The Amazon.com exile of the e-book Spots the Space Marine finally ended last Friday, after being removed from the online distributor for nearly two months thanks to a trademark infringement claim from Games Workshop over the term "space marine." The takedown inspired controversy and vocal support for the book's author from online commentators like Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi, who noted that space marines have been around a rather long time in sci-fi media, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which worked with author MCA Hogarth to get her e-book reinstated.
But does that mean that Hogarth's trouble is over, that the book should never have been taken down, or that we should all feel free to write books about space marines once more? The legal answers remain unclear.
The first sign of any trouble for Hogarth was an e-mail from Amazon on December 12 informing her that her book "had been blocked due to a trademark infringement claim from Games Workshop," Hogarth told Wired. "Games Workshop purportedly attempted to contact me in November, but I can't verify that. I have no e-mail from them in that time frame."
The issue for Games Workship, an international gaming company best known for its Warhammer and Lord of the Rings material, was the title of the book, Spots the Space Marine -- specifically, the last two words. Sure enough, the company does own a U.S. trademark on the term "space marine" for "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."
A broader European trademark additionally includes "paper, cardboard and goods made from these materials, not included in other classes; printed matter; bookbinding material; photographs; stationery; adhesives for stationery or household purposes; artists’ materials; paint brushes; typewriters and office requisites (except furniture); instructional and teaching material (except apparatus); plastic materials for packaging (not included in other classes); playing cards; printers’ type; printing blocks."
The key term there is "printed matter." Although a printed version of the book did exist, Amazon had only removed Hogarth's e-book -- i.e., not printed matter -- as a result of the company's claim. An additional problem, and perhaps the more important one, was that Games Workshop didn't create the term "space marine," but only started using it decades after it had already slipped into common usage within science-fiction culture.
The earliest-known appearance of the term "Space Marine" was in the November 1932 issue of pulp magazine Amazing Stories, in Bob Olsen's story "Captain Brink of the Space Marines," although it came to more prominence in E.E. Smith's Lensmen series of stories, which appeared in Amazing Stories and Astounding Stories throughout the latter 1930s and into the 1940s, and multiple stories by Robert A. Heinlein, including Starship Troopers.
By the time Games Workshop first used the term -- in 1987's Warhammer 40,000 -- the concept of marines in space had been further popularized by Doctor Who and, most famously, James Cameron's Aliens, which featured the "United Systems' Colonial Marine Corps," as ineffectual as they turned out to be.
So, what exactly was Games Workshop doing? When contacted for comment, I was directed to this public statement on the matter:
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.
From a legal standpoint, Games Workshop claims it is concerned that consumers might be confused about whether or not Hogarth's book was connected to its own series of Space Marine novels and wanted to use the 1946 Lanham Act to defend its brand on that basis. Although the company hasn't registered the term "space marines" for use in fiction (print or digital) in the U.S., that wouldn't necessarily make a difference should the company decide to pursue the matter; under the Lanham Act, "registration is not a prerequisite to federal trademark protection [although] registered marks enjoy significant advantages over unregistered marks." All Games Workshop would have to do would be to prove that the term had become synonymous with its Warhammer property.
Now, it's worth clarifying: Games Workshop had not actually launched any legal action against Hogarth, a fact that the author herself pointed out in an e-mail. "[Games Workshop] issued a notice to one of my distributors (Amazon) which caused Amazon to remove the e-book (but not the paper edition) of my novel," she explained. "Amazon's sale of the kindle edition provides most of my revenue, so despite it being available on other venues, having the e-book off Amazon is a blow for me. Many people have pointed out that I could ignore GW's claim because they haven't sued me, and I would if their complaint hadn't caused Amazon to block the e-book (not just from the U.S., but in all countries Kindle books are available)."
Instead, Hogarth teamed with the EFF to address the issue. In a blog post last Friday, EFF's Corynne McSherry described Games Workshop as a "trademark bully" for its actions, but reported that the EFF's intervention had resulted in Amazon's reviewing the situation and reversing its original decision. "We’re pleased that Amazon did the right thing here, and that we were able to help," McSherry wrote. "We’re also pleased that so many internet users got involved to support Ms. Hogarth. Together, we sent a signal: Trademark bullies will not be tolerated online."
So, are Spots and Hogarth (and you) free to use the term "space marine" in commercial products without complications from Games Workshop from now on? That remains to be seen; certainly, the games company has the legal right to continue to press the issue, but judging from the bad publicity this had already garnered for them, it would certainly seem like a better idea to let the matter drop. Hogarth is cautiously optimistic, telling Wired that "despite the statement, I am pretty sure Games Workshop is done with me.... Let's hope they are."
Trademark Bully Thwarted: Spots the Space Marine Back Online
Score one for the space marines.
Last month, a UK game developer, Games Workshop, complained to Amazon.com that an ebook, Spots the Space Marine, infringed its trademarks in the term “space marine.” Turns out Games Workshop sells a popular game, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, and has registered marks in the term “space marine” in connection with games. But Games Workshop lost all sense of proportion and decided that it also had trademark rights to the term in books. And thus a trademark bully was born.
After it received the complaint, Amazon promptly removed the book from its virtual shelves. When the author, M.C.A Hogarth, protested, Amazon initially refused to reinstate the book and instead politely suggested she resolve the dispute directly with Games Workshop.
Hogarth was understandably shocked. As many folks pointed out, “space marine” dates back to at least the 1930s, appearing in a variety of science fiction including works by Robert Heinlein. It is a science fiction icon. So the notion that any single entity, much less a gaming company, could have broad rights in the “space marine” is outrageous.
Hogarth tried to resolve the dispute in a friendly way, but Games Workshop refused to withdraw its complaint. So she reached out for help, including to EFF (and thanks to the many folks, including Wil Wheaton, Popehat, and Cory Doctorow, who helped spread the word). We were able to intervene and, to Amazon’s credit, the company reviewed the claim and restored the book. Let’s hope Games Workshop will now have the good sense to realize the bullying has to stop.
We’re pleased that Amazon did the right thing here, and that we were able to help. And we’re also pleased that so many internet users got involved to support Ms. Hogarth. Together, we sent a signal: Trademark bullies will not be tolerated online.
But the work is not yet done: this is just one instance of a much bigger “weakest link” problem that imperils online speech and commerce. Offline, most legal users can ignore improper trademark threats, because the bullies will probably have the good sense not to test the matter in court and have little recourse through third parties. In the Internet context, however, individuals and organizations rely on service providers to help them communicate with the world and sell their products and services (YouTube, Facebook, eBay, Amazon.com, etc.). A trademark complaint directed to one of those third-party providers can mean a fast and easy takedown – as it did here. After all, those providers usually don’t have the resources and/or the inclination to investigate trademark infringement claims – they’d rather stay “neutral.” As a result, a “neutral” provider generally means “you lose” to people facing bogus trademark claims. Moreover, because there is no counter-notice procedure, the targets of an improper takedown have no easy way to get their content back up even if they chose to fight.
This bigger problem is not going away anytime soon. Users, let’s keep standing up to trademark bullies, and helping others do so, too. Intermediaries: take a page from Amazon here, and take the time to help your customers protect themselves. An easy first step is to make sure your trademark takedown policies include easy-to-use counter-notice procedures.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future, There is only War.
Warhamer 40,000: Space Marine is a third-person Action Shooter in which players accept the role of a Space Marine Captain tasked with the defense of the empire as well as humanity against the Chaos Faction lead by the ruthless Ork hordes. Players will have to use their exceptional size, strength, armor, weaponry and fighting spirit in order to succeed. Features include: a new seamless combat system allowing equally for ranged and melee action, hordes of deadly enemies of various kinds, intense 16-player online multiplayer and more.
In Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine you are Captain Titus of the Ultramarines, humanity's last hope for survival in a war-ridden future. Step into the armor of this superhuman warrior and use a lethal combination of deadly weapons to crush overwhelming alien forces. Fight against the savage Orks and the unholy forces of Chaos in a brutally violent world based on the richest science fiction fantasy ever created.
Lead the fight against the Chaos faction as Captain Titus of the Ultramarines.
Space Marine features a fluid combat system that allows players to seamlessly switch from ranged to melee weapons without interrupting the flow of combat. Hitting the melee button at any time will result in a close range strike with the equipped hand-to-hand weapon as well as the camera pulling out to melee distance. Pulling either trigger will instantly snap the view back to behind the player’s shoulder ready for precise shooting. These systems are immediately responsive and leave the player in full control at all times. As the player dispatches enemies in Space Marine they will be earning "Fury" which can be used to unleash devastating ranged or melee attacks. The player can use "Fury Marksman" to enter a heightened form of awareness where time seems to slow down allowing them to pick off multiple ranged enemies in the blink of an eye. Alternately the player can opt to utilize their "Fury Strike" up close and personal with a sweeping area of affect attack that will obliterate anything close enough and knock-back and stun more distant foes.
Key Game Features
- Storm Into Battle - Step fearlessly into the heart of combat as an unstoppable Space Marine. Never hide, never cower, just purge all that stand in your way.
- Unleash Visible Violent Death - Using an innovative, new combat system, switch seamlessly from high-caliber ranged weapons to devastating close-combat strikes. Taking out an enemy has never been so satisfying.
- Experience the Dark Future of Warhammer 40,000 - Jump into a rich universe of awe-inspiring landscapes, deadly enemies, immense battles and ruthless annihilation.
- Take the Battle Online - Form your own Space Marine squad or Chaos Space Marine warband and face off in 8 vs. 8 online matches. Gain experience and unlock new weapons and armor to customize the Devastator, Assault and Tactical Marine classes.
Games Workshop gets someone's book yanked from Amazon for using the term "Space Marine"
Who owns the term "space marine"? According to Wikipedia, the term was first used in 1932 in a story called "Captain Brink of the Space Marines" by Bob Olsen — but now, Warhammer 40K owner Games Workshop is claiming to have a trademark on the longstanding term.
M.C.A. Hogarth has been selling a serial called Spots the Space Marine, which is described as "Pollyanna meets Starship Troopers." But now, Amazon.com has decided to stop selling Hogarth's e-books because of a claim from Games Workshop that Hogarth was infringing on their trademark.
As Hogarth notes:
If you go to the Trademarks Database and look up the word "space marine" you'll find the Games Workshop owns a trademark on the term "space marine," but it only covers the follow 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.
Fiction isn't included in that list, which means Games Workshop has no grounds on which to accuse me of trademark infringement.
I didn't get my use of that term from Games Workshop. I got it from Robert Heinlein. Apparently the first use of the term was in 1932. E.E. Smith used it, among others. Also there are other novels on Amazon being sold that have "space marine" in the title. I don't know why Games Workshop decided to complain about Spots in particular, but my guess is because the Kickstarter made it a little higher-profile than the average indie offering.
Hogarth closed comments on the above blog post, in order to "have a discussion with the people involved" — so let's hope this nonsense is getting sorted out. Forthwith. [M.C.A. Hogarth via Pope Hat]
Marine amazon space
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (Xbox 360)
Platform:Xbox 360 | Edition:Standard Edition
In Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine you are Captain Titus of the Ultramarines, humanity's last hope for survival in a war-ridden future. Step into the armour of this superhuman warrior and use a lethal combination of deadly weapons to crush overwhelming alien forces. Fight against the savage Orks and the unholy forces of Chaos in a brutally violent world based on the richest science fiction fantasy ever created.
Storm Into Battle – Step fearlessly into the heart of combat as an unstoppable Space Marine. Never hide, never cower, just purge all that stand in your way.
Unleash Visible Violent Death – Using an innovative new combat system, switch seamlessly from high-calibre ranged weapons to devastating close-combat strikes. Taking out an enemy has never been so satisfying.
Experience the dark future of Warhammer 40,000 – Jump into a rich universe of awe-inspiring landscapes, deadly enemies, immense battles and ruthless annihilation.
Take the Battle Online – Form your own Space Marine squad or Chaos Space Marine warband and face off in 8 vs 8 online matches. Gain experience and unlock new weapons and armour to customize the Devastator, Assault, and Tactical Marine classes.
You will also be interested:
- Mazdaspeed miata colors
- Svu season 9 episode 10
- Devforum roblox group
- Ukulele scales
- Downtown charleston studio apartments
- Gm truck wheels and tires
- Strike score fishing
- Cisco nexus copy scp