Back in December, we reported on a case in which Games Workshop had pressured Amazon to remove a science fiction novel from the Kindle store because it used the term “space marine.” After some additional internet attention to the story in the last week, today Games Workshop today issued a statement in which it said:
Games Workshop owns and protects many valuable trademarks in a number of territories and classes across the world… Whenever we are informed of, or otherwise discover, a commercially available product whose title is or uses a Games Workshop trademark without our consent, we have no choice but to take reasonable action… Games Workshop has never claimed to own words or phrases such as ‘warhammer’ or ’space marine’ as regards their general use in everyday life, for example within a body of prose.
Now, keep in mind that Games Workshop’s United States trademarks for “Space Marine” cover only “video computer games; computer software for playing games” and “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.”
So the statement doesn’t really address the issue, does it?
UPDATE: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has convinced Amazon to reinstate M.C.A. Hogarth’s book.
This kind of stuff gets in the way of my gaming and for this reason I steer clear of companies like Games Workshop, who seem to put way too much energy (and $$$) into litigation and other activities that do NOTHING to make their name and products FUN.
I don’t understand the idea that they can control a concept, namely marines in space, that has been a staple of science fiction since Astound Magazine defined the idea. The behavior of Games Workshop isn’t to defend anything in the area of gaming. It’s aggressive. They are trying to infringe the right to free expression. Constantly threatening litigation is an act of intimidation that should not be tolerated by the courts. They will have to back down here because Amazon is heeding the EFF. But what if a company with as deep pockets as Amazon behaved like Games Workshop…i.e. bullied individuals through tactics of unmitigated corporate greed?
Another example of gross abuse of trademarks.
I have never been a fan of GW. Their products are ridiculously priced. Their employees (that I’ve met) are rude and arrogant.
Own ‘Space Marine’ in literature?! **** YOU GAMES WORKSHOP!
GW, I place you on PERMA-BAN. You will never have one penny of my money and I will do everything in my power to convince others to follow suite.