Games Workshop wants to copyright ‘space marine’; I want to copyright ‘dumbass Brits’

For the Emperor! And his legal department!Via BoingBoing: Games Workshop, the venerated UK firm that has been producing beautiful (if broken) tabletop miniatures games and role-playing games since Harold Wilson was prime minister, is getting into trouble with its legions of gamer fans.

Ebook author MCA Hogarth had her novel Spots the Space Marine pulled from Amazon’s online store because of a copyright claim by Games Workshop. It seems the boys in the legal department have decided that GW owns the term “space marine,” despite the fact that its use in science fiction goes back to at least 1948.

As BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow, himself a sci-fi author, puts it:

Games Workshop’s strategy is to make “space marine” less generic by launching high profile, bullying attacks on everyone who uses it, so that there will come a day when people hearing the phrase immediately conclude that it must be related to Games Workshop, because everyone know what colossal dicks they are whenever anyone else uses the phrase.

Fans are upset; the company’s Facebook page is inundated with complaints from irate gamers. And I sent a stern email to the company about the issue. I’m working on a short fiction series that incorporates space marines, and I’m certainly not going to call them something else.

I mean, “space SEALs” just conjures up some ridiculous imagery.

Anyway, the whole thing reminds me of the Nazi™ fiasco.