Thursday, 19 April 2012

Plagiarism Or A Tenuous "Link"? - Author sues Ubisoft

American science fiction author John L. Beiswenger is having a stab at suing Ubisoft over alleged similarities between his novel "Link", and the Assassin's Creed franchise. This isn't the first time someone has tried to call "minesies" on a rather lucrative intellectual property but this guys claims may actually have some weight.

Plagiarism or a tenuous Link?

The main point of the authors suit is that the premise of his novel; that the memories of an Ancestor can be "accessed, recalled, relived and re-experienced" by using a nifty gadget called a "Bio-synthesizer" has been ripped off by Ubisoft, with nothing more than a name change to hide it.

Now I'll admit that that does sound quite similar to Ass Creeds "Animus", but then again I don't think that Beiswenger solely owns the rights to the concept of Memetic Legacy...

The suit goes on to list other thematic similarities, including "spiritual and biblical tones, with references made to Jesus and God, the Garden of Eden, and forbidden fruit." as well as the experiencing of "accurate historical moments through their ancestors' memories."

But what if all your ancestors where boring?

Link also includes a number of assassinations in relation to this new process, although again, I don't think industrial espionage is anything new either... The legal document cites a number of extracts from the book, including this from page 290:  

""If John Wilkes Booth fathered a child after he assassinated Lincoln, and we found a descendant alive today, we could place Booth at the scene and perhaps smell the gunpowder." "Your talking about Ancestral memories? How far back can you go?" "As far back as you want."

O.K, starting to sound quite similar now... 

Beiswenger is seeking damages for each Assassin's Creed product released by Ubisoft since the franchise was established back in 2007. This would include all four games, their guide-books, the comic series, a novel, a short movie and two trailers. That's a whole lotta damages...

$1.05 million in damages to be exact.
The suit requests that no less than this amount be awarded to Beiswenger, with the amount rising to a whopping $5.25 million if the judge rules that Ubisoft willfully infringed his copyrights. If the latter happens, this could mean that the judge would have no choice but to prevent the release of Assassin's Creed III and all future related products which may well lead to the author getting a swift wristblade to the back of the neck next time he's in a busy market place... 

How dare you ask for recognition for your own work?! Requiescat in pace scribe!

Nothing is true, everything is permitted indeed...

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