Assassin's Creed Lawsuit Author Gets Amazon-Bombed

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Assassin's Creed Lawsuit Author Gets Amazon-Bombed

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Reviews of the novel behind the Assassin's Creed lawsuit have taken a sudden turn for the worse.

I am, for the most part, a lawful good sort, but I must confess to occasionally feeling a flash of glee in my heart when the internet inflicts justice upon those who truly deserve it. Does John Beiswenger, the author who sued Ubisoft over claims that ideas in the Assassin's Creed series come a little too close to those he put out in his 2003 novel Link, truly deserve it? I don't know, but it looks like he's feeling the love anyway, at least on Amazon, where his novel is very suddenly getting a lot of attention, none of it good.

A few of the one-star scores are accompanied by comments that pretend to be actual reviews but in what I think is a new twist [it's not something I've noticed before, at least], a lot of them come right out and say that the bottom-of-the-barrel rating is in response to Beiswenger's lawsuit. Adding to the chaos are a small number of new five-star reviews posted by people fighting back against "angry gamers," one of which states that the writer neither knows nor cares whether or not the book is any good, he's just tired of people causing trouble.

The Amazon-bomb is a simple but well-known internet combat tactic in which products for sale on the internet are deluged with negative reviews, the idea being to convince those who don't know any better than it's a piece of crap and thus to be avoided. It most commonly happens when the collective gets angry over some perceived slight or stupidity, but in at least one case a game developer tried to use the tactic against a reviewer who had slapped its game with a bad score, only to find itself a victim of a counter-bombing when word of its sleazy behavior got out.

The moral of the story? Amazon-bombs are fun, but giving too much credence to review scores is a fool's game.

At last look, Link had 63 ratings on Amazon, all but one of which were posted within the last two days. [The first and only "real" review, a five-star rating, was posted in July 2007.] Its average rating currently sits at 1.5 stars.

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Too bad that dumb-ass author wasn't happy with the money the book was making, cuz he ain't getting anymore from it now! I wouldn't buy it anyway for one simple reason: If my money is going to support a lawsuit against Ubisoft, I'd rather it had a chance of actually winning.

I love how "the internet" is officially a living, breathing thing with a massive hive mind. It's crazy to think that the internet has a will of its own, but I think it's quite clear that it most certainly does.

Andy Chalk:
The moral of the story? Amazon-bombs are fun, but giving too much credence to review scores is a fool's game.

This has been one of my major points about reviews in general, as I explain here:

RJ 17:

Hazy992:
If she didn't like it then fair enough, and I can't form an opinion yet cause I havent seen it

This is actually how I feel about reviews in general. If you ask me the only good reviews are ones that are mostly supposed to be taken for entertainment value (i.e. Zero Punctuation). In the end just because someone else says it's crap doesn't mean that YOU'LL think it's crap. Reviews are, after all, nothing but opinions. People shouldn't let others color their perception of movies/games/books etc. They should experience those things for themselves and make their own decision about whether or not they liked it.

Case in point: Dark Souls is considered to insanely hard but otherwise a fantastic game by most people. I, however, thought it was absolutely retarded. My opinion won't change other people's opinions on the matter, nor will their opinions change mine.

As I said, to me critics and reviews are absolutely pointless as their purpose - to persuade or dissuade someone from watching/reading/playing something - is indeed a fool's errand.

People make up their own minds, sheep just follow the herd.

That was fast...

Such is the fate of those who lash out against something they apparently dont understand.

I wish Amazon would just stick with a system that only let people who had purchased the item got to review it. It wouldn't take a lot for that to happen. Still, authour is an idiot now people hate him. That's the way the world goes I guess.

Errr...not a fan. Let it get sorted out in court.

Called it.

I'm glad, though. I hate people who try to leech off other's success. For his own good, he should just learn a lesson from this and let it go. Otherwise, he might end up losing more than just some constructive reviews and ratings.

Well the game DOES have a few similarities to the dudes book.

Is it really THAT inconceivable that a the Assassins Creed writers took "inspiration" from this guys book?

Oh what am I saying? This is the INTERNET. There's no room for rational arguments in cases like this. Just pick up your pitchforks and torches and blindly march forward.

RJ 17:
I love how "the internet" is officially a living, breathing thing with a massive hive mind. It's crazy to think that the internet has a will of its own, but I think it's quite clear that it most certainly does.

Much like the notion of a Living Constitution

DustyDrB:
Errr...not a fan. Let it get sorted out in court.

I vote we have Phoenix Wright on the defense.

OT: Doesn't shock me in the slightest. But I agree. Let's see what the courts have to say

Way to be mature.

The point of doing this was supposed to be...what, exactly?

Didn't his book come out before? Just wondering there.

Anyways, the whole thing seems dumb. He shouldn't have opened his mouth/sued and people shouldn't amazon bomb him. The whole Amazon bomb thing only reinforces the idea that gamers are a bunch of self-entitled man-children...

Well, that's pretty childish. Though, I assume that guy didn't actually expect good publicity to come from his stupid stunt.

Gorilla Gunk:
Well the game DOES have a few similarities to the dudes book.

Is it really THAT inconceivable that a the Assassins Creed writers took "inspiration" from this guys book?

Oh what am I saying? This is the INTERNET. There's no room for rational arguments in cases like this. Just pick up your pitchforks and torches and blindly march forward.

It's fairly inconceivable that Ubisoft copied this guy specifically, as this book is hella obscure and, as one reviewer pointed out, older, more popular books have had similar ideas. So, it's possible that Ubisoft got its ideas from other works, but probably not this one.

Besides, it's not like the animus is such a creative, amazing idea. It'd be like an author who happened to use time travel in his book suing a developer for putting time travel in their game.

I don't give a crap about Ubi or its bad times.

Disclosure: I'm a PC.

I don't like his lawsuit but I can't say I think any better of Amazon-bombing him for it. If a group of people are giving a game a one star rating because it has DRM they don't like they have a complaint about the product itself.

Chances are they'll just be removed anyway, so this has only served to drawn more attention to him and his ridiculous lawsuit.

Gorilla Gunk:
Well the game DOES have a few similarities to the dudes book.

Is it really THAT inconceivable that a the Assassins Creed writers took "inspiration" from this guys book?

Oh what am I saying? This is the INTERNET. There's no room for rational arguments in cases like this. Just pick up your pitchforks and torches and blindly march forward.

Way ahead of you boss.
*Raises pitchfork and torch*
"I am came here to burn shit and cyber-lych, and I am fresh out of burnables!"

I think this is a sad state of affairs. Rating bombing an author's book has more direct financial consequences for an author than rating bombing a video game.

Regardless of if the author's lawsuit is valid or not, that is for justice system to decide, attacking the author's work via a review system is not unlike going into a bookstore and stealing or otherwise defacing all of their books. Books selling, especially on websites like Amazon, rely heavily upon ratings. Books don't have huge media outlets like The Escapist or IGN to pimp them out to potential readers and even critical book reviewers have been slowly fading from existence thanks to sites like Amazon and Goodreads. Another way to look at it, should a book that otherwise might bring entertainment and interest to many people, be judged because of the actions of its author years after it was written instead of the quality of its content?

And honestly, does Ubisoft or Assassin's Creed really need the internet's protection?

Wait... people are defending Ubisoft? What madness is this?? This is a company that actively dicks all over it's consumers every chance it gets. Shouldn't the internet hate machine be sending this author donations to fund his law suit?

Not that I care either way. I'm just commenting on what an irrational creature the webbed mass consciousness is.

And I'm pleased as punch that I spelled consciousness right on the first go!

Gorilla Gunk:
Well the game DOES have a few similarities to the dudes book.

Is it really THAT inconceivable that a the Assassins Creed writers took "inspiration" from this guys book?

Oh what am I saying? This is the INTERNET. There's no room for rational arguments in cases like this. Just pick up your pitchforks and torches and blindly march forward.

Just because there are similarities doesn't mean you can scream out LAWSUIT! People have been taking ideas and making them their own since the beginning of creativity. This guys just trying to make some easy money, probably because he's pissy that Ubisoft used the idea better than he did.

RJ 17:

As I said, to me critics and reviews are absolutely pointless as their purpose - to persuade or dissuade someone from watching/reading/playing something - is indeed a fool's errand.

People make up their own minds, sheep just follow the herd.

I think you have far too much hate for reviews, although most of it is justified.

While I'd never let a review change my mind about a game, if I read one and it describes the precise experience I don't look for in a game/film/whatever then I usually avoid it or wait until I can pick it up cheap enough to not care if I hate it (as was the case with Dragon Age).

beniki:
Wait... people are defending Ubisoft? What madness is this?? This is a company that actively dicks all over it's consumers every chance it gets. Shouldn't the internet hate machine be sending this author donations to fund his law suit?

Not that I care either way. I'm just commenting on what an irrational creature the webbed mass consciousness is.

And I'm pleased as punch that I spelled consciousness right on the first go!

Ubisoft as a developing group is just fine; it's the publishers that are jerks (or incompetent morons, depending on who you ask).

And they're not really defending Ubisoft; they're just calling out an idiot for being an idiot. Just because people dislike a company doesn't mean they'd ally with any asshole just to oppose that company.

It's kinda funny.
The fact that hollywood can now change next to everything from the source material and have the balls to call it an adaptation means that now people can see products with the barest of similarities to one of their works and have the balls to call it plagerism.

RJ 17:
SNIP

That's only true up to a point. I got bought for Christmas a book commenting and critiquing the work of Terry Pratchett.

It's terrible. I mean, I'm glad I've read it, to know that it's possible to have absolute dross published, but I would recommend everybody in the strongest terms to never ever ever ever ever read it, because it's bad (in case you were wondering, it's by Craig Cabell, and is called "The Spirit of Fantasy"). It's not just a little bit bad, it's appalling.

Why?
The writing is of terribly poor quality, coming across not only as overly conversational, but with a terrible analytical style (often providing no evidence for any analysis, just saying "This is so". It's often provably factually wrong, parachutes in meaningless and unrelated cliches, and is both unoriginal, unnecessary, and a chore to read.

To say that it is worse than essays I wrote as an A Level English student would not be a commentary on my skill at A level, nor would it be an exaggeration to say that it compares unfavorably to, and is less insightful, than some of the worst examples of last-minute essays I had the misfortune to read on an English degree course.

Sadly, whoever bought it for me did not check the Amazon review scores, because if they had, they would have found all of this set out in plain language, including several who have written back saying "Thank you, I decided not to buy this based on the reviews". The only really positive review is one which is word-for-word repeated on at least two different websites, and smacks of someone close to the author increasing its rating rather than providing a genuine review.

In general the reviews did dissuade buyers, and a bloody good job too, because the book is terrible. The author has something like 16 books behind him, some of which are academic works, but I honestly struggle to see how such a hack could have published even one. Maybe he just totally phoned it in for this book, but I shall never read anything by him again. Utter garbage.

"What better place to look beyond than through the mind of one who saw to that point but not further"

In my opinion, the 1 star reviews are justified because of the crap I just quoted. What the.. I can't even..

I wasn't even aware Ubisoft had any fans who would go to this length to review-bomb a pretty much unknown author. Aren't Assassin's Creed fans supposed to be angry at Ubisoft for their annualisation of the franchise?

This whole "oooo, something has mildly similar ideas to one I had, and now that its popular I can sue" is getting faaaar too out of hand.

All I can say is......go get him, I guess.

Gorilla Gunk:
Well the game DOES have a few similarities to the dudes book.

Is it really THAT inconceivable that a the Assassins Creed writers took "inspiration" from this guys book?

Even if they did take inspiration from an unknown book by an author few had probably ever heard of before this, my understanding of copyright law is that it would take a lot more than simply using a similar idea as the driver for the story for this guy to have a case. As it is, based on what's reported I don't believe he has a case at all and I think that will come out in court assuming Ubisoft doesn't settle. And frankly, I hope they don't settle. I don't believe they're in the wrong here and I'd like to see this guy saddled with some extra court fees for his trouble.

beniki:
Wait... people are defending Ubisoft? What madness is this?? This is a company that actively dicks all over it's consumers every chance it gets. Shouldn't the internet hate machine be sending this author donations to fund his law suit?

Not that I care either way. I'm just commenting on what an irrational creature the webbed mass consciousness is.

This would assume that Ubisoft gets hate leveled at them whether it's justified or not, which I don't feel is true. Ubisoft has certainly had its share of fuckups where they tried to screw over the end consumer, but they're not in the wrong here. This guy doesn't have a leg to stand on as far as this case goes, so he should lose. He's just after a nice fat payday and doesn't seem to understand how copyrights actually work, and that is stupidity that's worthy of the hatred he's getting. I'd be the first to lunge for Ubisoft's throat if they had done anything deserving of it, but in this case they're a legitimate victim of an unfounded lawsuit, and I bet that will come out in court.

wow I remember that book, think it's still on the bookcase, let me check....

no, now I think on I gave it charity. Crappy poorly writen piece of junk it was! And from memory its plot was nothing like the Assassin's Creed story

Yes, the author is an idiot.

No, amazon bombing like pissed off children doesn't make you right.

ah the internet. so many things are possible.

made a little research about the book and the story doesnt even come closely to the story line of assassins creed.
his book must have been sold poorly and saw the opportunity to make more money that way. he sure gets more attention that way but might lose the case anyway.

RJ 17:
As I said, to me critics and reviews are absolutely pointless as their purpose - to persuade or dissuade someone from watching/reading/playing something - is indeed a fool's errand.

Except this isn't criticism, this is an abusive manipulation of a system. The one has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

Andy Chalk:

RJ 17:
As I said, to me critics and reviews are absolutely pointless as their purpose - to persuade or dissuade someone from watching/reading/playing something - is indeed a fool's errand.

Except this isn't criticism, this is an abusive manipulation of a system. The one has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

Woo-Hoo! Finally got quoted by an article writer! +1 personal achievement for me! :P

Anyways, I understand what you're saying, however I'd argue that this article helps emphasize my point more than anything else: people who might actually be interested in the book shouldn't be put off by an Amazon Bomb dropped by an angry internet. Any douche can write up a review and slap it onto something, but only each individual person can decide whether or not they like something. Basically to prove what I'm trying to say: just think of any book/movie/game that got crappy reviews but you genuinely enjoyed. Or look at any book/movie/game that got raving, outstanding reviews but you thought was absolute crap. Suppose you're interested in this book Link, you're just a casual browser and click the link and find out "Holy crap, this book's only got a 1.5 rating." From here you can either say "Well this book obviously sucks, look how many people rated it with such a low score" or "Well I still think it sounds interesting so I'll give it a shot." Or, of course, check out the comments and realize "Well this low score is due to an amazon bomb so I shouldn't care about these low scores anyways." Either of the latter options is what I'm talking about: you shouldn't let other people's opinions (whether fake or genuine) color your own on a subject matter before you've had a chance to experience that subject matter for yourself.

I would agree that anyone who dismisses (or embraces) something based solely on another's opinion is potentially missing out, but I think there has to be a distinction between the average slackjaw ranting on Amazon and a thoughtful, defensible, "professional" review. The vast majority of user reviews on Amazon, and also the App Store and the Android Marketplace, are either one star or five stars, the purest illustration possible of the flaws of such rating systems. Some people use these ranking systems to express honest, well-considered opinions, but most just want to air their rage or fanboyism, or (once a few ratings have built up) defend their position against others. It naturally encourages an all-or-nothing approach. But that shouldn't be mistaken as proper criticism, nor should legitimate criticism be dismissed as just the opinion of some asshole on the internet. There is value in it.

...That isn't a very positive thing. I rely on those reviews to be legitimate when buying books. If someone is review bombing the book because of an idiotic decision he made, how am I supposed to know if I'm going to like a book or not.

It's just like when an author's relative or something gives a five-star review to a book that doesn't even deserved a one-star. It messes with my careful balance.

They need to stop. It's not justified and makes them look really silly.

Although...he should have learned after that last chick messed with ME on Fox. Some people will do anything for revenge...

Luckily, someone who did read it (Thank you), said it was crap. Saying it was similar to AC actually made me interested in the book.

...OMG IS THAT WHY HE'S SUING PEOPLE. IT'S EXPENSIVE PUBLICITY?!

Of course they are. Because the internet and fans of the game are all children. I blame the media for this. We all know that he isn't going to get anywhere. Just let it play out. But no, that is too much, knowing he will fail. The hivemind of the internet annoys me, and if I could I would cut its head from its shoulders, I would instantaneously and without hesitation. People seem to fail to understand that no matter what anyone thinks, it's what the courts decide. And it doesn't make the "horde" any more right if the courts agree with them.

As an interesting side note: This proves the point of Michael Gazzaniga's, beautifully. In a social setting, people love to jump in on things that do not involved them because it's perceived to be ok on a social level if there is a general consensus that what the person does is bad. He even admits though that it is not a positive thing that a society does. He even admits that it is in fact an ill of a society that does this.

I am genuinely surprised by the amount of people in this thread directly supporting this bombing and calling the author names. Disappointing.

I haven't read the book, didn't deal with the lawsuit in detail, and I could barely care less as to whether or not he's right. Even if his demands are met fully (which would mean a ban on AC3, which is unlikely, as he's quite obviously looking for compensation, nothing else), it changes hardly anything. Yes, it means we will never get to see AC3, so what? ... In all honesty, Screed has turned into an overused franchise about ... 1.5 games ago. I doubt the 3 will meet the expectations and as such a ban might even be better for Ubi.

That said, it has yet to be determined whether or not Ubisoft infringed the author's copyright or not as per the law. The fact that the internet believes it could or should be prosecutor, judge and executioner prior to any court date is not only disappointing but also disgusting. The system might not be perfect, but it is in place. Avoiding - and in fact obstructing (given that our industry's lawyers seem to be rather jumpy on wording on the internet (i.e. the Scrolls suit, where lawyers using troll-posts seemingly in favor of them was to be expected) - the system, rather than changing it, is plain wrong.

Brian Hendershot:
Didn't his book come out before? Just wondering there.

Anyways, the whole thing seems dumb. He shouldn't have opened his mouth/sued and people shouldn't amazon bomb him. The whole Amazon bomb thing only reinforces the idea that gamers are a bunch of self-entitled man-children...

How does this have anything to do with self-entitlement? It's just gamers defending the developers very very aggressively. Did you really have to bring the Mass Effect fiasco into this?

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