringement hasn’t yet extended to a lawsuit and there’s other evidence to the contrary.

[Original Complaint PDF via TorrentFreak]