Man Sues Ubisoft, Claims He Came Up With Assassin's Creed First

John Beiswenger, author of the novel Link (first published in 2003), has sued Ubisoft, claiming that the historical/sci-fi series infringes on a number of his copyrights.

Basically, he alleges that because his book involved a system which could access ancestral memories, then the fact Assassin's Creed also uses that as a cornerstone of its plot (along with secret research facilities and mentions of religion and creation) means it's cutting in on his turf.

Where Beiswenger may come undone is that he alleges Ubisoft "have directly copied, and

directly and contributorily infringed on the whole of Plaintiff's copyrighted work".

Now, similarities there may be between the two works, but that's art, baby. You build new stuff from the bones of the old. Even if anyone from Ubisoft had read Link, unless its plot is also about Templars vs Assassins and stars flamboyant Italians (which it doesn't), then it's not directly copying anything.

Interestingly, alongside practically every Ubisoft outpost, it seems GameTrailers has been roped into the lawsuit as well, for the heinous crime of showing this 2010 trailer...about PlayStation Home.

JOHN L. BEISWENGER v Ubisoft [Court Docs, via Patent Arcade]


    Whilst I appreciate your side of the argument here, Luke, imagine if the roles were reversed, I'm sure Ubisoft would be more than happy to sue a small-time writer over similarities. Take the recent Scrolls incident for an example

      Except that there are plenty of stories (including at least 1 concept album) that use the same idea, and were written before his book.

      Trademark and copyright are very different thinks. If someone made a game about dancing chipmunks called Assasin's Creed (for whatever reason) that'd be a trademark issue - it's about the name. Copyright is about the content (generally speaking) , and a lot harder to pin someone down because, exactly like Luke said, it's art. And all art is a product of everything that has come before. Also, iirc, copyright allows for independent invention (coming up with an idea on your own, even if someone's done it before) while trademark doesn't matter if you knew about it before or not.

      Except the Scrolls/Elder Scrolls thing was a trademark dispute. Bethesda never claimed that Mojam had copied anything from their games: merely that the name was likely to cause confusion to customers.

      For a copyright dispute, this person would need to show that Ubisoft had copied characters or storyline from his work. It wouldn't be enough to show that the two works shared common themes.

      You can't copyright an idea. Which is essentially what this author's trying to claim. The Scrolls issue was a trademark dispute.

        No, you can't copyright an idea, but you can copyright a story. He's alleging that Assassin's Creed has infringed on his copyright. I, and I would venture to say most people, disagree with him.

        Actually you can.. that what patten hoarding is, infact theres been many articles on that on this site alone because one company in asiawas basically suing every major company for using their idea of communicating over the internet.

    Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research. I don't believe the idea of ancestral memories is anything new. If Beiswenger's book had been about Assassins vs Templars as well as ancestral memories on the other hand, then that would be a clear infringement of copyright.

    Some people are just lawsuit happy, though there is quite a precedent of big companies ripping off artist's ideas in the past, so it wouldn't surprise me if Ubisoft had indeed lifted the idea directly from his book.

    Riiight, so the guys book probably didn't sell too well, so he is attempting to make some money by suing everybody.

    Good luck with that, buddy. Have fun with those legal fees.

    If your Rish it is just similarities.
    If your Poor it is Copyright Infringement

      I'm Rish, Bish!

    Doesn't really matter how much of the idea they pinched; you can't copyright ideas. If Ubisoft had lifted parts of the book word-for-word, or taken some original art, it'd be different.

      ^ this. Ideas can't be copyrighted, just the implementations of them.

      so travleing through ansestors memorys wouldnt be copyrightable but doing so with an animus would?

    How was this not brought into his attention until now? If this lawsuit came out the same time as AC1 then I'd understand. But I think he just wants on the money train at this point.

    details about the case

    Couldn't you at least wiki'd the book to find out if the plot involves templars? Seems kind of pertinent. For those of you at home, the book sounds nothing like Assassins Creed. In fact, it sounds a lot like some new age Christian bullshit.

      Because, in Australia, anything facile or stupid can be labeled "Christian." They're synonymous terms, right? Let's just call things that are lame by any number of other labels which we dislike or hold bias towards.

      I think the novel sounds a lot like womanly, gay-- with a side of Asian.



        cristian / priest is also interchangable withe pedophile

        Idiot. You should have looked it up first. Christian bullshit is what this is. As in he ham fists christianity into a pike of bullshit. Not the way you took it.

        Normally I'd be right alongside you slapping people for wantonly mislabelling everything as "Christian".

        Unfortunately the author in question's official website has a header that reads "John Beiswenger Christian, Author, Engineer"

    I think people are also missing the biggest thing here: ancestral memories isn't necessarily fictional. I believe there are theories that this happens in the animal world in cross-generational migration.

    If this is copyright infringement then the entire X-Files series is a work of plagiarism since almost every episode was borrowed from popular sci fi/supernatural authors

    Die Hard Scenario?
    Movies, Games, Books, and even Music borrow ideas from others. Everything is influenced from something else. The world would be a pretty boring place if we weren't allowed to borrow ideas off something else. Imagine if the world of science worked like that!

    I find it hilarious that they're suing GameTrailers for $30,000. Like it had an involvement in the development of Assassin's Creed.

    "Defendant Gametrailers willfully infringed under 17 U.S.C.A. §504 (c)(2) because they knew Link existed and intentionally copied a substantial portion of the copyrighted work."

    Calm down, guy. They aired a video sent to them by a publisher.

    Riiiight, so Assassins Creed came out in out 2008? so this guy is only going after them now after 4 years? gimme a break man ....

    and here I was thinking that AC story was an Erich Von Daniken rip off :P

    the story is a Chariots of the Gods, New World Order conspiracy, ancestral memories, pseudo-historical hybrid.

    Abstract of Link: Contrary to the beliefs of Nobel Laureate Dr. Francis Crick and most modern day scientists, but in alignment with the religious beliefs of billions of human beings on earth, the soul is alive and well and active in our daily lives. Contrary also to the beliefs of most neuroscientists, it is the soul, not the brain, which is designed to remember.

    This story principally takes place in the facilities of Search International, Inc., a product research firm near Madison, Wisconsin. They call their work "product research," because the engineers, medical professionals and scientific staff are specifically focused on the development of new products for client manufacturers.

    Commercialization of new technologies was the company's only objective until an unusual accident occurred; an accident which led management and the biotechnology research staff known as the Biochip Team into a discovery beyond their imaginations, a discovery which could well be considered the most important to mankind for all time.

    The truly astonishing hypothesis, developed by Search International, suggests that at the functional center of the nucleus of every cell is an atemporal Particle of zero mass and infinite capacity for memory - a biological singularity. The same Particle is a component of every cell in the body. It is the "fabric of the soul."

    The author lets the reader be present right alongside the scientists as they uncover some of the very secrets of Creation, and while test subjects are taken back in time to recall ancestral memories, a process key to proving the existence of the human soul. Intrigue enters the plot as competitors, a foreign government, and a special-interest group learn of Search International's discoveries.

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