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Activision pulls Call of Duty content over art theft claim

A new cosmetic skin for Call of Duty has been pulled after an independent artist complained that their work had been stolen and repurposed. This isn’t the first time a multi-billionaire corporation has taken assets from creators without permission.

Popular first-person shooter franchise Call of Duty has come under fire (no pun intended) this week for allegedly stealing an independent artist’s work and repurposing it for an upcoming content pack.

Titled ‘Floof Fury’, the pack features an anthropomorphic dog as a playable character as well as a collection of weapons, emblems, charms, and stickers.

It was intended for release this month but has been pulled from Activision’s websites and YouTube channels due to theft claim from the artist Sail Lin.

The character is called ‘Loyal Samoyed’ and is a skin for Operator Kim Tae Young in Call Of Duty: Warzone, the free-to-play battle royale mode that is an obvious, direct competitor to similar titles such as Fortnite.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Multi-billion dollar corporations continually steal or ‘take heavy influence’ from concept artists who’ve no association with their games, raking in cash from the hard work of others.

This is especially true in the mobile space, which is full of shovel ware and poorly sourced imagery that blatantly rips off other, more well-known IPs.

This problem has extended further into digital spaces over the last few years with the introduction of NFTs, opening the door for rampant theft and piracy. It probably doesn’t help that some publishers like Ubisoft intend to introduce them into upcoming games, either.

Establishing such controversial, lucrative features into gaming must be handled correctly, or else we’ll likely see even more content abuse and theft similar to ‘Floof Fury’ in the future.

Let’s not forget there’s an entire ecosystem of CSGO tradeable skins and artwork that has thrived for years and shows no sign of slowing. Anyone remember the LOTTO website scandal?

These types of systems should serve as a good indication as to where most publishers intentions lie when it comes to egregious monetisation.

For now, it’s not currently clear whether Activision intends to entirely wipe the ‘Floof Fury’ skin from Call Of Duty, nor do we know if the original artist has been contacted. We’ve only their original statement that was posted earlier this week.

‘Even though I am also a Call Of Duty player, I am very disappointed to see my work being plagiarized by a big company like Activision in this way.’

It’s important that artists speak up when their work is being blatantly ripped off, as otherwise it’s very easy for publishers to get away with little repercussions.

The industry has long been full of legal loop holes – loot boxes, child gambling, broken products, and false advertising to name just a few – and it’s clear that companies will continue to push their luck until new laws come into effect.