John Beiswenger certainly believes so. In 2003 he published a novel, Link, a tale of political intrigue based on secretive research facilities and dabbling with aspects of religion and creation, like the garden of Eden and forbidden fruit. In it, people are able to relive and synchronise with the memories of their ancestors through the use of some sort of machine – which is used to interrogate assassins and their families.
Sound familiar? You betcha – and Besiswenger is now suing Ubisoft on the ground of copyright infringement.
The suit claims that the folks at Ubisoft “have directly copied, and directly and contributorily infringed on the whole of Plaintiff’s copyrighted work”. While he could just be sitting on copyrights, hoping to cash in, he could have a case. Here’s a passage from his book, which certainly sounds a heck of a lot like Assassin’s Creed.
“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.”
“As far back as you want,”
Sure, there are certainly some loose similar themes and ideas, but is it theft, or is Beiswnger just using Assassin’s Creed’s momentum to cash in an build up interest in his own, underperforming novel? Probably!
Read the full complaint, here – and come up to your own conclusions. curiously – and this makes me think Beiswenger has lost the plot a little – he’s dragged Gametrailers in to the suit as well – because they posted a trailer about an Assassin’s Creed space…in PlayStation Home. for the record, the book makes no mention of suave, stabby Italians.
Also, good luck taking on Ubisoft’s army of lawyers.