A quick post about something I came across on the net:
In mid-December, Games Workshop told Amazon that I’d infringed on the trademark they’ve claimed for the term “space marine” by titling my original fiction novel Spots the Space Marine. In response, Amazon blocked the e-book from sale [original post and update]. Since then, I’ve been in discussion with Games Workshop, and following their responses, with several lawyers.
To engage a lawyer to defend me from this spurious claim would cost more money than I have, certainly more than the book has ever earned me. Rather than earning money for my family, I’d be taking money from them, when previously my writing income paid for my daughter’s schooling. And I’d have to use the little time I have to write novels to fight a protracted legal battle instead….
Full post can be found here:
Now my own 2 cents are as follows:
1) Big companies have the right to defend their property rights. Even ones like Games Workshop (GW) for which I have little personal respect for.
2) There have been self pubs that used the GW’s 40K setting without authorization. In fact there was at least one that ripped off someones else fan fiction and the piece of GW art for the cover. Something like that GW can and should shoot down.
3) That being said given that I am still on occasions a wargamer I am familiar with Games Workshops output. I know full well that it is a rare day when it has an original idea. It certainly didn’t come up with the name or even concept of Space Marines.
4) By trying to make this point against one of the small guys should be viewed as a pretty cynical move by GW. Why go against this one small self publisher when there are bigger fish out there? For a start there is the Science Fiction publisher Baen who I’m sure have had the term used in more than one of their titles. But then Baen likely has the financial muscle to defend such a claim.
As far as I know this is only directly relevant to the USA but would have certain knock on effects on other areas. So if somewhere down the line you find the term Space Marine largely disappears from the shelves you’ll know who to blame.
ADDITION 11th Feb 2013, Spots on the Space Marine has now reappeared on the Amazon digital shelves.