Writer's Lawsuit, Threat to Delay Assassin's Creed III Release Not Likely
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 20th Apr 2012
What that translates to is simple enough: getting an idea from a book or story is not a violation of the copyright when you don't use the same language -- when you don't take the words from the book, and that alone initially raises troubling concerns over just what the purpose of the PR campaign launched by Keller through Jennifer Cohen's PR firm is intended to accomplish.
Attorney Keller was contacted by phone this afternoon but declined to answer questions unless they were submitted to her in writing first. When asked why the case was delayed until 2012, Keller responded by stating that they were acting on behalf of their client and that the case had been filed within the time-period allowed by law.
When we asked her why her client had waited five years to file his lawsuit, Keller said "I'm not going to answer that question." When we put the same question to Carter he wryly pointed out that the questions we should be asking is not why he waited to file his lawsuit, but whether or not the gaming community is as upset as they are being portrayed; if in fact the lawsuit "has set gaming fans on the warpath against Beiswenger" as is claimed in the PR release.
Taking his advice we paid a visit to our local GameStop store where we asked gamers when they planned to attack Beiswenger?
"Who is Beiswenger?" Tim Mullens of Mashpee, Mass. asked. The purpose of his visit to the store today was to purchase a second gamepad for his new Xbox 360 so that his girlfriend can play the arcade card-based game Ticket to Ride with him, but the news that Ubisoft was being sued over Assassin's Creed perked his interest. "Ubisoft is being sued? Really? That is one of my favorite games, well, actually I liked the first game the most but the others are really good too," Mullens allowed. "I like puzzle games and they have some very clever puzzles in the Assassin's Creed games."
Even when we filled in the details for the other gamers we interviewed, we did not actually find any who were upset by the lawsuit, though one gamer was intrigued enough in the language of the press release that we read to them that he tried to coax his handheld GPS into revealing the route for the "warpath" that the press release alluded to -- inexplicably the only results it returned was directions to the US Border Patrol offices in Boston, Mass. USA.
According to Jennifer Cohen the source for the news that gamers were angry came from Amazon.com of all places, where the book in question is sold: "If you go to his (Beiswenger's) review (for his book "LINK") on Amazon there are a bunch of comments that are talking about his book. There are reviews that people have posted about the book, and there has been open dialogue about the book. Then there were a few comments that were posted. Some of these are directly related to the case; people started to write things that were negative," she points out.
While his attorney's were unwilling to comment or answer questions about the case, it turns out that Beiswenger's publicist is not -- when we asked Cohen about the delay in the filing of the lawsuit she happily answered our question: "He did not know about the similarities, someone else who was playing the game told him. He is not a gamer and he didn't know for quite a while," she explained.
Beiswenger's claims for compensation stem from what he calls the theft of his intellectual properly in the form of plot and story elements in the Assassin's Creed games that he feels were taken from his novel "LINK" (ISBN 0741413485, 9780741413482, Infinity Publishing, 2003) whose plot centers around the discovery by a research lab that the nucleus of every cell contains an temporal particle of zero mass and infinite capacity for memory -- a biological singularity that the author holds out to represent the soul and the true seat of memory in humans. By gaining access to this tiny center of data storage on the cellular level the memories of every ancestor in the human bio-path can be accessed, re-lived, and experienced.
The idea that memory is passed down biologically actually has some merit according to Professor Wolf Reik, at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, one of the places of learning and research where the new science of epigenetics is being perfected. In universities and labs all over the world an increasing number of scientists and biologists are beginning to accept the idea that in addition to the genetic markers known to be the road map to physical traits and familial characteristics like hair and eye color that are passed on by genes, memories may also number among different bits of data encoded in a zygote.
When Carl Gustav Jung first proposed the idea of the collective unconscious it wasn't in his mind that direct memories were being exchanged during reproduction, but that instinctual memories were, opining that "The collective unconscious contains the whole spiritual heritage of mankind's evolution, born anew in the brain structure of every individual." Nobody knows what Jung might have thought of the idea that full libraries of memories may be passed on from one human to the next on the cellular level.
In the book the process of passing on genetic memory is accomplished through it being encoded in the nucleus of cells, and accessing those memories is accomplished through the use of a device called a Link; in the video game a similar process is discovered and the genetic memories are then "recovered" and accessed using a device called the Animus, through which the player relives the memories of their long-dead relatives. While the plot in the book and certain events in the story do seem somewhat similar to the story in the Assassin's Creed series, the science is very different, and at least so far nobody is claiming that Ubisoft actually lifted anything out of the book and used it in the games.