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

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.

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