Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Stupid Trademarks

Games Workshop (the company that made Blood Bowl) has apparently convinced Amazon to take down the book Spots the Space Marine: Defense of the Fiddler because they've got a common law trademark on the term 'space marine'. Now, I don't know enough about trademark law to know if they actually have a case or not. What I do know is Amazon believed them enough to stop selling the book. And I firmly believe that they shouldn't have a case. Patent/copyright/trademark/ip laws are absurd and the whole system needs to be reworked. It's absurd that someone could even think that the idea of a 'space marine' in science fiction is something that should be limited to one company. And even if it wasn't absurd Games Workshop didn't invent the idea of a marine in space!

I read a law blog (Popehat) that calls out frivolous lawsuits and their post on this situation asks for gamers and/or science fiction lovers to yell at Games Workshop and/or spread the word on the story. I only play the one Games Workshop game and I've already paid the full cost of that program already so there'd be no substance behind any threat to boycott them (though my biggest problem is with the system that lets them do this) but I can certainly try to spread the word.

Oh, and it turns out Kobo hasn't taken down the nice lady's book, so I also bought it. I like science fiction; maybe I'll like this book. I certainly would never have been exposed to it if Games Workshop hadn't been so mean.

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