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 Assassin's Creed  infringement case comes to a halt as author dismisses charges
Assassin's Creed infringement case comes to a halt as author dismisses charges
May 29, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

May 29, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

After suing Ubisoft and Gametrailers over the popular Assassin's Creed series earlier this year, American author John L. Beiswenger has decided to step away from the legal proceedings, bringing the case to an end -- for now, at least.

Beiswenger has settled with Gametrailers out of court, and has dismissed his charges against Ubisoft, noting that he has chosen to focus his financial resources on some "unrelated business matters."

Beiswenger sued Ubisoft for copyright infringement in April, claiming that the publisher's Assassin's Creed series borrowed ideas from his 2002 novel, Link. Alongside these charges, he also sued Gametrailers for its numerous online videos relating to the successful Ubisoft franchise.

Both the novel and the Assassin's Creed series feature science fiction devices that allow characters to relive memories through the eyes of their ancestors, and Beiswenger had claimed that Ubisoft and Gametrailers were distributing and making money off of ideas that were lifted from his prior work.

While this particular case has come to an end, Beiswenger dismissed his charges against Ubisoft without prejudice, which means that he can preserve his claims against Ubisoft if he chooses to return to court. For now, however, his representative says that he has chosen to focus on other matters.

Beiswenger's legal representative, Kelley Clements Keller, said, "My client's decision to exercise his right to voluntarily dismiss the action, without prejudice, in no way diminishes his stalwart conviction in the merit of his claims against Ubisoft. He is unwavering in his belief that many key components of the Assassin's Creed video game franchise infringe on many key components of his novel, Link."

The dismissal of this case spells good news for Ubisoft, as the company plans to debut its latest game in series, Assassin's Creed III, later this year.

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John Beiswenger
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I filed the Complaint and Motion for Preliminary Injunction in federal court because I believe authors should vigorously defend their rights in their creative works. Otherwise, the laws protecting those rights simply have no purpose. Regrettably, the resources required to defend those rights are unavailable to many individual creators so rampant infringement appears to occur with impunity. My author website is

E Zachary Knight
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While I respect your right to protect your copyright, I don't respect the idea that you own a copyright on an idea or plot element. Which is what I suspect was the real reason for bowing out of this legal suit.

Glenn McMath
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The main thing I never understood was why gametrailers was targeted. They didn't make the game or the promotional materials that ran on their site. Any features they did on the game were akin to a news organization reporting on a book or a movie.

The only thing I could see being of any (even tenuous) merit is if gametrailers was paid by Ubisoft to create "Making Of" features about the production of the game. Even in that case, they would only be contract workers and entirely removed from the alleged infraction. They had nothing to do with creating the allegedly derivative work, and had no more to do with marketing it than they have to do with any other videogame release (to the best of my knowledge). Their business is about covering major videogame releases, they have nothing to do with the creation of the content.

Shea Rutsatz
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Good, I say.

Bryan Ferris
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He settled... does that mean he got any money? He doesn't deserve it. After examining everything, I hope he is just trying to cash in on some fortunate (for him) coincidence (because the alternative would be a lack of brain power that I'd find depressing...).

E Zachary Knight
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The Settlement could have been that he won't bug Game Trailers again as they had nothing to do with any potential infringement. He probably realized he had no case with them and they settled over a handshake or a polite nod.

Isaac Chandler
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Good! Honestly, its one thing to defend ideas you've copyrighted, but lets be honest, these ideas aren't new, nor are they copyrightable. Biblical tones? DNA containing our memories? Assassins? Pretty sure there are hundreds if not thousands of media (movies, games, books, etc) that feature these themes and topics. I don't get what made him feel like his books were in anyway more special than any of those other media.