Ubisoft sued over claims that Assassin's Creed copied novel

A sci-fi author is suing Ubisoft over the Assassin's Creed series, claiming that the open-world murder simulator rips off his novel 'Link.' John L. Beiswenger's 2002 story involves using technology to access ancestral memories, biblical and spiritual nonsense, and the odd assassin or two, which he says AC copied. He's seeking several million dollars in damages, and looking to block the release of Assassin's Creed III.

The complaint (via GI.biz) alleges that Ubisoft "knew Link existed and copied a substantial portion of the copyrighted work."

In Link, the 'Link' chair-shaped technological doodad lets people live the memories of their ancestors. In the Assassin's Creed series, the 'Animus' chair-shaped technological doodad lets people live the memories of their ancestors to stab people in the face. Beiswenger claims that both the concepts and the physical devices are similar, because Ubisoft copied him.

Also supposedly copied are a plot featuring assassins, which an evil organization tries to find using its magic tech to find other assassins. The suit points out that both reference gods, Eden, Adam and Eve, and various mystical and spiritual things.

What it doesn't do, however, is explain why Beiswenger is adamant Ubisoft knew about Link. It explains that the book was sold through various sites, but doesn't say why this means someone at Ubisoft had read it before coming up with Assassin's Creed.

Of course, one might observe that the ideas of Assassin's Creed are quite likely to spawn from a culture where The Matrix and Dan Brown's claptrap were so popular. Those too can trace their roots down through fiction, because that's how culture works.

Curiously, Beiswenger is going after Gametrailers as well as Ubisoft. The suit points out that the video site posted an official trailer for the Assassin's Creed space in PlayStation Home, and covered Assassin's Creed Revelations in an episode of GTTV. Supposedly GT did this knowing about Link, making it legally liable.

The suit's looking to block the release of Assassin's Creed III and books, videos or anything based on it. It's after at least $1,050,000 in damages, or $5,250,000 if the desired jury trial deems the claimed infringement to be willful.

You can read a sample of Link on Amazon UK, if you'd like.