Assassin’s Creed Lawsuit Settled
After just over a month, the lawsuit filed in April by sci fi author (and scientist) John L. Beiswenger over alleged copyright violations by Ubisoft has come to an anticlimactic end. It was announced today that Beiswenger voluntarily dismissed the the action.
At issue were alleged similarities between the basic plot and certain concepts in the Assassin’s Creed series, and Beiswenger’s novel Link. The original complaint notes several specific instances, including that “[Link’s plot includes the conception and creation of a device and process whereby ancestral memories can be accessed, recalled, relived, and re-experienced by the user”, and the use of biblical themes and assassination as a plot device.
Included in the lawsuit was Ubisoft subsidiary Gametrailers; on May 18, a confidential settlement between Beiswenger and Gametrailers was reached, though the terms have not been disclosed. Unfortunately, Beiswenger had limited financial resources left for his suit against Ubisoft proper, and on May 29th opted to voluntarily dismiss the case in order to devote them to an unrelated business matter. The suit was dismissed without prejudice, which means it can be brought again at a future date.
In a press statement, Breiswenger said “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 them simply have no purpose. Regrettably, the resources required to defend those rights are unavailable to many individual creators. As a result, rampant infringement is occurring with impunity.”
Beiswnger was seeking 5.25 million, along with the prevention of Assassin’s Creed 3′s release.
Here is the full press release.
GAMETRAILERS SETTLES. UBISOFT PUSHES FOR CHANGE OF VENUE. BEISWENGER VOLUNTARILY DISMISSES ACTION.
Author John L. Beiswenger’s voluntarily dismisses his action against Ubisoft regarding the Assassin’s Creed franchise copyright infringement due to redistribution of funds
(PENNSYLVANIA – May 29, 2012)—On April 17, 2012, American author and research engineer, John L. Beiswenger, filed a lawsuit against Ubisoft Entertainment S.A. and its subsidiary companies, and Gametrailers, Inc., alleging that the storyline behind the popular Assassin’s Creed franchise features many similarities to one of his novels, LINK. On May 18, 2012, Gametrailers reached a confidential settlement with Beiswenger under undisclosed terms. On May 29, 2012, Beiswenger exercised his right as a federal litigant to voluntarily dismiss the action against the Ubisoft defendants, without prejudice. There has not been any adjudication on the merits of Beiswenger’s infringement claims.
While Beiswenger entered this suit with full knowledge of the scope and expense of litigating in the federal courts, together with his wife, he has made a very difficult, yet strategic decision, and elected to suspend his fight to focus the resources he reserved for the litigation on unrelated business matters. Beiswenger’s dismissal was filed without prejudice, which preserves his claims should he choose to bring them again in the future.
Kelley Clements Keller, Esq., legal representative for Beiswenger, 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. We believe Ubisoft has engaged in egregious acts of copyright infringement and, should he choose to seek redress through the courts in the future, we remain confident that a trier of fact would agree.”
Beiswenger issued an official statement regarding the dismissal: “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 them simply have no purpose. Regrettably, the resources required to defend those rights are unavailable to many individual creators. As a result, rampant infringement is occurring with impunity.” For more information regarding this suit and the reasons for the voluntary dismissal, visit www.johnbeiswenger.com.
The initial Complaint and Motion for Preliminary Injunction were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on April 17, 2012. The Voluntary Dismissal of Action under FRCP 41(a)(1)(A)(i) was filed in the same court on May 29, 2012.