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Ubisoft files complaint against author in  Assassin's Creed  disagreement
Ubisoft files complaint against author in Assassin's Creed disagreement Exclusive
May 31, 2012 | By Mike Rose

May 31, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Exclusive

[Update: Author John Beiswenger has now told Gamasutra that, as of August 21, Ubisoft has withdrawn the lawsuit against him, although he was not able to provide any more information. Gamasutra has contacted Ubisoft for confirmation.]

Ubisoft has told Gamasutra that it is looking to receive a ruling that states that American author John L. Beiswenger's lawsuit against the company earlier this year was "entirely meritless."

Beiswenger had previously sued Ubisoft and Gametrailers, alleging that the storyline behind the popular Assassin's Creed franchise features many similarities to one of his novels. While he settled out of court with Gametrailers, he decided to step away from his legal charges against Ubisoft earlier this week.

However, Beiswenger dismissed the case "without prejudice," meaning that he can re-file the claim at any time.

Now Ubisoft has filed a complaint against Beiswenger, as it looks to seek a declaration of rights that Assassin's Creed does not in fact infringe on the author's alleged copyright.

"The plaintiff in the case alleging copyright infringement by Ubisoft has dropped his claim, without settlement," the company said in a statement. "Ubisoft believes this suit was frivolous and without merit, and is seeking a ruling to prevent future related claims."

It continued, "We are proud of our creative teams and will continue to vigorously defend the intellectual property they develop."

In the complaint obtained by Gamasutra, Ubisoft alleges that Beiswenger's infringement claims were based on "patently non-copyrightable elements."

"A declaration is necessary to enable Ubisoft to continue to develop and market creative content under the Assassin's Creed brand free from the cloud that Beiswenger's meritless claims have placed over Ubisoft's right to do so," the complaint reads.

Apart from this declaration, Ubisoft is seeking the costs and expensive incurred as part of the lawsuit, and "further relief as the Court deems just and proper."

Beiswenger told Gamasutra that he is yet to see the complaint. The author has previously stated on Gamasutra, "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."

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E Zachary Knight
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I can certainly see Ubisoft's reasoning here. The guy dismissed it without prejudice. So he is essentially a ticking time bomb that Ubisoft wants dealt with now rather than at or after launch of AC3.

Bryan Ferris
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Good; they created a great series, and they don't deserve having someone claiming they stole it. There are similarities between AC and the author's work, but no where near enough to be able to say that AC stole it form him.

R Hawley
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I haven't read the authors books nor played AC3 so I couldn't comment on how similar they are. The notion that ideas are somehow unique discrete entities that have not been influence by anything else in our culture is utter BS though.

Remember that DreamWorks movie "The Island"? They settled with screenwriter of the 1979 movie "Clonus". Was he was right to take it to court? Did DreamWorks deserve to practically re-make a B movie without asking the original author? I don't know.

Stewart Trezise
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The author's book and the Assassin's Creed franchise may share some fundamental similarities, but I think it's been greatly understated that Ubisoft's creative team have designed an enormous world, teaming with interesting characters, beautiful historic environments and must have undergone some very painful research to imbue the games with the level of detail and historical references that make the games such a wonderful experience.

The elements that the author claims ownership of, namely the reliving of ancestral memories (essentially time travel), and an 'illuminati'-esque conspiracy are such a small component of the work that they have done, that they are almost insignificant by comparison.

It's such a shame that one of the better development teams still committed to bringing us beautifully crafted experiences, instead of crudely following trends and going through the motions to make money, can have their work slandered like this.

I'm sure it won't slow them down though, it'd take more than this to tarnish the AC brand. Sorry for the long-winded comment.