Alleging 35 instances of copyright infringement, a Lancaster County man has filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the release of the newest installment of the popular video game series “Assassin’s Creed.”
John L. Beiswenger, a research engineer and novelist fromStrasburg, sued in federal court seeking more than $5 million in damages and a preliminary injunction that asks to halt the release of the latest installment of the video game series “Assassin’s Creed.”
The complaint was filed in federal court in Harrisburg on Monday. Beiswenger is represented by The Keller Law Firmout of Carlisle.
Beiswenger’s complaint alleges that the video game series — which includes “Assassin’s Creed,” “Assassin’s Creed II,” “Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood,” “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” and the forthcoming “Assassin’s Creed III” — is
substantially similar to his 2002 novel, “Link.”
The novel was the first in a series of four he has written, including “Village,” “Bridge,” and the forthcoming “Sequential,” he said.
“In ‘Link,’ the Plaintiff’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,” the lawsuit alleges on page 7. The complaint goes on to highlight details of the novel’s plot that appear in the video game series, alleging that the expression of the ideas in the video game are the same expression of ideas in the novel.
“I’ma research engineer. I didn’t just decide to be an author,” Beiswenger said. He explained that he wrote the novels, “for scientific people who struggle with the idea of a Creator.”
Beiswenger’s author’s website describes himas “Christian, Author, Engineer.” “That’s my purpose, getting someone believing in a Creator,” he added.
Beiswenger only recently became aware of the alleged copyright infringement, Kelley Clements Keller, owner of The Keller Law Firm, said.
“He’s not a gamer himself, but it was brought to his attention by someone close to himwho had read his book and told him the video games were using the same idea,” she explained.
Beiswenger said that when the person told himit was like his book, at first he thought the person was wrong, but as he watched the video game, the similarities were unmistakeable.
“My initial reaction was, ‘Hey, that’s neat, they liked the book.’ But then when I found out how much they liked it and what the game was like, it didn’t relate to the book at all. I felt damaged at that point,” he said.
The lawsuit seeks damages in the amount of $5.25 million and to stop the release of the much-anticipated fifth installment later this year.
Since news of the lawsuit hit the gaming world, Beiswenger and Keller have received plenty of comments on it.
Beiswenger said most gamers are begging him to seek monetary relief only and not delay the game’s release, citing how anxiously awaited it is. “I want to stop it or at least find some way to benefit fromit so I can use that benefit to improve the series,” Beiswenger said of the results he hopes to obtain.
Ideally, he’s looking for an early settlement of the case.
The case hinges on the court’s interpretation of a “total concept and feel test,” Keller explained.
According to an explanation Keller sent to The Sentinel, the test involves an analysis of the concepts in both works and whether they’re similar and also a test of judgment of an “ordinary person” on how the two compare.
“Ideas are as free as the air we breathe, but the expression of ideas is protectable, and they stole his expression of his ideas,” she added.