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Old February 7 2013, 12:23 AM   #1
Professor Zoom
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Space Marine (tm)

It's going around the interwebs... but, I thought I would bring it up here...

Back in December, when Games Workshop first got M.C.A. Hogarth's Spots the Space Marine novels pulled from Amazon.com, claiming to own the trademark for "space marine," this seemed like a misunderstanding. Or an overzealous legal department. After all, the term "space marine" goes back to the 1930s and has been used by Robert A. Heinlein and others.
So, the makers of Warhammer 40,000 are trying to lay claim to the term Space Marine.

Clearly, that's insane and they are bullying people with lawyers.
SO, I say, we turn it around. We ALL write and put up stories with Space Marine in the title... can they sue is ALL? Before they cost of the lawyers bankrupts the assholes?

Seriously, SPACE MARINE...?!?

I hope the public shaming that's going around will make them back off.
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Old February 7 2013, 06:25 PM   #2
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

It's not necessary.

Even if by some miracle they manage to get the phrase "Space Marine" trademarked, they can't trademark the word Marine (or Marines) because it's been in the public domain for centuries and is used by countries all over the world to define other things that have been in the public domain for centuries.

So you can make up any kind of phrase you want using the word "marine": "Interstellar Marine", "Marine Corps Space Aviator" (Space: Above and Beyond), "Astro-Marine" (StarCom), Starfleet Marine Force (variation on a fanTrek theme), Galactic Merchant Marine, etc., etc and like that there...

So a massive fan written intellectual disobedience campaign is a waste of energy. It's unlikely the warhammer people will be able to prove that the phrase is unique to their intellectual property. Of course, there are always stupid judges (Spike Lee got money and rights to produce from Spike, a channel that had jack to do with him or his name...), but even if they win, there are plenty of alternatives.
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Old February 7 2013, 09:29 PM   #3
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

Admiral2 wrote: View Post
So a massive fan written intellectual disobedience campaign is a waste of energy. It's unlikely the warhammer people will be able to prove that the phrase is unique to their intellectual property. Of course, there are always stupid judges (Spike Lee got money and rights to produce from Spike, a channel that had jack to do with him or his name...), but even if they win, there are plenty of alternatives.
They only instance they need to prove that they SOLEY can use the term Space Marine is if it goes to court. And what small writer has the money to do that? Their lawyers basically send out cease and desist with threats of legal action... Nothing is proven, no precident is set unless there's a trial. And lawyers cost money.

And why should THEY get the right to something so generic as Space Marine? They didn't even create the term. I'm fine if someone creates a book called Battlehammer 30,000... sue the crap out of them... but, preventing someone from making a living... or getting a few bucks from selling an ebook by using Space Marine. No.

I'm all in favor of protecting IP, but, this is extreme. This is legal bullying at its worse. This pushes the little guy around. Fuck that.

And unless I'm paying for someone's lawyer... which I can't afford to do, social network shaming is not a waste energy.
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Old February 7 2013, 10:13 PM   #4
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

Someone should convince the Heinlein estate to send GW a cease and desist.
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Old February 8 2013, 01:49 AM   #5
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

No, what needs to happen is this "Spots" author needs to get a lawyer to tell GW's lawyers that the law is not on their side. Begging the internet community to rally around her and go "Shame shame" will be absolutely meaningless as long as GW can point to any law anywhere and say "This says I can do this."
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Old February 8 2013, 02:31 AM   #6
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

Admiral2 wrote: View Post
No, what needs to happen is this "Spots" author needs to get a lawyer to tell GW's lawyers that the law is not on their side. Begging the internet community to rally around her and go "Shame shame" will be absolutely meaningless as long as GW can point to any law anywhere and say "This says I can do this."
Sigh. Did you read the link? She can't AFFORD a lawyer. Thats why people are talking about doing something.

And another point, and I'll find a link when I'm back at a computer, their claim of trademark in the US is for games, not books and they are trying to use UK copyright law as if it were applicable to the US.

Again this is a company lawyer CLAIMING something is lawful but can only be settled in court, which costs money.

They are choosing to do this. Thus they can UNchoose to do it.
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Old February 8 2013, 02:47 AM   #7
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

Professor Zoom wrote: View Post
Admiral2 wrote: View Post
No, what needs to happen is this "Spots" author needs to get a lawyer to tell GW's lawyers that the law is not on their side. Begging the internet community to rally around her and go "Shame shame" will be absolutely meaningless as long as GW can point to any law anywhere and say "This says I can do this."
Sigh. Did you read the link?
Yes, I did, hence my last statement.

She can't AFFORD a lawyer. Thats why people are talking about doing something.
Then donate money to a legal defense fund so she can afford a lawyer, which, again, is her only option.


And another point, and I'll find a link when I'm back at a computer, their claim of trademark in the US is for games, not books and they are trying to use UK copyright law as if it were applicable to the US.
Didn't you read the link in the article? I already read that. Same result.

Again this is a company lawyer CLAIMING something is lawful but can only be settled in court, which costs money.

They are choosing to do this. Thus they can UNchoose to do it.
But. They. WON'T unless told to do so by a judge, who must be convinced by a lawyer speaking for the author. They sure as hell won't even notice if a bunch internet fanwankers just start throwing the term "space marine" into their stories for no good reason.
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Old February 8 2013, 04:02 AM   #8
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

Two questions for you:

Do you think what they are doing is right?
Have you considered bad PR might be a way to change the action of a company?
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Old February 8 2013, 05:48 AM   #9
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

Edit: never mind.
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Last edited by M'Sharak; February 8 2013 at 05:55 AM. Reason: never mind
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Old February 8 2013, 03:06 PM   #10
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

The W in GW obviously stands for wankers.
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Old February 8 2013, 03:52 PM   #11
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

I agree, trying to trademark "Space Marine" is way over the top, there should be absolutely no way this wouldn't be tossed out of court before it even began.

Although, I still believe it's not right, I can almost see how they might be able to at least argue for trade marking "Spacemarine" as all one word, I still don't think even that should have a chance of winning, but, at least they might have an argument to stand on. But, trade marking the two word phrase, no way in hell, should they even be granted a Court case to argue for it, IMHO.
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Old February 8 2013, 04:03 PM   #12
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

I agree that this is extremely obnoxious, but I don't quite see what we commoners can do about it. If James Cameron could be prevailed upon to write them a public "don't be stupid" letter, that might help...
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Old February 8 2013, 04:04 PM   #13
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

Sindatur wrote: View Post
I agree, trying to trademark "Space Marine" is way over the top, there should be absolutely no way this wouldn't be tossed out of court before it even began.

Although, I still believe it's not right, I can almost see how they might be able to at least argue for trade marking "Spacemarine" as all one word, I still don't think even that should have a chance of winning, but, at least they might have an argument to stand on. But, trade marking the two word phrase, no way in hell, should they even be granted a Court case to argue for it, IMHO.
Especially since they didn't come up with the phrase. Anything that is truly unique to their IP, they should trademark and protect.

Retroactively claiming something that others came up with, that's insane. And the problem is, until it goes to court, they will continue to bully people.

Sure, I COULD use Interstellar Marines... but then, I should get the trademark on that... and then what would someone else use?

Gaith wrote: View Post
I agree that this is extremely obnoxious, but I don't quite see what we commoners can do about it. If James Cameron could be prevailed upon to write them a public "don't be stupid" letter, that might help...
Really? Nothing? As Admirl2 suggested, donate to the legal defense fund (which I don't think the author has set up, I think she's trying to get a pro bono lawyer). But you don't think raising the awareness of this issue does anything? You don't think having people who buy Warhammer products writing to them and saying, "I'm not going to buy your stuff if you keep doing this?" would do anything?

I don't understand that attitude. Of surrender. (Ok, that's a bit extreme on my part... but still...)

I guess this is important to me as a writer...
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Old February 8 2013, 04:08 PM   #14
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

"No man, if we just get #freespacemarines trending on Twitter, the company will FOLD!"

...but I hope it works. This is so stupid I'm surprised it wasn't Donald Trump.
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Old February 8 2013, 04:10 PM   #15
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Re: Space Marine (tm)

Klaus wrote: View Post
"No man, if we just get #freespacemarines trending on Twitter, the company will FOLD!"

...but I hope it works. This is so stupid I'm surprised it wasn't Donald Trump.
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