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Games Workshop Are Dickheads


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#1 CruciasNZ

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:39 PM

http://www.bbc.co.uk...nology-21380003

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.

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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”

Susan Hall
DWF
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."


they really need to get slapped don't they

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#2 Paladin Xenos

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:07 PM

I figured this was going to happen with all the games that came out that have replicas of space marines, especially starcraft 2, surprised they didn't freak out when the marines look like space marines, the zerg look like tyranids, and the protoss resemble the eldar :P
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#3 xxxblackspider

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:25 PM

I personally think that its pretty funny to see how many people literally copy paste a picture of an astartes and call it their own work and a space marine...

I agree with Games Workshop getting the trademark... they kind of came up with it
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#4 DTdante2787

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:27 PM

I'm all for preserving intellectual property, but this is out of control

That term existed for years prior to Warhammer 40k (first used in 1932...long before GW even existed). And honestly, that is seriously very bold from a company clearly ripped off the AD 2000 comics in the first incarnation of 40k. The Tyranids clearly are ripped from Aliens and/or Starship Troopers. Some of the Dark Eldar stuff has borrowed very obviously the wargame Warmachine (how they haven't sued GW is beyond me). The sisters repentia of the much loved sisters of battle look incredibly similar to one of the enemies in Bloodrayne 2...and I could go on

This is the short list of things GW has ripped off

So honestly, with all the stuff they themselves have ripped off, they seriously need to chill out. I hope the judge tells them where they can stick that complaint ><
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#5 CruciasNZ

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 11:04 PM

I figured this was going to happen with all the games that came out that have replicas of space marines, especially starcraft 2, surprised they didn't freak out when the marines look like space marines, the zerg look like tyranids, and the protoss resemble the eldar :P


That would be because Warcraft was made to be a Warhammer game but GW declined them - hence the story similarities with Fantasy.

Starcraft was made to be a 40K game, again GW declined them and so it became it's own IP. Really really stupid in hindsight

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#6 Paladin Xenos

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 11:07 PM

didn't know that..... hmmm games workshop are dickheads lol
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#7 JC 042

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 11:08 PM

Games Workshop Are Dickheads


Please, I realised this within a month of discovering them.

They are the image of all evil in the board gaming industry though.

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#8 Brother Agatone

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:15 AM

For the love of God, Jesus f***ing Christ, stop being childish. Who the hell cares if the term "space marine" is used in unsanctioned ways. Just suck it up or your not fi to be a global business.
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#9 Eon SilverWulf

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 05:10 AM

Well to be honest now a days whoever has money has sway over the world, unfortunately we all succumb to the fact that we all like to play warhammer games and that in tern fuels their empire and i know for a fact that if you throw your money around enough, you end up getting your way.

This is why life sucks for the working folk T.T we have no money and what we say doesnt mean jack.

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#10 MetalHead666X

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:18 PM

AD 2000 comics in the first


Do you mean 2000 AD? The ones with Judge Dread? Those comics are great. Got a few hundred of em and have a few of the annuals from the 80s and shit.

As for the actuall topic what banana hats. Its a genral Sci Fi term used basicly everywhere. Even Doctor who has Spech Mahrens.

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#11 Danguinius

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 07:17 PM

Love them or hate them, they continue to sell their stuff.

I personally have spent literally thousands, I remember apple saying and winning a claim against nokia regarding phone designs. So why not space marines.

As for star craft I thought it drew more parallels with Aliens / Predators rather than 40k (I admit 40 also has its similarities). I just thought the Protoss were predators, come on futuristic tech, wrist mounted blades, warrior race?
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#12 CruciasNZ

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:33 PM

Love them or hate them, they continue to sell their stuff.

I personally have spent literally thousands, I remember apple saying and winning a claim against nokia regarding phone designs. So why not space marines.


I am over 5 figures now with reference to GW expenditure. However, their approach to suing fansites and lashing out at loosly related things does leave a sour taste.

What I am more surprised by is the fact that GW and Forge World are yet to be sued for providing shody products. For example: my friend just bought a Barracuda from FW and it had bubbles and holes through some of it's parts - luckily we had spares from another project; then there was my droppod which didn't fit together properly, like I had a faulty mould or something.

Karma's going to smack them sometime, which can only be good for us

As for star craft I thought it drew more parallels with Aliens / Predators rather than 40k (I admit 40 also has its similarities). I just thought the Protoss were predators, come on futuristic tech, wrist mounted blades, warrior race?


I can see both universes influencing Starcraft for sure. It's the same with Warcraft, based on Fantasy but has LoTR influences as well.

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#13 Doomdrinker1

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:34 AM

Well I got to say here GW has done nothing wrong with this they have a trade mark over the "space marine" so if that is uesed as a title then its in GW interest to get it taken of the simple solution is to rename it. Because frankly it would gain it false sales if I saw a book that had space marine on it I would think Warhammer 40k so I would be more likely to buy it so no GW did nothing wrong in that reguard HOWEVER it could be considered ethicaly wrong of them to do it thats the whole thing here.

To the other things about things being influenced thats the key they were influenced so they did not copy of them atall the were inspired you could say so thats why GW has not tried to do that sort of thing with stuff like starcraft as it would not be any stong case for GW.
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#14 DTdante2787

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:23 AM

Actually, if I caught it, due to pressure from other writers, that book is back on Amazon...so essentially, it's a prelim win against GW

What a lot of our dear readers seem to be missing is that the book in question in no way featured any art or content remotely 40k oriented. This is strictly a battle over a phrase...not artwork, not character designs. If it WAS art...they'd have a case. However, the term "space marine" is over stepping their reasonable bounds...it's like copyrighting the word "dog"

Just clearing up some confusion for y'all :)
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#15 Eon SilverWulf

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 06:50 AM

well you know this is a bit off topic but lucas arts did copyright the word droid after all, it says so on the droid cell phone advertisements so it is possible to still copyright space marine.

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#16 CruciasNZ

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:05 AM

well you know this is a bit off topic but lucas arts did copyright the word droid after all, it says so on the droid cell phone advertisements so it is possible to still copyright space marine.


No they didn't, they Trademarked it. Trademarks only give you legal rights over something in the aspect or context you file for. Lucas Arts own the term "Droid" in relation to all works of fiction, Android is a cellphone and therefore fine.

However, GW has the Trademark for "Space Marine" in the context of works of fiction; therefore the author of that book did legally violate that trademark. The morality of trademarking something that has prior art however is dubious.

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#17 Eon SilverWulf

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:55 AM


well you know this is a bit off topic but lucas arts did copyright the word droid after all, it says so on the droid cell phone advertisements so it is possible to still copyright space marine.


No they didn't, they Trademarked it. Trademarks only give you legal rights over something in the aspect or context you file for. Lucas Arts own the term "Droid" in relation to all works of fiction, Android is a cellphone and therefore fine.

However, GW has the Trademark for "Space Marine" in the context of works of fiction; therefore the author of that book did legally violate that trademark. The morality of trademarking something that has prior art however is dubious.


ok thank you for clearing that up for me ^.^

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#18 JC 042

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:58 AM

Blizzard
EA (although they deserved it)
eBay sellers
Curse (some website?)
Chapterhouse
Privateer Press
Countless tabletop companies
And now some author

How much else have I missed out?

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#19 CruciasNZ

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 09:49 PM

Curse is a website that supports the Curse Client, a program which install Mods for multiple games (WoW, Warhammer Online and Terra from memory). They got sued over the Warhammer mods, they used some stuff without citing ownership

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