Sci-Fi Author Sues Assassin’s Creed, Claiming Copyright Infringement


In a dramatic turn, Assassin’s Creed developers Ubisoft have been sued by scientist/author John L. Beiswenger, who claims to have invented the idea of using technology to relive ancestral memories in his 2003 novel Link (that’s not a typo, it’s the name of the novel). Beiswenger wants up to $5.25 million if the judge rules in his favor; he also wants to prevent the release of Assassin’s Creed 3.

Reading through the complaint itself, it’s certainly possible to see parallels between Beiswenger’s work and Ubisoft’s wildly popular series. Link features a device called the “Bio-synchronizer,” which enables ancestral memories to be “accessed, recalled, relived and re-experienced.” The author also touches on Biblical themes, a staple of the Ubisoft series, and even discusses assassination, suggesting that the Bio-synchronizer could enable people to travel back in time and “smell the gunpowder” emanating from the pistol that John Wilkes Booth used to shoot Lincoln.

Other claims are less convincing; the complaint goes out of its way to point out that in both the book and the game series, the “battle between good and evil” is a “recurring theme,” as if that were somehow evidence of infringement. There’s also the curious timing of the lawsuit: if Ubisoft really has been ripping off Beiswenger, they’ve been doing it since 2007, when the first game was released, so why sue now? Maybe the author’s just not a gamer, but with Assassin’s Creed 3 on everyone’s minds (see our PAX Preview), the suit seems more than a little opportunistic.

Nevertheless, Game Front (and the rest of the gaming community) is eager for more news on the subject. We’ll be keeping you informed as the legal battle heats up.

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3 Comments on Sci-Fi Author Sues Assassin’s Creed, Claiming Copyright Infringement


On April 19, 2012 at 7:50 am

I swear… If this guy prevents AC3 from being released… I’m gonna be pretty ticked off. I’ve been waiting for the end of this story since the first AC… I love this game, and if he ruins it for everyone just cuz he wants money out of the deal… :/


On April 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Isn’t Genetic Memory an actual scientific theory anyway?


On April 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Yes. Although it falls more into the area of pseudoscience, someone should point Beiswenger in the direction of Dune for some prior art.