1. Keven
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    Keven Member

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    Author sues Ubisoft

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Keven, Apr 19, 2012.

    I posted this in writing because I was not 100% sure where it should go.

    So I was surfing the internet and came across an Article on GameSpot labeled: Ubisoft sued over Assassin's Creed plot. Author, "John Beiswenger is suing Ubisoft, accusing the publisher of copyright infringement due to similarities between his 2002 novel Link and the Assassin's Creed franchise" (GameSpot 2012).


    You can read full article here.

    What do you think? Does it sound like a solid case he has? I mean to me it sounds like they enhanced his idea (not saying they got the idea from him) and made millions and he just wants attention and 1 million dollars.

    The complaint in PDF form can be read here.

    What do you think?

    v/Respectfully,
    Keven
     
  2. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    He's gonna be crushed by their lawyer team.

    I'm not familiar with Assassin's Creed so much, but magic items that store memories are a dime a dozen. Like The Pensieve in Harry Potter.
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Magical devices that can record memories? Happens all the time. Almost as much as liches containing their own souls into trinkets/soul jars.

    It's one of the many, many, many staples of fantasy.

    By his logic, Nintendo should sue him because his protagonist is named Link, same name as the green-clad warrior.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    right!... similar ideas abound, so i don't see he has a case, unless he has some concrete evidence of collusion between his publisher and the game company...
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The first thing I thought when I read this (I read The Escapist too) was this: Why now? Why didn't he sue them when the Assassin's Creed series was still young? It's not like Assassin's Creed was a small game, it was marketed up the arse. I refuse to believe he couldn't have known about it until recently.

    Also, the man is a self-published author, with little to no critical reviews of his work. It's worth remembering this.
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Exactly. I think he's just trying to stir up controversy so that people can buy his books.
     
  7. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    By suing Ubisoft he has already got a lot of publicity for his work. I bet now millions have heard about this news and know about his work, and many of those want to buy the book just to see if he is right or are just curious. Very few people knew about that book before this.
     
  8. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    You guys are right. It seems like a marketing trick.
     
  9. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Assassin Creed is more a device that access your ancestors memories than stores them. You basically play as a the character who randomly wakes up the testing center after acting through specific portions of a distant ancestors past.

    Though, I agree with anyone because I'm sure if I look I'll find that everywhere.
     
  10. Skodt
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    Skodt Member

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    Seems people are always looking for a quick step into the limelight. People sue when things get big. Look at Harry Potter, Jk Rowling was sued like three times after the last book. A multimillion dollar best seller; yet they didn't notice till the series was over. Sounds like that is the case here as well, just another joe looking for his time to shine.
     
  11. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    But no one will want to take him seriously, as he had messed with an already impressive franchise. He has picked a battle he can't win.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A judge can impose penalties against a plaintiff for filing a frivolous lawsuit, for a case that has no merit and wastes the court's time and money.
     
  13. Rebel Yellow
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    Rebel Yellow Active Member

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    I find it pathetic when I hear a story like this. People don't sue for artistic integrity anymore, they do it to gain some visibility. Furthermore, the guys at Ubisoft Montreal most likely never heard of the author and his novel.
     
  14. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    Haven't played Assassins Creed or read that book. I think he's going to have a hard time getting a penny out of Ubisoft, its nearly impossible to make a song/movie/book that isn't similar to something from the past.

    I wrote a short story that I thought was really original and cool than had somebody critique it. They said it was a lot like a greek mythology story which I had never read before and it was written like 1,500 years ago. Its hard to think of a truly original idea.
     
  15. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I've played the games, and I would be really interested to see the concept in written form. (There are novelizations of the games, but they have bad Amazon reviews) However, after reading his excerpt, I deem his writing to be markedly underdeveloped.

    Given that Link is self-published on an obscure website, was published 5 years before the games, and yet has no critical reviews (other than Amazon customer reviews that are ALL about attacks on or defenses of the author's lawsuit and not about the actual book), I wonder how the author justifies the 5 million in damages? If Ubisoft "willfully stole" his ideas, how exactly did that prevent 277,000 copies from being sold?

    I think there were other factors preventing readers from buying his book...
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've never understood how these lawsuits ever even become lawsuits, rather than being immediately thrown out of court. If he's suing over ideas, not expression of ideas, then doesn't that immediately eliminate a copyright claim anyway?
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yup!... plus, if the suit is allowed to go forward and the idiot who brought it loses [as he's sure to do], he'll have to pay not only his own attorney, but the winner's court costs and probably their attorney's fees, as well, which could amount to more than he'll ever make in his lifetime...
     
  18. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    We don't know enough about the case, or this writer's intentions to really say much beyond speculation.

    I do still find this case rather strange. It's not like Assassins Creed was not well known about. It seems strange that this guy would wait until, what? The 5th installment (?) of this series before he filed a lawsuit.
     
  19. Rebel Yellow
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    Rebel Yellow Active Member

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    While the franchise is extremely popular among gamers, it's probable that the author never heard of it before now or that he did not know the details about the animus up to this point.
     
  20. Dryriver
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    Dryriver Senior Member

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    It wouldn't surprise me at all if Ubisoft actually DID COPY the idea for the Animus device from this man's novel, without giving him credit. The devices in the novel and in the game do exactly the same thing - accessing and reliving in First Person the ancestral memories stored in DNA. The description of the "Link" device in the novel is very, very similar to the visual design of the "Animus" device in the game. Both the novel and the game feature a plot centered around finding "Assassins" by accessing ancestral memories. And both novel and game feature strong "battle of good & evil" and "historical/religious" themes.

    I think that there is a very real chance that Ubisoft DID actually use this novel as inspiration for the game.

    And the author has asked for a "Trial by Jury", which should be interesting, as the jurors will get to see the novel and the game compared to each other.

    In my opinion the author may actually win this lawsuit. Or he may, at least, win some amount of compensation.
     
  21. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    It would surprise me greatly given how unsuccessful his book was. Despite it being out for 9 years, it got no customer reviews on Amazon. I think the game's creators had an idea about assassins, and they wanted a unique way to do time travel. I think it's much more likely that they came up with it organically.

    And proving Ubisoft had willfully stolen his idea doesn't mean that he will win the lawsuit. Here is a quote from Greg Boyd of the New York-based law firm Davis & Gilbert:

    Anyway, I can't wait to hear how this turns out. It will probably just fizzle out, but could be entertaining before it does.
     
  22. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    I disagree. It may be the cynic in me, but I don't think he stands a chance, because from an outside perspective it looks like he's chancing his arm to get rich quick. I haven't read the book (and my overall play time of Assassin's Creed comes up to under an hour), though.

    I wonder if he's heard the story of Harlan Ellison and The Terminator. The difference between the two is that at the time of that - and the concessions James Cameron made following The Terminator's release - James Cameron was an unknown filmmaker trying to make his way, while Harlan Ellison was a notoriously stubborn litigant, and giant of SF.
     
  23. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    What i think is funny is that how was a extremely busy game development studio of 6,000 people supposed to know about a 2003 b-market read for $15 on some simple HTML software? The book is not even on Amazon for christ sake as far as i know. I highly disagree with Ubisoft copying, because they don't copy. If any game development studio that copies anything or be accused of is Activision. They took the Theater mode idea from Bungie when they introduced that feature for the very first time on Halo 3. Somehow Bungie didn't sue Treyarch for copyrights. I don't know, they might have gotten permission to do it- but still.
     
  24. Boomfog
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    Boomfog Member

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    Exactly. I think it's just his attempt at getting what he couldn't since his book released----money and recognition. It's not even an original plot device, so what the hell? He's also suing Gametrailers, for crying out loud. Even if his case had merit, why Gametrailers? They just show the trailers. Don't shoot the damn messenger.

    Oh, and the book is on Amazon. The reviews, however, are hilarious and admittedly immature for the most part.
     
  25. JPGriffin
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    JPGriffin Senior Member

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    To be fair, the author may be feeling cheated that another company was successful with his idea.

    And now that that's over with, to be rational, this most likely is a ploy to get into the limelight, get some sales and (hopefully) come out with a profit. I doubt that this author would even consider fighting the lawsuit through- Ubisoft is a huge multimillion-dollar company with an army of lawyers that, I'm sure, would put a stop in any claims against the company. In the end, it'll come down to who had the idea first (if it goes to court, that is). Publishing dates won't matter, because the concept would have come beforehand. The guys at Ubisoft document and record most, if not all, concept art, plot ideas, so on and so fourth. This author? The best he will have isn't going to be dated or signed at all. The first Assassin's creed game was released in 2007, but concepts and ideas can take years to develop into a full-blown game. That includes creating the program for any and all basic actions, developing the game engine, creating the animations, building the physics of the game, beta testing, retesting, and often re-retesting, until the concept will ever be shown.

    But just look at how successful his marketing strategy worked. Every person above and below, on all pages, now at least knows his book exists. Before, it could have been thrown in our faces and we wouldn't be bothered. And all he has to do is drop the charges, and he'll be a rich coward.
     

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