A lawsuit filed in Texas court alleges that Activision and Infinity Ward infringed copyright when they created the character Mara in 2019, again Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare. The lawsuit was filed by author and photographer Clayton Haugen, who claims that Mara breaks with a character he created called “Cade Janus”. The real model for both Mara and Cade Janus is the same person, Alex Zedra, an actress and Twitch streamer.
Haugen is a writer and photographer who hoped to make a feature film called the November Renaissance, and who successfully Kickstarted a short film of the same name in 2017. Around this time, he hired actor Alex Zedra to portray ̵
Haugen’s lawsuit, as reported by TorrentFreak, claims that the images of Cade Janus were placed on the “wall of the studio” while Infinity Ward created the Mara character for Modern Warfare.
The lawsuit further alleges that Activision and Infinity Ward hired Zedra, as well as the same makeup artist Haugen had used, and directed the makeup artist “to do the talent’s makeup exactly as she had done for Haugen’s Cade Janus photographs.” It is also alleged that Activision asked Zedra to borrow the same clothes and equipment used in the ‘Cade Janus’ photography from Haugen himself.
Some of the allegations of infringement concern not only Mara’s appearance in the game, but images taken with Zedra as part of the marketing of Modern Warfare in 2019. Haugen claims that these photographs, seen below, are “substantially similar”:
Predicting whether a lawsuit like this has bones seems like a joke. If you hire an actress to play two characters, these characters will look pretty similar. If they are both characters using combat equipment, they will still look more alike. If the Cade Janus images were specifically used as a reference, perhaps then? What do I know.
The complaint, which you can read in its entirety here, claims that Haugen has “the right to reclaim all monetary mechanisms from the defendants’ violation, including all profits that can be attributed to their violations, to the full extent permitted …”. The lawsuit points out that Activision said at the end of 2019 that the game had earned over $ 1 billion (around £ 731 million) in revenue.
As one side mentions the lawsuit that Haugen gave the story of the Bruce Willis film Hard Kill in 2020.
I have reached out to Activision and Haugen for comment and will update the story if both parties are to respond.