Author Discovers Assassin's Creed Uses Same Cliche'd SciFi Trope As His Book... Sues For Infringement

from the genetic-history?-really? dept

Ah, ownership society. We see this all the time with successful books, movies and TV shows -- where suddenly someone (generally a complete nobody) discovers that a popular media vehicle is based on a similar generic idea that they once wrote about too... and they insist that the successful work must be infringing. I guess we can add video games to that list as well. Ubisoft has apparently been sued by an author you've likely never heard of, John Beiswenger, who wrote some book whose premise has a vague similarity to the premise of Ubisoft's popular Assassin's Creed game. Both stories apparently involve genetic memory -- the idea that memories can be passed down from your ancestors.

But that seems to be about as far as the similarities go. One would have hoped that a lawyer would have explained to Beiswenger that copyright only covers specific expression, rather than generic idea, but apparently that didn't happen. Of course, as Julian Sanchez points out, the idea of "genetic memory" is such a common sci-fi trope that there's a whole page dedicated to listing out stories that use the concept -- many of which predate Beiswenger's book (and nearly all of which were significantly more successful). Don't expect this lawsuit to go very far.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), 24 Apr 2012 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: arism-claims.html

    Lady Gaga was sued for copyright infringement, not plagiarism (filed in August, 2011,) and the lawsuit has not yet been heard by a judge. Quite a few legal and news blogs say that this will go nowhere. ical-32841

    Again, sued for copyright infringement. Dismissed on March 18, 2011 with prejudice. You lose.

    In England. And dismissed. You lose again.

    ht tp://

    Filed this month. Just because someone sues doesn't mean that they automatically win. Also, sued for copyright infringement, not plagiarism. Jury hasn't even been impaneled yet. coldplay-sued-plagiarism

    Again, sued for copyright infringement. Dismissed on September 19, 2009 with prejudice because of Settlement.

    Nothing here says anything about plagiarism being against the law. However, it reaffirms what I said, that you can be sued for copyright infringement, not plagiarism.

    Might want to check the pages of google links, because they aren't doing what you think they are doing.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.