Via James Nicoll, I read that MCA Hogarth, an author and artist whose work I was not previously familiar with — still aren’t, really, since it’s five in the ay-em right now and I just want to write this up quick and get to bed — seems to do a lot of self-publishing, and recently discovered that one of her books, Spots the Space Marine has been blocked from sale on Amazon, after a claim of trademark infringement from Games Workshop.
Since 1987, GW has published a series of games (and ancillary merchandise) get in their “Warhammer 40,000” setting, full of spike-covered pseudo-elves and pseudo-orcs amd chainswords and the like, all set in space (instead of on a planet like their original Warhammer setting). GW has apparently decided that, since they’ve got space marines in their setting, they own the very concept of space marines.
Hogarth has talked to several lawyers, and they’re all willing to take the case, but not pro bono. The legal costs “start at $2000 and climb into the five-figure realm”, which is more than she stands to make off the book if she does get to sell it. I figure Hogarth might be able to use some added attention.
And yes, I’m aware that as a discussion of trademarks and role-playing games grows longer, the probably of someone mentioning that TSR supposedly tried to trademark the word “Nazi” approaches 1.
Update: The book’s been restored.