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Games Workshop Bullies Author Over Use of the Words 'Space Marine'

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the space-marine-space-marine-space-marine dept.

Sci-Fi 211

New submitter jzoetewey writes "An author I know (MCA Hogarth) recently had her book Spots the Space Marine taken off Amazon because Games Workshop claimed it violated their trademark. The interesting thing? Their trademark doesn't include ebooks or novels. Unfortunately, she doesn't have the money to fight them. Plus, the idea of a space marine was around long before they were: 'In their last email to me, Games Workshop stated that they believe that their recent entrée into the e-book market gives them the common law trademark for the term “space marine” in all formats. If they choose to proceed on that belief, science fiction will lose a term that’s been a part of its canon since its inception.' Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing also made this important point: 'Amazon didn't have to honor the takedown notice. Takedown notices are a copyright thing, a creature of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. They don't apply to trademark claims. This is Amazon taking voluntary steps that are in no way required in law.'"

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Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine"! (5, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811577)

We must stop them from going back in time to the 1930's to sue E. E. Smith and Robert Heinlein!

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (4, Funny)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811651)

Done. Also got.
Portal, Hyperspace, Warp, Starship, space dock, lander, blaster, fusion torpedo, and bent time.
Now all your belong to us.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (5, Funny)

BryanL (93656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812413)

It looks like you dropped the base.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812519)

... cause I got the copyright for base.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812553)

It looks like you dropped the base.

And rightly so. I've trademarked base, and I don't remember licensing it to you. See you in court, sucker!

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (2)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812647)

This is ridiculous. If I were her, I'd call up the company and ask them if I could license their trademark for my existing book for $1 in perpetuity. This would resolve the issue of them being forced to defend their trademark.

If that didn't work, I'd remove the book from Amazon UK, because I wouldn't want to be sued in the UK by this UK-based company, but then I'd file a counter-DMCA takedown on Amazon - US?

I don't know if this is good legal advice. I'm not a lawyer. But this is what I would do if I had a ebook under my name. Either that, or since it's a ebook, I would just rename the book and just do like Prince did and append at the end of its name (formerly known as "Spots the Space Marines")

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (5, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811753)

Also relevant:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_marine#History [wikipedia.org]

Read it quick before Games Workshop defaces the page!

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (5, Informative)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811921)

Also relevant:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_marine#History [wikipedia.org]

Read it quick before Games Workshop defaces the page!

I was going to say exactly the same thing, so rather than being completely redundant, here's the first two paragraphs:

The earliest known use of the term "space marine" was by Bob Olsen in his short story "Captain Brink of the Space Marines" (Amazing Stories, Volume 7, Number 8, November 1932), a light-hearted work whose title is a play on the song "Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines", and in which the protagonists were marines of the "Earth Republic Space Navy" on mission to rescue celebrity twins from aliens on Titan. Olsen published a novella sequel four years later, "The Space Marines and the Slavers" (Amazing Stories, Volume 10, Number 13, December 1936), featuring the same characters against Martian space pirates, and using a spaceship with active camouflage.[2]

A more widely known early example was E. E. Smith's Lensman series. While the first story, Triplanetary and most later sequels (Second Stage Lensmen, Children of the Lens and The Vortex Blaster) do not mention them, passing mentions of marines are made in Galactic Patrol[a] (Astounding Stories, September 1937–February 1938) and Gray Lensman[b][c] (Astounding Stories, October 1939–January 1940), and a more direct mention is made in First Lensman (1950): "Dronvire of Rigel Four in the lead, closely followed by Costigan, Northrop, Kinnison the Younger, and a platoon of armed and armored Space Marines!".

1932, really... so 80 years later someone claims copyright on a science fiction concept almost as old as the phrase science fiction? Someone has balls.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (5, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812065)

Noone is claiming copyright. Games Workshop are misusing their trademark and Amazon is complicit.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812421)

Amazon would be liable if they didn't take it down. It's called "contributory trademark infringement," and to avoid it, you can't knowingly allow infringing goods to be sold in your store. There's a case pretty squarely on point, Tiffany v. eBay

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiffany_Inc._v._eBay,_Inc.

Which isn't to say this is legit, just that Amazon is probably right to cover its ass in a system that is very friendly to trademark owners.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42813055)

There's a case pretty squarely on point, Tiffany v. eBay

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiffany_Inc._v._eBay,_Inc.

Your link says this: Tiffany sued eBay for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and false advertising but eventually lost against eBay on all claims. This seems to be the opposite of what you imply it says.

Common law trademarks carry very little legal weight, and there is no penalty for violating them. If GW wants to make a claim of infringement, Amazon should go tell them to go register with the USPTO first.

Btw, you need to stop posting as "Anonymous Coward" because I have a common law trademark on that term.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812149)

No, its a trademark. While it is intellectual property, it is an entirely different beast. Basically, you can have a trademark on common phrases as long as the use of the term would create confusion and it isn't so generic as to refer to an entire class of things. I totally think they should have it in the area of hobbies and games (the sentence "I went to the hobby store and bought some Space Marines" obviously refers to GW's product). However, it is too far to refer to general toys and books because you could refer to something else, such as space marine dolls from Aliens or StarCraft or a ton of other sources.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812645)

you can have a trademark on common phrases as long as the use of the term would create confusion and it isn't so generic as to refer to an entire class of things.

Oh, like Androids and Robots, to use George Lucas and "Droid" as an example? Sorry, that's not really how it works. How it works, is that if you spend enough money on marketing so that a word becomes commonly associated with your product, you can then trademark it, regardless of how broad or narrow it is.

The problem in this article is that Amazon should NOT be taking down content based on a complaint of TM violation- it's up to GW to take the person to court and THEN present Amazon with proof of the violation. TM is not covered under DMCA processes, but Amazon appears to not understand this and is treating it like a copyright issue. They don't have any duty or liability to stop selling the product until there's a judgement against the author.... unless this person is using Amazon to publish their works. In which case too bad, that's what you get for using a cheapskate publishing service which lacks any kind of "Testicular Fortitude".

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (1)

Gription (1006467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812197)

Someone needs to update the Wikipedia page with this most current bit of history relating to the firm "Space Marine".
(In other words make Games Workshop have to live with the stupidity of their mistake.)

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (1)

RoboRay (735839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812359)

In the time it took you to make this post, you could have just done it yourself. :)

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (4, Insightful)

Quirkz (1206400) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812887)

And in the time you replied, it would have been reverted by whoever considers himself the owner of that section of Wikipedia.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (1)

RoboRay (735839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42813223)

So, why even bother suggesting it if you feel it's a waste of time?

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (1)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | about a year and a half ago | (#42813151)

No, because quite frankly I don't want to give Games Workslop the free publicity.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (5, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812303)

1932, really... so 80 years later someone claims copyright on a science fiction concept almost as old as the phrase science fiction? Someone has balls.

They're claiming trademark, not copyright, which is why it's so odd that they used the DMCA for this. It's also strange that they would assert it against an author.

Hopefully these links work, I'll provide the serial numbers in case.

The trademark for "SPACE MARINE", serial number 74186534 [uspto.gov] , issued in 1993, covers: board games, parlor games, war games, hobby games, toy models and miniatures of buildings, scenery, figures, automobiles, vehicles, planes, trains and card games and paint, sold therewith. Another trademark for "SPACE MARINES", SN 75014487, filed in 1995 by someone else, but abandoned in 1997, did cover "series of science fiction books". It was abandoned in July 1997, then in Sept 1997 Games Workshop filed for "SPACE MARINE" again (SN 75010236 [uspto.gov] ), which covered video computer games; computer software for playing games.

So, they don't even own a trademark on the term for any books at all.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (1)

tlambert (566799) | about a year and a half ago | (#42813225)

[...]then in Sept 1997 Games Workshop filed for "SPACE MARINE" again (SN 75010236 [uspto.gov] ), which covered video computer games; computer software for playing games.

So, they don't even own a trademark on the term for any books at all.

The problem here being that what was taken down was an eBook, which is considered to be software, which is why they are permitted to licene the things, rather than you being able to own them outright, since you have purchased a physical artifact. For the same reasons, first use law doesn't apply, and therefore you can be prohibited from resale of eBooks.

This crap is out of hand, and in sore need of some reform; After 400 years, we are back to book licenses; we came up with copyright in the first place to stop this crap.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (2)

kav2k (1545689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812051)

Read it quick before Games Workshop assumes ownership of the page!

FTFY

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812195)

Nah, they'll make a blog with those same things, and send a DMCA notice to Wikipedia to take it down themselves.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (2)

internic (453511) | about a year and a half ago | (#42813217)

I realize you were probably just going for comic effect, but FYI for anyone who cares: you can link to a specific version of a page [wikipedia.org] so that you don't have to worry about how it might change later.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (1)

Scaboo (2737205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811905)

Agreed. Heinlein beat them by 16 years at least with Starship Troopers (its publication versus when Games Workshop was founded).

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812651)

Goes back 20 years before that with Misfit and The Long Watch.

Re:Quick, someone trademark the term "Time Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812117)

Does anyone know what happened to Captain Boreal...
spess mehreens...

Starcraft (4, Funny)

naroom (1560139) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811687)

Boy are they gonna be mad when they find out about Starcraft!

Re:Starcraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42811829)

From what I recall, GW had already sued Blizzard for the space marines and zerg, after GW had a game deal with Blizz to make a game. Blizz then ended up modding some of the assets to make star craft.

Fact or not, the story has been around for a while.

Re:Starcraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812145)

Woosh !

Re:Starcraft (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812169)

Since they copied it directly from previous works, and it is a term currently in use in various places, can they actually trademark it? Just curious.

Re:Starcraft (3, Informative)

metrometro (1092237) | about a year and a half ago | (#42813047)

Since they copied it directly from previous works, and it is a term currently in use in various places, can they actually trademark it?

No. Trademarks are not like copyright - there is a formal approval process, though "first use in commerce" also counts somewhat. Games Workshop was granted a 1987 trademark on the term "space marine" in "board games, parlor games, war games, hobby games, toy models and miniatures of buildings, scenery, figures, automobiles, vehicles, planes, trains and card games and paint, sold therewith." They have a second trademark for "video computer games; computer software for playing games".

This trademark is suspect, but it's now law. However, they have no protection for, say, novels or ebooks. Which makes their takedown pure bullying.

USPTO data below.

Word Mark SPACE MARINE
Goods and Services IC 028. US 022. G & S: board games, parlor games, war games, hobby games, toy models and miniatures of buildings, scenery, figures, automobiles, vehicles, planes, trains and card games and paint, sold therewith. FIRST USE: 19870900. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19871000
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 74186534
Filing Date July 19, 1991
Current Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition November 23, 1993
Registration Number 1922180
Registration Date September 26, 1995
Owner (REGISTRANT) GAMES WORKSHOP LIMITED CORPORATION UNITED KINGDOM Willow Road, Lenton Eastwood Nottingham NG7 2W5 UNITED KINGDOM
Attorney of Record Naresh Kilaru
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20051125.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20051125
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Word Mark SPACE MARINE
Goods and Services (CANCELLED) IC 002. US 006 011 016. G & S: [paints, namely, water based acrylic paints for artists]
IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: video computer games; computer software for playing games

Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 75010236
Filing Date October 25, 1995
Current Basis 44E
Original Filing Basis 44D
Published for Opposition July 8, 1997
Change In Registration CHANGE IN REGISTRATION HAS OCCURRED
Registration Number 2100767
Registration Date September 30, 1997
Owner (REGISTRANT) Games Workshops Limited CORPORATION UNITED KINGDOM WILLOW ROAD LENTON, NOTTINGHAM UNITED KINGDOM NG72 2WS
Attorney of Record Naresh Kilaru
Priority Date September 20, 1995
Prior Registrations 1922180
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. PARTIAL SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20080422.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20080422
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Blizzard Warcraft original ripoff of GW Warhammer (1)

leftie (667677) | about a year and a half ago | (#42813209)

Warhammer came first, and Blizzard blatantly ripped off Games Workshop Warhammer when the Blizzard released Warcraft.

Re:Starcraft (2)

54mc (897170) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811947)

It's common rumor, though I'm unable to find a source right now, that Starcraft was originally designed to be an RTS version of Space Hulk. You've got the Marines/Marines, Zerg/Tyaranids, Protoss/Tau. Someone who's not at work might be more enterprising than I and actually be able to find a source on this.

Re:Starcraft (2)

Patch86 (1465427) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812599)

Protoss can't have been modelled on the Tau- Games Workshop launched the Tau in 2001, whereas StarCraft was 1998.

I've heard the rumour slightly differently- that WarCraft was to be an RTS version of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, but failed to get official licensing. It's plausible that StarCraft (which came later) was influenced by Warhammer 40k too, but seeing as Blizzard and Games Workshop had already fallen out at that point (in my version of the rumour), it's unlikely that it was ever intended to be a licensed product.

Eldar-Protoss (1)

PrimalChrome (186162) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812943)

The Protoss are derived from the Eldar. Look at some of the original artwork and then the Eldar designs at the time. The similarity is unmistakable....just as the Zerg are reimagined Tyranids.

But it all started with Warcraft being pulled from Warhammer Fantasy Battles...and when it made a strong presence in the gaming world, Starcraft began development. Heck, if a formula of copying another company's lore with only a degree of different results in profit...why not do it again.

Re:Eldar-Protoss (2)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | about a year and a half ago | (#42813273)

Well, it's not like Warhammer Fantasy was all that original, either. We had elves and orcs and trolls and dwarfs fighting eachother well before Games Workslop decided to overcharge for tiny pewter figures.

Re:Starcraft (2)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812097)

Nah, its easier to bully around people with shallower pockets.

Re:Starcraft (1)

swilde23 (874551) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812697)

I should make a hoodie about that.

Re:Starcraft (1)

Talennor (612270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42813271)

It's why they're "Terran Marines" not "Space Marines". They copied the style, but the trademark isn't touched.

It is still on Amazon (2)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811745)

Spots the Space Marine: Defense of the Fiddler [amazon.com] is still listed on Amazon. What was the point of this, a free advertisement?

Re:It is still on Amazon (5, Informative)

Mastacheata87 (1759916) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811787)

This is about the eBook edition. The Paperback is obviously still available and it would seem to me that the trademark is not applicable there.

Re:It is still on Amazon (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812203)

This is about the eBook edition. The Paperback is obviously still available and it would seem to me that the trademark is not applicable there.

Do you know where the trademark is applicable? People selling games called Space Marines.

Since this is neither, someone's lawyer should refer them to Arkell v Pressdam -- they have absolutely no legal right to the phrase space marine in an ebook, a paper book or anything except the area in which they trademarked it.

Re:It is still on Amazon (1)

Mastacheata87 (1759916) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812665)

Do you know where the trademark is applicable? People selling games called Space Marines.

Since this is neither, someone's lawyer should refer them to Arkell v Pressdam -- they have absolutely no legal right to the phrase space marine in an ebook, a paper book or anything except the area in which they trademarked it.

Yeah, of course they don't have their trademark protected in eBooks either.
However Games Workshop says that they believe to have a protection in that area as well due to common law because they are now selling ebooks as well and just didn't register that category yet.
Apparently they don't believe to have protection for paper books, whether registered or by common usage.

Not sure if that works in US law, but it does very well work in German law as long as there is no competing trademark in that category.

Re:It is still on Amazon (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812819)

But given the sheer number of examples posted here of the use of the term, it's not like they can claim they invented it.

Once you decide Marines are the bad-asses who go in first, and once you figure out people will eventually go to space -- it's pretty logical to assume Space Marines, Space Soliders, Space Navy, Space Pilots.

It's a descriptive term -- yes, if you're selling tabletop games called "Space Marines", fine. But these guys really need to be sanctioned for over-stepping their actual trademark. And their lawyers should bloody well have known this didn't apply here.

Re:It is still on Amazon (1)

Mastacheata87 (1759916) | about a year and a half ago | (#42813259)

But given the sheer number of examples posted here of the use of the term, it's not like they can claim they invented it.

Once you decide Marines are the bad-asses who go in first, and once you figure out people will eventually go to space -- it's pretty logical to assume Space Marines, Space Soliders, Space Navy, Space Pilots.

It's a descriptive term -- yes, if you're selling tabletop games called "Space Marines", fine. But these guys really need to be sanctioned for over-stepping their actual trademark. And their lawyers should bloody well have known this didn't apply here.

I don't argue that point. Actually I don't think there should be a difference between usage in an eBook and a paper book.

Games Workshop has a trademark in some Nice classes and assume protection in ebooks because they have now (after registering the trademark) started selling ebooks themselves. Amazon removed the eBook version, but not the Paperback. The logical consequernce is that Games Workshop doesn't even assume any protection in paper books, otherwise they would have asked Amazon to remove the paperback version as well.
At least that's the only way I could explain why the Paperback version is still there.

Re:It is still on Amazon (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812269)

Just because an 'e' or an 'i' is thrown in front of something, it doesn't make it any different than the non 'e' or 'i' version.

Re:It is still on Amazon (2)

Megane (129182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812855)

So just change the 'a' to an 'i' and you get Spice Marines! [wikia.com]

Space Marine is pretty vague (1)

VinylRecords (1292374) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811759)

Warhammer 40K, Starship Troopers, Aliens/Weyland, Starcraft, and lots of other science-fiction universes have used space marines in their stories. They've all borrowed from each other. I don't think there are huge outcries from the Event Horizon people when the video game Dead Space is essentially Event Horizon the game. Or when 2001: Space Odyssey had its cold interiors and robotic enemies copied over and over. The writer of Alien said that he was enormously influenced by 2001.

Half of the Starcraft units would quote Aliens characters' dialog. And Starcraft's entire Terran campaign was themed and artistically patterned after the propaganda style filming of the movie Starship Troopers. "Would you like to know more"? No one cared. It was cool actually. "In the pipe...five by five".

It would be one thing if this novelist was putting in Xenomorphs or Tyranids in her story. But she's just using the old trope of a modern military man projected into the future. With advanced technology and advanced enemies, even alien enemies. No big deal. I doubt she's even aware of Warhammer 40K.

I read a synopsis of the book....uh....it's not exactly hard science fiction nor is it adult science fiction either. They bleep out the curse words in the novel. So "fuck you" becomes "**** you". Doubt that many Warhammer 40K fans...the kind that can afford to drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on models and game are reading this book.

Re:Space Marine is pretty vague (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812183)

Once you've got Horatio Hornblower in space, Space Marines can't be far behind. It's just so terribly obvious. Ships in space? Forward enemy bases to be destroyed (in space)?

Marines in space are a painfully obvious idea at that point.

Re:Space Marine is pretty vague (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812257)

Copyright violation (in space), taking a shit (in space), pigs (in space) ... this is a fun game. ;-)

GW can suck it (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42811791)

The earliest known use of the term "space marine" was by Bob Olsen in his short story "Captain Brink of the Space Marines" (Amazing Stories, Volume 7, Number 8, November 1932).

Re:GW can suck it (0)

Minwee (522556) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811823)

Thanks for reading Wikipedia for us [wikipedia.org] . Now we don't have to.

Re:GW can suck it (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812347)

Just wonderin', before they were Space Marines, were they 'Space Cadets'?

Re:GW can suck it (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812563)

They'd be 'Space Recruits.' The real question is, if some civilization didn't have a maritime navy tradition, but developed space troops, then invaded, say, Earth, and needed to use those troops in amphibious assaults, would they be 'Marine Spaces?'

LAW TOO COMPLEX ERROR IN 10 (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42811797)

Even companies are now acting out of fear of an overreaching ill-defined law. If companies with legal departments staffed to the gills are incapable of interpreting the law then what chance does the common-or-garden person have?

"Ignorance is no excuse" is bullshit. I can produce any number of laws you can't physically process within the confines of reality, be it sheer information volume or time required to read and process. I can literally throw more shit at you than you could ever hope to digest as a human being. Does this make you "ignorant"? No...it makes you "I have more important shit to deal with than your stupid crap".

Fucking idiots. Total fucking idiots.

Caughty in the middle (3, Insightful)

Daemonik (171801) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811813)

Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing also made this important point: 'Amazon didn't have to honor the takedown notice. Takedown notices are a copyright thing, a creature of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. They don't apply to trademark claims. This is Amazon taking voluntary steps that are in no way required in law.'"

Yet, either way Amazon will be the one getting sued by one or both of these people.

Re:Caughty in the middle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812285)

Pretty sure Amazon has enough lawyers to take on "Games Workshop"

I hear that owning an Internet is a pretty big deal, nowadays

Re:Caughty in the middle (3, Informative)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812757)

Yet, either way Amazon will be the one getting sued by one or both of these people.

Why? Amazon is just neutral territory.

The author just needs to file a DMCA counter-notice, and that will be the end of the involvement of Amazon.

Then, it will be up to the UK-based company to sue the book author directly, for trademark infringement instead of copyright infringement (assuming they're even willing to go that far, because if they sue, they will probably lose -- so it's really not in their interests to sue). The author should just ask them if she can license the trademark for $1 in perpetuity for her existing ebook and try to settle this matter quietly out of court.

Starship Troopers (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811817)

While called Mobile Infantry, weren't they effectively 'space marines'?

Well lets check wikipedia:

The earliest known use of the term "space marine" was by Bob Olsen in his short story "Captain Brink of the Space Marines" (Amazing Stories, Volume 7, Number 8, November 1932), a light-hearted work whose title is a play on the song "Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines", and in which the protagonists were marines of the "Earth Republic Space Navy" on mission to rescue celebrity twins from aliens on Titan.

Ah yea, GW can go fuck themselves.

I think it's time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42811837)

some Space Marines visit Amazon...

disclaimer :: I have not nor do I intend to ever buy anything from Amazon.
The "False Scarcity" patent was the ticket.

Re:I think it's time... (1)

Drishmung (458368) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812613)

Nuke 'em from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

John Scalzi Blog (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42811843)

John Scalzi (president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and author of Old Man's War) did a blog post on this also.
http://whatever.scalzi.com/

It's the lawyers (3, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811845)

This is what happens when you let a bunch of lawyers take over the country's judicial system. Every business is scared shitless of lawsuits. Every little complaint results in a massive overreaction.

Re:It's the lawyers (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811935)

The problem isn't the Lawyers in the Judicial System, it is Lawyers in the other two branches. Can anyone say "conflict of interest" in making laws only lawyers can benefit from?

GW blowing smoke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42811871)

Trademark or not, the term "Space Marine" predates Games Workshop.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_marine

To call this term a trademark is tenuous

Re:GW blowing smoke (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812187)

Trademark or not, the term "Space Marine" predates Games Workshop.

That's immaterial. The term "Apple" was in use before both the computer manufacturer and the record company.

What's material is that a trademark is limited to certain applications.
Someone publishing a book about Space Marines would not be covered even if they were allowed the trademark for e-book purposes (which it seems they aren't), any more than a book called "In every nook and cranny" would impose on Barnes and Noble's trademark for "nook".

As Jobs would say: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42811875)

Change the title.

Not that big a deal.
Steve.

My question is... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42811927)

Once we colonize the moon or mars and have marines stationed there, will the U.S Government NOT be able to call them Space Marines? You know Marines that reside in SPACE?

No you won't (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812745)

Being a complete pedant, I have to observe that the Royal Air Force does not have "air marines". That is because (a) it has the RAF Regiment and (b) the founders of the RAF were literate and so knew that "marine" derives from the Latin mare - the sea. They at one point considered naming ranks after Latin terms associated with flight, but then decided to stick with the words "flight","air" and "wing". Space marines are a category error. Assuming that in the future it is found necessary to have a body on a military space ship under separate command so that in the event of mutiny they can fight the mutineers - one of the original uses of the Marines and why their quarters on a sailing ship are between other ranks quarters and the officers - they would, very obviously, be space soldiers. Heinlein's "Starship troopers" isn't bad, though they weren't strictly cavalry.

Yes I am grumpy and pedantic today, but this whole storm in a teacup is the result of lazy thinking by a number of authors.

games-workshop.com wasn't even registered! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42811929)

I was playing as the Space Marine in Doom before games-workshop.com was even registered as a domain! These scum-sucking pieces of lying shit can go fuck themselves!

Entirely true to character for Games Workshop (1)

He Who Has No Name (768306) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811949)

Looks like this is little more than the latest expansion pack release for their flagship product, "Bully Everyone With Legal Threats And Be Giant Douchebags".

God I hate that company. The only thing worse than them and their SCO-style tactics are their rabid fanbois.

Re:Entirely true to character for Games Workshop (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812243)

hey, that should be Rabid Space Fanbois(TM)

sincerely,

the Giant Space Douchebags(TM) at GW

GW Has Always Done This (3, Insightful)

preaction (1526109) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811973)

GW has always been extremely protective of their IP, to the point of this insanity. There are people who write programs to help them play GW games, they get C+D letters (a couple army builder programs, because they included numbers from GW copyrighted books, which you still need to know the rules to play).

It sucks because GW does make good games. They just want absolute control over how you're able to play them. I wonder what would happen if TSR had exercised the same control...

One word: StarBlazers (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year and a half ago | (#42811977)

Series 2, with the Comet Empire, had Space Marines.

Troll? Mistake? Lawyers inflating their bill? (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812003)

What's the motivation behind games workshop doing this? I'm guessing they're not trying to get money here. So which is more likely, that their legal department simply sends out takedown requests and threats to any hits on google that aren't theirs, their legal department is intentionally wasting billable hours, or they're actually trying to assert control over any e-books with space marines?

File a petition to invalidate. (4, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812049)

As evidenced by its popular use dating back for nearly a century as seen in this 1936 comic book [wikipedia.org] , by itself, the term "space marine" is a descriptive and generic term that is ineligible for trademark protection, in much the same way that you cannot trademark the term "laptop computer" or "space ship". Whereas this trademark should never have been granted in the first place, the petitioner requests summary judgment in invalidating the errantly issued trademark.

See the USPTO's appeals process page [uspto.gov] for information about how you can proceed with or without an attorney.

Once the trademark has been invalidated, inform Amazon. They will restore your book, and the entire publishing and software world will rejoice in your space marines' victory over the egregiously evil trademark abuser.

Re:File a petition to invalidate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812731)

The trademark is valid in the concept it was filed. This is a lawyer in a company trying to stretch trademark protection into copyright territory. The DMCA request alone should have told you that.

Wrong headline (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812123)

Shouldn't it read: "Games Workshop commits perjury filing false DMCA take down request."?

Re:Wrong headline (2, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812587)

Shouldn't it read: "Games Workshop commits perjury filing false DMCA take down request."?

perjury is lying under oath.

No, this is just good old fashioned douchebaggery, masquerading under the guise of IP protection.

Wierd Feeling (1)

techsoldaten (309296) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812137)

I have a weird feeling this is going to lead to an invalidation of GW's trademark on the phrase Space Marine in the first place. There are so many examples of prior art it's not even funny, not to mention the fact there are actually real-life space marines these days. I don't think you can trademark a class of things.

Their trademark is limited to protection for tabletop games, it does not enjoy a universal application. For them to assert they own trademark rights outside of that context is not actually valid. I mean, if someone else was making tabletop miniatures and calling them Space Marines, I could see that as something they would want to take action against.

But an ebook? This will have the Internet up in arms!

Re:Wierd Feeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812605)

Prior art applies to patents ... not trademarks. Moreover, the same work can be trademarked by different people for different things (e.g., Baretta for a gun and for a car, and Lexus for a car and a computer database service).

"I don't think you can trademark a class of things."
That's EXACTLY how it works. http://www.legalzoom.com/trademarks-glossary/trademark-class-classification.html

Available from Smashwords (2)

rafial (4671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812155)

While Games Workshop are the main villains here, this does highlight the problem with buying DRM encrusted books from an entity with unaccountable censorship powers. I note that this ebook is available from Smashwords in open, unencumbered formats: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/26359 - as is usual in situations like this, I immediately purchased a copy to give the finger to bullies, and support an author.

space marine... (1)

drankr (2796221) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812405)

The issue of the dumbness of these two words put together has worried me for some time now. Perhaps the lady should go for "naval spaceman". Makes as little sense, but will save her some aggro.

Appeal to Amazon, not Games Workshop (4, Interesting)

gravis777 (123605) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812427)

I would be shocked if Amazon didn't have a little form or something that you couldn't fill out to appeal a copyright or trademark infringement. I had Copyright notices on YouTube, and I appealed a couple because they were music that was in the public domain, and the company in question didn't even own the copyright on the arrangement I used. It would shock me that Amazon wouldn't have something similar.

In the event of a DMCA takedown notice, the person accused normally just has to say that there is no copyright infringement, then the company claiming it has to offer proof that infringement happened. Or at least, that is my understanding (I could be wrong - while I have had companies claim copyright on stuff on Youtube, no one has actually requested a takedown).

The whole point - your friend doesn't have to pay to fight. Notify Amazon that the claim was in error, have them restore the material, and then force Games Workshop to prove their claim.

Re:Appeal to Amazon, not Games Workshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42813291)

I know right? People are just lazy and or whiney. You never have to pay to fight. Just write a strongly worded letter, throw in a few fancy legal terms, and they'll have her book back listed ASAP. All for free. Only if they actually bother to sue do you need to find a lawyer but for a BS claim like this you can easily represent yourself. Again. FOR FREE.

People shjould express their displeasure (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812525)

at the offending company.

So much ignorance ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812533)

A trademark serves to identify the source of a good or service.

I don't believe the title of a book (e.g., "Spots the Space Marine") identifies the source of a good or service. Also, there is no problem using a trademarked name in a book (e.g., "the hero drank a Coca Cola before battling the evil aliens").

What you have is an over-zealous attorney (representing Games Workshop) and some peon at Amazon that isn't sophisticated to understand the issue.

Of course, the easy solution is to simply change the name of the book.

It looks like it is back up... (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812567)

I just checked and the book is listed on Amazon...

Re:It looks like it is back up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812893)

Really? I only see the paperback, no ebook.

Re:It looks like it is back up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42813219)

You didn't look very hard then. The Kindle version has been pulled. "eBook" is the clue here.

There may also be more to this that the summary, after all, it's a self published tripe with almost no reviews.

Amazon is targetting the wrong thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812859)

So Amazon will take down a book for an alleged copyright infringement, which this situation is not, but they won't stop all the resellers on Amazon that sell counterfeit chinese products as the real deal.

email custserv@games-workshop.com (4, Interesting)

s13g3 (110658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812863)

Nastygram sent to custserv@games-workshop.com telling them what I think of their parsimonious self-aggrandizement.

It's one thing to know you're annoying, it's another thing when the people you count on to buy your products start flooding your inbox TELLING you you're being obnoxious.

After all, the FCC says that a complaint from one person is the equivalent of 50,000 people (or somesuch ridiculous figure) who are just as upset but didn't or couldn't send a complaint, right? In any event, I'll not be buying their products until they can stop acting like greedy little children who think they own everything they can lay hands on or claim to, and I'll be encouraging others to do the same.

They even have a trademark on a description? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42812881)

What the hell is this world coming to?

I should trademark What the hell and sue the entire damn internet. I'll become so rich I could single-handedly fund that Deathstar Kickstarter.

Screw the IP system, it needs to be ripped apart and rewritten from scratch. Trying to patent, trademark and whatever else basic sentences, basic descriptions and so on should be punished on the spot by a punch in the throat and thrown out of a moving vehicle.

Counter claim and get GW punished. They cannot win any court case even if they tried and had the richest damn lawyers from Hell. There is prior art older than their damn company and their own employees most likely. Not to mention it is a damn description of a role.
Nothing worse than people trademarking common words, single actual words and using them for content. (See Moon, Scrolls. They might be good, but damn it, fuck off with that abuse, come up with better damn names and stop being lazy)

Also, fuck you Games Workshop, you are on my shitlist. I'm never getting any of your stuff, and I will make sure to tell everyone else to stay away from your stuff now.
You just lost a good 70-100~ customers even from 3 layers of Word of Mouth. Suck it.

A deeper problem (1)

alexo (9335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812929)

Unfortunately, she doesn't have the money to fight them.

And here lies the the problem with our so called "justice" system: it's cost.
Even when you are 100% in the right, you still need to spend (a lot of) money to get justice, money you will never get back and sometimes, when the other side can throw vastly larger amount of money at the problem, you will still lose.

There is no justice, only institutionalized extortion.

B&N (1)

vanyel (28049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42812941)

The book is still on Barnes & Noble, who also uses standard epub format instead of a proprietary format, and a lot of their books don't use DRM...

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spots-the-space-marine-mca-hogarth/1112308671?ean=9781470131050 [barnesandnoble.com]

The point being: support businesses doing it right...

Gamesworkshop = Legal Douchebags (2)

Marful (861873) | about a year and a half ago | (#42813263)

Gamesworkshop also used the claim of "trademark infringement" to go after online retailers of their product. Making them the only online retailer allowed to have a shopping cart system with their product. All other venders require customers to fill out a form to order product.

Gamesworkshop needs to have the shit sued out of them for their abuse of their claim to "trademark" to include everything under the sun.
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