Makers of ‘Assassin’s Creed’ sued for Copyright Infringement

John Beiswenger initiated a lawsuit in a federal court in Pennsylvania against the makers of Assassin’s Creed for copyright infringement on April 17. Beiswenger seeks as much as $5.25 Million in damages as well as a preliminary injunction to stop the release of Assassin’s Creed III, which is scheduled for release later this year.

Beiswenger is a research engineer and a novelist from Pennsylvania. He alleges that the Assassin’s Creed video game series is especially similar to his 2002 novel, Link, and that the makers knew of his novel and copied a substantial portion of his copyrighted work.

According to Kelley Clements Keller, one of the attorney’s for Beiswenger, “Beiswenger only recently became aware of the alleged copyright infringement… [because] it was brought to his attention by someone close to him who had read his book and told him the video games were using the same idea,” as reported by The Sentinel. Beiswenger is not a gamer, “but as he watched the video game, the similarities were unmistakeable.”

Link is based largely on the access of ancestral memories which can be “recalled, relived, and re-experienced by the user,” according to paragraph 23 of the complaint, which is similar to story-line in the video games. In addition to the overall story-line, Beiswenger claims that there are other notable similarities including various devices, labs, and character behaviors.

Although I am not an Assassin’s Creed fanatic, like Justin Gianninoto, nor have I heard of the novel Link prior to this lawsuit, I am interested to follow this case and see whether there Beiswenger has a legitimate claim or if this is nothing more than a coincidental similarity.

If you aren’t familiar with the Assasin’s Creed series, check out the trailer for Assasin’s Creed III:

I am a bit skeptical as to whether settlement is even an option, but I do not want to make any rash judgment’s just yet. Right now, I think it could very likely be anyone’s game. What do you think of Beiswenger’s lawsuit against the makers of Assassin’s Creed? Let us know some of your thought’s in the comment section below!

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  1. Savp01

    This Beiswenger guy probably talked it over with his friends and family and thought “this may be my ticket to make some good money..“ and his friends and family probably cheered him on with the hope of him making so much money and getting some themselves.. That or “make a big deal about sueing Ubisoft for Assassin’s Creed so that it sparks interest and people buy your book and then you still make more money!!” It really seems the most ideal explanation.

    COME ON. First of all, Assassin’s Creed is about ASSASSINS vs. TEMPLARS.. Does “Link“ have a guy named Desmond who is captured by modern day templars, forced into a machine to relive his ancestors days of conspiracy, betrayal, war, & love in the middle east. And then the character named Desmond is freed to go back into a machine where he discovers another ancestor, but in Italy. Does Link have an Italian boy born with the gift of eagle vision, in renaissance Italy, whos father and brothers are hung because the father had evidence to a conspiracy against the Medici family shared between the Borgia, the Pazzi, Bernardo Baroncelli, etc. who eventually after dealing with the templars in Italy, goes to Masyaf (where the assassins started), and then to Constantople where there are the byzantines, the 10th sultan Suleiman 1, etc. (whom by the way are all real historical characters and not fictional.) The main point to the Assassin`s Creed storyline (understood from a true AC fan) is that the Assassins are a group of men and women, born into or brought into the creed to protect humanity. It`s about grace, honor and loyalty. It`s about putting an end to the evil templars, and protecting ancient secrets that the templars would use to ruin humanity as we know it and have known it. as for using the animus, (machine to relive ancestral memories) that is the way they seperate storylines and give the modern day hero knowledge of the ancient secrets so he can protect humanity in present day time. its also one of the only ways you can go about something with this storyline, and make sense of it.

    In the long run, COUNTLESS videogames, movies, books, HISTORICAL moments, have used the plotlines because that is what makes a good story. The Da Vinci code for expample is about Religious faith, and has the “apple” in it… in Assassin’s Creed you become friends with Da Vinci who helps you against the conspiracy…

    As for the memory reliving, ancestral or not, to MY knowledge, countless movies have used the idea such as ‘Source Code’ with Jake Gyllenhaal. He is in a simulation machine and reliving memories and THEN even getting DESYNCHRONIZED due to a time limit.. Also books, and definitely OTHER videogames whith similar plotlines, just not conspiracy renaissance italy, or constaniople. And when you deal with conspiracy in Italy, what comes to mind? Leonardo Da Vinci, The Vatican, God, THE APPLE OF EDEN… Due to it’s plotline, Assassin’s Creed has great reason for using the Apple of Eden.. Mr. Beiswenger sir, are you looking for attention? Are you upset that your novel wasn’t as successful as you wanted it to be? Or not nearly as successful as Assassin’s Creed? cause by your pictures I can tell.. You have “that face”. You are also giving others the opportunity to sue you for using the idea of a machine that makes memory reliving possible, because you are’nt the person who created that idea!!! So cry all you want, you are only postponing the release date of an incredible storyline, & video game, and it is making fans very angry.. You can not win because you have copied the same ideas from history itself!! and from technology of the modern world!

    So really why are you sueing Ubisoft for Assassin`s Creed anyways? For FEW aspects of their successful creation, – not even it’s main focus – having slight similarities?? Just as countless movies, other games, and other novels have slight similiarities to your novel?

    is this a JOKE??

    If this is a joke, then I am your biggest fan! Great, upcoming new comedian!!! SO excited!


    I may not have made everything i wrote completely clear, and/or written it as intelligently as I would have liked to, but when you hear things like things going against something you enjoy, you get upset, and don’t think as straight as you would like to..

    sincere thoughts, S Pasqua

    • Amanda Ciccone

      This lawsuit is not a joke. However, it is hard to believe Beiswenger’s claim since the game has been around for a while and he’s only filing a lawsuit now. It almost seems like he is flattering himself that the great makers of Assassin’s Creed based the whole premise of the game on his book. I’m sure the makers of Assassin’s Creed wanted to model the video game after a book with 1.3 stars (at least that’s the ratings currently on amazon). This case has a slight undertone of being frivolous if you ask me…

      I agree with you that this lawsuit is most likely a cry to make a few bucks. Beiswenger see’s deep pockets and is probably hoping for some kind of settlement. Personally, I do not think he would be very successful if this case goes to trial; but if settlement is an option, Beiswenger might actually get a little something.

      The real issue here that everyone cares about is the release of Assassin’s Creed III. Do I think the release date will be impacted by this lawsuit? Probably not. But I guess only time will tell.

      I will try to stay current on this case and post back with any updates! Unfortunately lawsuits take time, but hopefully we’ll start getting some answers soon.

  2. Magik1633

    If that’s the case then Bram Stoker’s children should sue Stephanie Myer for writing about vampires. George Lucas should sue the writers of “Star Trek”. Should no more authors write about characters that can use magic since books about magic users have been already been published? Get over yourself Beiswenger; no one likes your book and saying that an awesome video game franchise stole your idea won’t make anyone like your book.

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