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Kearnstd
Elf Wizard
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

[Sci-Fi] Use the term "Space Marine"?... Get a Lawyergram

»www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21380003

quote:
Row blows up over ownership of 'space marine' term

UK toymaker Games Workshop has been criticised for asserting a trademark claim to the phrase 'space marines'.

The claim emerged when it was used to get an American ebook about the futuristic soldiers taken off Amazon.

Science fiction writers have called the firm "absurd" for saying it has a trademark to the use of the term in fiction.

A UK media lawyer said more and more firms were using trademark law to protect their creations.
Generic term

The row started in December 2011 when US writer Maggie Hogarth found out that her novel called "Spots the Space Marine" had been removed from the Amazon ebook store following a complaint from Games Workshop.

In emails sent to Ms Hogarth this week, Games Workshop claims that its entry into digital publishing gives it a "common law trademark claim" over the phrase.

Ms Hogarth wrote a blogpost about the row and expressed her fear that if Games Workshop started actively pursuing its claim, science fiction could lose one of its "fundamental" ideas. Ms Hogarth said a lack of funds meant she was unable to defend herself against the claim. However, she is now in touch with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which campaigns on digital rights, about the case.

The blogpost received a huge amount of publicity and has provoked responses from best-selling SF authors Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross and John Scalzi. Many people sent messages to Games Workshop's Twitter account using the #spacemarines hashtag criticising the firm.

Mr Scalzi, who is currently president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, said it was "absurd" for the firm to claim ownership of the phrase and its use in literature. In a blogpost, Mr Scalzi said it was "pretty damn generic" long before Games Workshop began using it to describe its toy soldiers and in tabletop games,

A spokesman for Games Workshop said it had a "blanket policy" of not talking to the media and had no comment to make about the row or its trademark claim.

Media and intellectual property lawyer Susan Hall from DWF said Games Workshop might struggle to assert its trademark claim in America.

"In the US they'll come straight up against the First Amendment and that's one issue they'll have to overcome," she said.

Ms Hall said Games Workshop could launch a similar protection campaign in Europe as it had had a registered trademark for the term "space marine" since 1995. Its trademark claim covers the use of the word in connection with many aspects of tabletop gaming and video games, she said, but also extended to published works.

"If you have a registered trademark you can stop people using it in the course of trade for goods that are not yours or licensed or approved by you," she said. "It puts the person with the mark in a very strong position."

Many firms, she said, were registering trademarks to help them keep control of intellectual properties that were now out of copyright. There were dangers in this bid for control, said Ms Hall.

"You need strong IP laws," she said, "but you need to have the ability to rub up against those in a way that allows people to be creative and allows creative freedom."
»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_marine

Should be noted here that it has been used in published media decades before GW even existed.

It is not in court yet, But it appears reading between the lines that this has ruffled the feathers of Scifi writers. And rightfully so considering any military scifi will likely have marines that work in space.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

Re: [Sci-Fi] Use the term "Space Marine"?... Get a Law

A real bunch of space cadets there at GW...



Varlik
Without Honor You Will Never Be Free
Premium
join:2002-01-06
Anderson, SC
reply to Kearnstd

Someone needs to be given an attitude adjustment and taken to school.



Krisnatharok
Caveat Emptor
Premium
join:2009-02-11
Earth Orbit
kudos:12
reply to Kearnstd

Heinlein would disagree.


Kearnstd
Elf Wizard
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to Varlik

Sadly today things with previous existence can be trademarked. DC and Marvel jointly own a trademark on "superhero"
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports



Rook008
Miles To Go
Premium
join:2002-02-05
Far Rockaway, NY
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
·Time Warner Cable
reply to Kearnstd

said by Kearnstd:

...
Mr Scalzi, who is currently president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America...

I didn't know that, pretty cool title.
--
"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H. L. Mencken


sivran
Opera ex-pat
Premium
join:2003-09-15
Irving, TX
kudos:1
reply to Kearnstd

Hmm, that's one DOOMed space marine!



Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1
reply to Rook008

He has a Google Plus page as well. He posts some interesting stuff.



Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1
reply to Kearnstd

said by Kearnstd:

Sadly today things with previous existence can be trademarked. DC and Marvel jointly own a trademark on "superhero"

They just went after another comic book company for using the term "Super Hero".

I was watching Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. In that episode he visited Cafe Hon.

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cafe_Hon

Long story short, the owner had the smart idea to trademark a local term "Hon". She went after anyone that used that term commercially. The locals showed what the thought of her trademark, and stopped eating at her Cafe.

Needless to say, she surrendered the trademark, and people started eating at her cafe.

IMO, terms like Super Hero, Space Marine shouldn't be allowed to be trademarked, or at least have a fair use attached to them.

Most companies only care that you use their trademark properly.
--
Is a person a failure for doing nothing? Or is he a failure for trying, and not succeeding at what he is attempting to do? What did you fail at today?.


Voxxjin
Made of Hamburger
Premium
join:2010-01-13
Dupont, WA
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
reply to Kearnstd

According to this article, »www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/02/tr···k-online Amazon restored the book to thier offerings.

GW's response from their facebook page:

Games Workshop owns and protects many valuable trademarks in a number of territories and classes across the world. For example, 'Warhammer' and 'Space Marine' are registered trademarks in a number of classes and territories. In some other territories and classes they are unregistered trademarks protected by commercial use. 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. We would be failing in our duty to our shareholders if we did not protect our property.

To be clear, 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. By illustration, although Games Workshop clearly owns many registered trademarks for the Warhammer brand, we do not claim to own the word 'warhammer' in common use as a hand weapon.

Trademarks as opposed to use of a word in prose or everyday language are two very different things. Games Workshop is always vigilant in protecting the former, but never makes any claim to owning the latter.

»www.facebook.com/notes/games-wor···40435610
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Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war


PhoenixDown
FIOS is Awesome
Premium
join:2003-06-08
Fresh Meadows, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Kearnstd

I think that if a word is added to the dictionary, it should be considered common use.

Super Hero:

»oxforddictionaries.com/definitio···uperhero

»www.merriam-webster.com/dictiona···r%20hero
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Add a signature here



Voxxjin
Made of Hamburger
Premium
join:2010-01-13
Dupont, WA
Reviews:
·CenturyLink

I've got one for them (GW):

Douchebag - noun
1 a small syringe for douching the vagina, especially as a contraceptive measure.
2 informal an obnoxious or contemptible person, typically a man.

»oxforddictionaries.com/definitio···ouchebag
--
Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
reply to Kearnstd

Re: [Sci-Fi] Use the term "Space Marine"?... Get a Lawyergram

Lets just see them try going after Microsoft.


Kearnstd
Elf Wizard
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

Re: [Sci-Fi] Use the term "Space Marine"?... Get a Law

why do you think they go for small frys. They know a company like MS would fire up their own team of lawyers and dig in for a full blown war.
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[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports