British company Games Workshop, well known for producing tabletop wargames and other products set in various fantasy universes, has claimed that it owns the idea of future space marines and that nobody can write books featuring astro-bootnecks* without its consent. Last December the company succeeded in getting the novel Spots …
Re: Good tidings for M.C.A. Hogarth
Yes indeed. I'd certainly never heard of her or her book before this, and now I am thinking it sounds intriguing and I would quite like to pick up a copy.
Go get it now!
In fact, the book in question is back up in the Kindle Store. The author says that she has seen more sales *today* than the sales from the second half of 2012! So if you want it, go get it!
I'm guessing that Amazon saw the shitstorm and put it back up because:
- They know it's going to sell like mad
- They know that if GW tries anything, there's going to be an assload of people countering any legal action.
This is going to be awesome!
The British Game company in question obviously does not have a good stable of games to sell, and is being foolish in attempting to banish the use of the silly phrase space marines..
Like you, some of my first work (as an illustrator) appeared in early issues of White Dwarf back when Games Workshop were the good guys. Such a shame they seem to have morphed into just another mendacious, greedy, litigious, bullying corporation trying to steal something for themselves that has been public domain for decades. I really hope they don't win this...
Isn't it is about the time
Games Workshop has had the taste slapped out of its mouth?
They have become a bunch of greedy scum bags and nothing more.
Fine Cast anyone?
Re: Isn't it is about the time
Finecast, I understand the principle... the price of metal made it unprofitable to continue selling metal figures, so they found a cheaper alternative that meant they didn't have to redo their entre manufacturing operation.
I actually like it, as they are a lot lighter and dont have the balance issues, it's also a lot easier to work with.
The quality was a bit variable in the beginning, but the perfect ones are spectacular. The associated price increase was a bit uncalled for though.
we discussed this months ago on warseer.
Whats more ridiculous is that most of the background from their games is ripped (homage'd?) from lots of sources. Im in the middle of reading a mote in gods eye ( or what ever its called) and was stunned to see references to Tanith and Istavan, the whole imperial set up is similar too. There is also loads of Dune, smatterings of Heinlen, some Lovecraft and buckets of Tolkein.
Whilst GW are money grabbing ass hats these days, the fluff is great, and the models are so pwetty. i can let them off.
Anyhoo, blood to the blood god, waaaagh, and other such things. Im away to paint my Dark Angels.......
Re: old news
Not mention the marines aboard INSS Macarthur + INSS Lenin.... :-) (' Mote' - 1974 GW -1975)
TV Tropes to the rescue
According to TV Tropes (which has been updated to include this story: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpaceMarine), the first reference to "Space Marines" is a short story from 1932 "Captain Brink and the Space Marines". It is also clear that every aspect of the GW conspect of the Space Marine is plagiarized(*) from the entire body of Sci Fi literature since that date and that much of the work they are taking credit for is still under someone else's copyright. IMO, GDW is in for a Very Bad Week.
(*) It stopped being "derived from", "lifted", "an homage to" or "a tribute to" the moment they claimed that the creation was their own original work.
Does this mean they'll be trying to block the upcoming Honor Harrington movie for the inclusion of spaceships with onboard marine contingents?
Mine's a pint, this is just starting.
At the term clearly was in use before GW tried to trademark it, isn't this an open invitation for those having used the term earlier to take GW to court?
I mean, this is a sword with two edges, and it strikes me that GW may have used the most blunt one of the two..
I, for one, would welcome this to happen. If I had the money I'd try and find a way to buy an earlier instance, just to milk GW dry. Maybe a fun crowdsourcing project..
How on earth did the Devil Dogs get one on? You know being Jarheads and all.
never did understand Warhammer
why would I want to sink all my savings on a plastic toy you have to assemble yourself to play a game with tape measures and rule books the size of your telephone directory. Can't exactly see the fun in that. Neither can the female half of the population because you never see them in Games Workshop
Re: never did understand Warhammer
It's surprisingly good fun and different people can find different aspects they like.
Personally I like the stories more than the wargaming (not least due to cost and my lack of ability at painting) but I went to Games Day and Golden Demon 1996 in the NIA and found it to be (almost) one of the friendliest groups of people I've ever been in (silly staffer wouldn't let me and my mates see the Black Library film!) I used to devour all the stories in the Codices and White Dwarf and loved the artwork. I even knew a lot of the 2nd edition rules off by heart for a while! Maybe that's weird, but who would want to fling birds at fortified pigs?
Trademark vs copyright...
Wouldn't be surprised if this was a lawyer reaction to the fact that you can lose a trademark if you don't defend it.
Trademarks are a bit different to normal copyright due to this issue and so the GW lawyers were probably just reacting to a new potential infringement - they may well have memoranda of understanding or similar agreements covering existing uses as that way they could retain the trademark without needing to sue/enforce...
I'll probably get flamed for this but ...
Will the Hitler's mob return and sue Lucasfilm for use of the term "stormtrooper" in Star Wars?
Oh, sorry. Disney have already bought Lucasfilm.
Re: I'll probably get flamed for this but ...
I can find a couple of flaws in the above...
1) It's an English term, the Nazi's were actually quite keen on people using German so probably never registered it as such.
2) 'A long time ago...' so precidence for it's use already set prior to the Chaplin lookalike. (Plus it came into common usage late in WW1 not WW2)
Damn, I've used the word Nazi ,which LucasFilm did try and claim a trademark for (and not TSR as some people believe.)
Re: I'll probably get flamed for this but ...
Methinks stormtrooper is a trademark of the Kaiserliches Heer...
Its still available at Barnes and Noble
I only wonder this hasn't happened years ago. Back in the last century the list of trademarks in any GW publication was a dense paragraph of dozens of entries that generated its own gravitational field.
You guys are aware that trademarks must be defended or they are lost, at least, in the US they are. Forgive one infringement and you lose the right to enforce it at all.
Still, there's one bright side. Since these trademarks are granted in about two dozen countries at least this one can't generate legitimate "bloody stupid yank" hatemail.
Other Games Workshop trademarks
Include: Orc, Goblin, Undead, Codex, Inferno, Inquisitor, Marauder, Dwarf, Elves, Terra, Mars, Armageddon, Halfling and Ogre.
In a way you have to admire them for their brass necks.
Re: Other Games Workshop trademarks
Pretty sure Inquisitor is owned by the Catholic Church.
Thats mine, the one with the collar.
Ah, so that's where.
Games Workshop....at least I now know where Daryl McBride found employment. He does love games after all.
Michael Moorcock was heavily lifted from: http://www.multiverse.org/fora/showthread.php?t=2229 There is no mistaking Elric.
Wasn't Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story a space marine? Not as old, but a much bigger gorilla for GW to take on, as well as probably having a fair amount of merchandise on Amazon...
Re: Buzz Lightyear?
Buzz Lightyear was a Space Ranger, as was Isaac Asimov's Lucky Starr in Pirates Of The Asteroids.
The most expensive way of building an Airfix style army yet devised. I can remember playing mini figurine war games as a pre-teen with matchstick firing 88s, but somehow lost interest as puberty raged.
Maybe they're trying to provoke some interest among the spotty youth of today, who seem much happier playing first person shooters on their phones.
Upvoted for "matchstick firing 88s"
A trademark. registered or not, must possess distinctiveness in order to be valid. As many of these comments have given proof of, this is not the case with "space marine" - a generic description that does not distinguish GW's creations from their many other types of space marines in movies, books and games.
If they sued anyone that had deep pockets or a legal team of their own they would run the risk of a counter-suit that would most most likely see their registration declared invalid. Hence they sue someone who doesn't have the means to do just that.
As a lawyer and an old GW fan, I'm feeling a little ashamed right now.
Example of how to maintain core values
Honesty: We understand that we really have no right to this trademark,
Courage: but we're boldly CLAIMING it anyway, even though we know everyone will hate us.
Humility: We never claimed that we somehow deserve it.
Where do I donate
to Hogarth's legal fund? I have 100 bucks that wants to help her sue the shit-stained arses off these greedy fucking bastards.
Re: Where do I donate
Not aware of one yet, waiting to hear back from the author.
That in some kind of bizarre way I am glad that this kind of grasping behavior is being perpetrated by companies other than Apple....
"We wouldn't suggest for a minute that a writer should be allowed to produce books about the Adeptus Astartes or any perceptible imitation of Warhammer 40K without consent from Games Workshop"
Yeah, the audacity of writing your own book based on an existing idea. People who write fan fiction are just plagiarising scum in the black and white world of the register. Wish the world I lived in was so simple.
"Yeah, the audacity of writing your own book based on an existing idea. People who write fan fiction are just plagiarising scum in the black and white world of the register. Wish the world I lived in was so simple."
People who do it for money *are*.
They can have "Space Marine"
But they'll never take my "Space Cowboy"
Apols to: Steve Miller Band
Re: They can have "Space Marine"
"Space Cowboyy"? Where's Bat Durston when you need him?
Flames - cos there's a rocket ship.
As an equitable solution, henceforth, "Space Marines" will hereby be known as %20Marines.
Hawkmoon and Fantac/FGU
Firstly The GW Trademarks refer to games, not literature, so they have nothing to base an infringement takedown on.
Secondly. The reason to defend a Trademark is to stop the term becoming generic. However it already was generic, generic enough for Fantac in 1977 to publish a set of MINIATURE WARGAMES RULES called Space Marines. These were republished in 1980 by FGU
Thirdly. Infringing is a big open hole for GW. The Emperor and Chapters of the Imperium owe a SHEDLOAD to the Emperor and Houses of Granbretan from Moorcock's Hawkmoon
Fourthly, one of the founders of GW, Ian Livingstone, railed against too restrictive practices in IP back in the 70s. What happened at GW is the lawyers and accountants taking over who either don't know, or care, about the cultural heritage their own company loots wholesale
Writing on the wall
GW is heading into oblivion. 18 months tops till they go titsup...
Thats why they are doing this now....£$€
Re: Writing on the wall
"18 months tops till they go titsup..."
If that bet is still open, I'm good for £500 against it.
They've been a crap money making machine for years... crap... but still making lots of money.
Re: Writing on the wall
I only gamble virtually...But, in the spirit of things, I'll take your wager, virtually of course.....
See you august 2014...
Amongst our values are Honesty, Courage, Humility and Litigious Bastardry.
They might want to check their OWN history
Citadel (part of Games Workshop) were licensing 'space marines' from US company Ral Partha themselves in the late 70's -80's.
There were even *adverts* for Ral Partha figurines in White Dwarf.
They obviously forgot their own history...
I remember when Games Workshop was just that shoddy shop in the backstreets of London & I still have very early copies of White Dwarf somewhere (#2 i think - Yellow cover?)
"We wouldn't suggest for a minute that a writer should be allowed to produce books about the Adeptus Astartes or any perceptible imitation of Warhammer 40K without consent from Games Workshop. "
Why not? When did we decide that authors had to get permission to write about characters and situations based on other authors' ideas? The storyline is protected quite broadly, but just characters and stuff like that? I don't see any advantage for society allowing carte blanche protection for those, unless it is to spare us the pathetic sight of JK Rowling drying her tears with twenty-pound notes in front of some silly American judge.
If I write a better Bond novel than the currently blessed hack appointed by the Flemming estate, then the readers will vote on it, and if they think I'm producing a cheap knock-off then it will fail.
The ultimate test is the "Winnie the Pooh" one: would the creator of this setting or character (and its fans) be better served by someone who want to push forward with new and interesting ideas, or should the "intellectual property" laws allow it to be sold off as a monopoly right to a rapacious despicable corporation to be turned into pre-digested pap for flogging McDonalds burgers to obese toddlers?
WWED? (What would Eeyore do?)
Re: IP Creep
Actually I read an interesting legal argument (ironically involving Games Workshop) that clearly states you cannot trademark or copyright an idea and that literary works are only protected in the first instance. So there's actually no legal obstacle to writing a new work of fiction based on Lord of the Rings, I just can't take the original book and copy it paragraph by paragraph. So "The adventures of Hobbits" would actually be allowed, so long as it's not directly ripping off parts of the original books. It would even be possible to write a new LOTR book set at the same time but based on events around the book. Interestingly though the only thing you couldn't do is have "Lord of the Rings:" as part of the title as that is covered by trademark. It's for the above reasons that you have multiple authors writing the Conan stories. The real reason it doesn't happen more in reality is nothing to do the legal position but the financial position of the derivative author. Most simply cannot afford to fight the publisher in court.
Apple (and Microsoft earlier) with their shop layout, GW with apparantly every sci-fi and fantasy literature noun ever used illustrates how ridiculous trademark law has become.
To my mind they are water-borne soldiers. For the purposes of this trolling expedition, in space, no-one can see you swim.
At the risk of feeding the troll, the majority of Sci-Fi writers chose a Naval metaphor for their space-ship-borne characterizations, so the use of "Marine" to describe the ship-borne fighting force is following that tradition.
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