Assassin's Creed Copyright Suit Lawyer Speaks Out

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Assassin's Creed Copyright Suit Lawyer Speaks Out

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John Beiswenger's lawyer has clarified that his case will progress despite gamers' ire.

A few weeks ago John Beiswenger launched a lawsuit against Assassin's Creed developer Ubisoft, alleging that the Animus device featured in the studio's successful sneaky-stabby-jumpy-through-history franchise borrows a little too heavily from a similar machine he dreamt up in his 2003 novel Link. He also alleges that several key themes overlap between the two works in a way which, coupled with the Animus concept, infringes on his copyright. As part of the suit, Beiswenger is claiming $5.25 million in damages and asking that the release of this winter's Assassin's Creed 3 be delayed until his complaint is resolved.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Beiswenger's lawyer, Kelley C. Keller Esq., defended her client's position and responded to the speedy review-bombing that irate Assassin's Creed fans levelled at Link's Amazon page in the days following the announcement of the lawsuit.

"We understand that many gamers are upset about the litigation and potential for delay in the release of the next Assassin's Creed video game, and as a result of that anger have been posting negative comments on Amazon - and other forums - about our client and his novel Link," said Keller. "The Amazon 'bombing,' storm of negative comments, and threats to our client have no bearing on the appropriateness, merits, or outcome of this suit. They have no material effect on the legal claims," she continued.

One of the first questions to spring to the collective gaming mind when the suit was announced involved wondering why Beiswenger took so long to sue. The first Assassin's Creed was released five years ago, and Link is nearly nine years old; why the wait? "The claim has been brought within the applicable time periods required under the law," said Keller.

When asked why the case includes an attempt to stall Assassin's Creed 3, Keller said, "Copyright holders are entitled to injunctive relief under the law to stop continued infringement." Not the type to mince words, lawyers.

I have to be honest here: I've never trained in law. (I know. My parents are disappointed, too.) With that in mind, I really have no clue whether or not Beiswenger's case is going anywhere or really possesses the power to hold back Assassin's Creed 3. All I can say is that Keller is an experienced-sounding lawyer with a website, and that the last publicly-available event to occur in the case of Beiswenger vs. Ubisoft was something involving "SPECIAL ADMISSIONS FORM APPROVED" and other legalese.

So, that about wraps it up for now. We'll keep our ears to the ground for updates on the lawsuit's progress; in the meantime, if any intellectual property lawyers in the audience know of any compelling legal information that could shed light on likely progression routes for the case, please do drop us a line. Or concentrate on your probably very important lawyer-business. As you please.

Source: Eurogamer

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I don't see why gamers thought Amazon bombing this guy's book was going to do anything except make them look like ignorant little cry-babies. It's obvious this guy has a real case (if what he says is true) and that a few immature comments aren't going to stop him. And so what if he wins? He will get a huge pile of money but I'm sure it won't shut down Ubisoft or damage the Assassin's Creed brand. There doesn't seem to be any intention to do that at all. And so what if AC3 gets pushed back? It's not getting cancelled. I'm sure gamers can live without AC3 a little longer. It's probably a good thing for the series to slow down it's release pace anyway. They might even put the extra time to good use and make the game better.

Scrustle:
I don't see why gamers thought Amazon bombing this guy's book was going to do anything except make them look like ignorant little cry-babies. It's obvious this guy has a real case (if what he says is true) and that a few immature comments aren't going to stop him. And so what if he wins? He will get a huge pile of money but I'm sure it won't shut down Ubisoft or damage the Assassin's Creed brand. There doesn't seem to be any intention to do that at all. And so what if AC3 gets pushed back? It's not getting cancelled. I'm sure gamers can live without AC3 a little longer. It's probably a good thing for the series to slow down it's release pace anyway. They might even put the extra time to good use and make the game better.

We have a distaste for greedy scumbags and frivolous lawsuits.

PrinceOfShapeir:

Scrustle:
I don't see why gamers thought Amazon bombing this guy's book was going to do anything except make them look like ignorant little cry-babies. It's obvious this guy has a real case (if what he says is true) and that a few immature comments aren't going to stop him. And so what if he wins? He will get a huge pile of money but I'm sure it won't shut down Ubisoft or damage the Assassin's Creed brand. There doesn't seem to be any intention to do that at all. And so what if AC3 gets pushed back? It's not getting cancelled. I'm sure gamers can live without AC3 a little longer. It's probably a good thing for the series to slow down it's release pace anyway. They might even put the extra time to good use and make the game better.

We have a distaste for greedy scumbags and frivolous lawsuits.

^This.

And so what if he wins? Good sir, I do believe you never heard of the term "precedence", at least within the law world. Him winning would set a stepping stone that others could use to pursue their own lawsuit against a company for "infringing" on a few vague concepts.

Besides, the answer as to why he waited is obvious. His book is shit, his writing? Also shit. At the time Assassin's Creed came out, no one knew the game would hit it off as well as it did. Now that it is doing really good, he doesn't want his pie, he's going after Ubisoft for their much tastier, better pie.

I'm not going to be grabbing my pitchfork over this but I am curious, why did he wait this long? His lawyer's response about his claim being brought forward within applicable time periods has misdirection written all over it.

Reading some of those reviews is pretty funny though. I like the guy who gave Link 3 stars on the basis that he's trying to help boost the rating in apology for all the bad ones. In my opinion, none of it matters. You can't really stop the angry masses from doing this kind of thing (short of disabling comments) and you can't really appeal to them. Really, I'm just going to wait this out and see what happens.

you know, I've never understood the stupidly large amount of money people sue for.
is this guy really saying that because assassins creed was made, $5M worth of people bought that instead of his book (which, until now, I've never heard of)?

what exactly has ubisoft done that has made him lose $5M?
or is he just a greedy shitbag hoping to promote his crappy book?

Goofguy:
I'm not going to be grabbing my pitchfork over this but I am curious, why did he wait this long?

He probably isn't a gamer.
If a Spanish Soap Opera ripped off the plot of Heavy Rain, would you know about it? Likely not.

AdamG3691:
(which, until now, I've never heard of)

Exactly. Now you have.
This was likely the author's initial objective.

I harbor no love for Ubisoft, but i like those who sue for money just because they can even less. That he even has a case to begin with just continues to illustrate how flawed copyright laws really are.

I don't blame the lawyer, she's just doing her job defending her client. I blame the greedy scumbag who's calling dibs on a concept he didn't even invent in the first place. I direct your attention to Strange Days who's synopsis reads as such.

From IMDB:
Set in the year 1999 during the last days of the old millenium, the movie tells the story of Lenny Nero, an ex-cop who now deals with data-discs containing recorded memories and emotions. One day he receives a disc which contains the memories of a murderer killing a prostitute. Lenny investigates and is pulled deeper and deeper in a whirl of blackmail, murder and rape. Will he survive and solve the case?

Oh well would you look at that, a story involving a character who experiences another person's memories via some fictional piece of technology. I think he should sue Kathryn Bigelow for stealing his idea 8 years before he wrote his book.

Copyright and patent trolls make me sick, I hope the bastard goes bankrupt fighting the bureaucratic shit-storm Ubisoft's lawyer's bring down on his pathetic head.

AdamG3691:
you know, I've never understood the stupidly large amount of money people sue for.
is this guy really saying that because assassins creed was made, $5M worth of people bought that instead of his book (which, until now, I've never heard of)?

what exactly has ubisoft done that has made him lose $5M?
or is he just a greedy shitbag hoping to promote his crappy book?

I'm just speculating here but I think it's more related to unjust enrichment - i.e. by using his ideas, Ubisoft has made millions of dollars, and so should give up the gains they have made as a result of taking shortcuts (by "stealing" his concepts). They are "unjustly enriched". I'm not saying I think it happened, but this is the basis of it (at least that's how it works in the UK, and the UK and US systems are similar).

Add this to the fact that compensation in the US is punitive (punishment for your wrongful conduct) rather than compensatory (make good the losses you caused), and you get $5 million. Lots of law suits in the US settle for ridiculous sums of money based on this.

Absolutionis:

AdamG3691:
(which, until now, I've never heard of)

Exactly. Now you have.
This was likely the author's initial objective.

to make me never want to buy anything from him ever?

honestly, if I'd seen the book, I would have likely been interested (ironically, because I like assassins creed)
now, I'd want nothing to do with it.

ScatterBen:

AdamG3691:
you know, I've never understood the stupidly large amount of money people sue for.
is this guy really saying that because assassins creed was made, $5M worth of people bought that instead of his book (which, until now, I've never heard of)?

what exactly has ubisoft done that has made him lose $5M?
or is he just a greedy shitbag hoping to promote his crappy book?

I'm just speculating here but I think it's more related to unjust enrichment - i.e. by using his ideas, Ubisoft has made millions of dollars, and so should give up the gains they have made as a result of taking shortcuts (by "stealing" his concepts). They are "unjustly enriched". I'm not saying I think it happened, but this is the basis of it (at least that's how it works in the UK, and the UK and US systems are similar).

Add this to the fact that compensation in the US is punitive (punishment for your wrongful conduct) rather than compensatory (make good the losses you caused), and you get $5 million. Lots of law suits in the US settle for ridiculous sums of money based on this.

christ laws are wierd...

so he's basically saying "waaah, waaah, they did something similar to me as a framing device for their game that did well, I'm upset GIEF MONEH NAO!" ?

Urgh -_-

This is why 'no, seriously, fuck off' should be a valid legal defence.

Back in the 60's England repealed a law that meant that people who bought frivolous lawsuits against others had the possibilty of being prosecuted themselves for wasting a courts time.

Time to dust that shit off and stick the death penalty on it, cos I am getting fucking sick of all this litigation crap.

I'm really not seeing the validity of the suit. While I'm no lawyer, I do recall that you can't copyright ideas, only the expressions of an idea. A machine that reads genetic memory? That's an idea. The animus being used by Assassins in a war against templars? That's the expression of that idea.

What I think is happening here is that this guy isn't expecting to win, or even go to court. The hope here is that Ubisoft (or their insurance company) will look at the suit, crunch numbers and say "Holy crap! Even if we win, this is gonna cost a lot of cash!" and settle for a lot less. In short, he's hoping Ubisoft will eventually bribe him to go away. Seems pretty common in lawsuits today, especially with insurers involved. They'd rather go for the lower expense, and the precedents be damned!

Pfft, like one guy can stop a huge multimillion company from doing anything. The injunction thing is just a hanging axe, the only possible outcomes are either this guy gets a bunch of money from Ubi to shut up, or he doesn't.

The experts that were posted when his case came up did have a strikingly similar scene in which the main character is in the body of his distant ancestor and a godlike figure speaks to the present day person through the ancestors, although in his story it's because YAY JESUS. I'm pretty sure that's just a coincidence but that's not exactly provable and I can see a judge seeing that as proof. It's quite damning that a rather bad (or at least unknown) book has a scene so similar to a videogame with a relatively good story.

PrinceOfShapeir:
We have a distaste for greedy scumbags and frivolous lawsuits.

Hey, you mispelled 'are entitled manbabies who cannot bear the thought that something we want to have will be delayed, because we literally have no concept of patience whatsoever.'

You should proofread, dude, it could be interpretated as a completely different sentence.

This lawsuit stinks of "getting rich quick". I will almost never support the person suing in cases like this, unless there ends up being a very good arguement.

i don't mind if the games delayed but i don't like it when its delayed by pointless bs

What better place to look for recognition then through the product of one who saw to that point but then went further.

The reason he waited so long is that you can get a LOT more money suing someone who's wildly successful than an upstart, unproven franchise.

Someone obviously wants their gold plated dildo.

Link was a shitty book. Assassin's creed took that concept and made it 1000 times better. This guy decides to sue 5 YEARS after its success? You lost pal, its obvious your just being greedy.

Otherwise James Cameron could be sued for having the same plot to Dances With Wolves.

AdamG3691:

Absolutionis:

AdamG3691:
(which, until now, I've never heard of)

Exactly. Now you have.
This was likely the author's initial objective.

to make me never want to buy anything from him ever?

honestly, if I'd seen the book, I would have likely been interested (ironically, because I like assassins creed)
now, I'd want nothing to do with it.

Yeah, stupid plan of his backfired in the worst way. Now the only hope the """""author""""" has is to recoup his lost dignity with the lawsuit (I ran out of quotation marks / sarcasm quotes on that word).

So in this guy's logic, Robert Jordan (RIP) totally should've sued Terry Goodkind, 'cus there are so many parallels between Wheel of Time and Sword of Truth...

Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh had a much much better case against Dan Brown in their lawsuit. Basically Bailent and Leigh wrote a non-fictional book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. Dan Brown acknowledge he used ideas from the other authors book to create the best seller The Da Vinci Code. "Baigent and Leigh acknowledged that copyright should not protect against the borrowing of an idea contained in a work. But they argued that their book made a sequence of connections that no-one had made before."

This lawsuit failed in the UK court system. "Justice Smith observed: 'When a book is put forward as being a non fictional book and contains a large number of facts and ideas it is always going to be a difficult exercise in trying to protect against copying of those facts and ideas because as such they cannot be protected. It is the effort and time that has gone into the way in which those ideas and facts are presented that is capable of protection.'"

Unfortunately the case is not going to be settled in the UK.

if this delays Assassin's Creed 3 this will hurt the storyline because of 2012 theme in the games and in real life.

Well, damn. Who got the lawyer that knows how to calmly, matter-of-factly deal with these things? Our shenanigans have less merit when someone tells us they don't impact the matter at hand. Nuts.

Hevva:

I have to be honest here: I've never trained in law. (I know. My parents are disappointed, too.)

It's the little things like this that make me love the Escapist. Almost the entire news team, when they're not tongue bathing GOG.com and their remarkable sales, has their tongue in their cheek and their wit on high. It's okay. We know that "Games Journalism is a totally legit career, dad". We understand. Let them shake their heads in disapproval.

"All I can say is that Keller is an experienced-sounding lawyer with a website"

So did anyone else see this line as an invitation to mess with said lawyer?

over 5M??? for a book no one knows, sold badly and got not so good ratings??? is he serious???
sounds to me he is just greedy and jealous because his book is bad. lets see what the court will say about this.
if he wins, he really needs the 5M to hire really good security guys to protect him, from really pissed off AC fans.

I know people have already said this, but I think it's an important point that bears repeating. Nothing good will become of this if Ubi loses the case. OK, Ubisoft loses some money, big deal, plenty more where that came from, whatever. Trouble is, there are a LOT of small-time books out there that likely noone would ever had heard of, with stories vaguely similar to those in certain games, depending on how you spin it. Winning this case sets a precedence for other authors to sue on the grounds that they came up with an idea first, and have intellectual authority over it. Cue floodgates.

If there's any silver lining in that, it's that game writers will have to really work their imagination to the limits to think of something truly unique, but it would still be a sad state of affairs.

Lego Minecraft, James Cameron's Avatar, and now this. Last I checked, none of the lawsuits went anywhere, so I'm anticipating this guy will get his ass kicked in court and we'll never hear a word of it.

robert022614:
"All I can say is that Keller is an experienced-sounding lawyer with a website"

So did anyone else see this line as an invitation to mess with said lawyer?

Dude, did you read the experience section on her site? I wouldn't try to mess with this lady. She has Esquire after her name. The link was more or less the only info I could find on her career in law, so it was included. (Also I was totally not inviting any messings, sorry if it came off like that.)

I know this man, don't worry people i held him down and fucked his mouth hard until all the evil was out of him.

I then slit his throat and left him for dead... you can never be to sure.

ManThatYouFear:
I know this man, don't worry people i held him down and fucked his mouth hard until all the evil was out of him.

I then slit his throat and left him for dead... you can never be to sure.

You fool! Do you know nothing? Now he will be back for sure!
You should have burned the body, mixed the ashes with holy water, used that to make a cement block, then thrown that in the deep ocean.

I was wondering what happened with this.

I think it's pretty sad that a self published, and by all accounts, terribly written book, is somehow holding up production of a major series. Copyright litigation should not be this abusable. It's like the patent trolls who patent concepts and then sue the crap out of anyone who successfully implements them.

Unless there is a clear link (heh) between this shitty novel that nobody had ever heard of prior to this lawsuit and the game, then this is just one more greedy pathetic moron trying leech off of other people's success.

Just a shameless money grab. Jim Sterling would approve of the 'childish' Amazon bombing of the guys book. And he'd be right.

KeyMaster45:
I don't blame the lawyer, she's just doing her job defending her client. I blame the greedy scumbag who's calling dibs on a concept he didn't even invent in the first place. I direct your attention to Strange Days who's synopsis reads as such.

From IMDB:
Set in the year 1999 during the last days of the old millenium, the movie tells the story of Lenny Nero, an ex-cop who now deals with data-discs containing recorded memories and emotions. One day he receives a disc which contains the memories of a murderer killing a prostitute. Lenny investigates and is pulled deeper and deeper in a whirl of blackmail, murder and rape. Will he survive and solve the case?

Oh well would you look at that, a story involving a character who experiences another person's memories via some fictional piece of technology. I think he should sue Kathryn Bigelow for stealing his idea 8 years before he wrote his book.

Copyright and patent trolls make me sick, I hope the bastard goes bankrupt fighting the bureaucratic shit-storm Ubisoft's lawyer's bring down on his pathetic head.

Lol. The two are reasonably different, but funny comment none-the-less. I approve :D

Nicolaus99:
Just a shameless money grab. Jim Sterling would approve of the 'childish' Amazon bombing of the guys book. And he'd be right.

Yeah, because Jim is a good moral compass -_-

The twat harassed a woman on Twitter and called her both a cunt and a femanazi. He also goes out of his way to act like a tosser and his little "I'm a god" facade has been going on since birth, if you know what I mean. Everything that "man" does is childish, inane and wrapped in stupidity.

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