Legal Threats for the Skull Throne

In legal overreach news, Games Workshop got Amazon to stop the sale of an ebook for using "space marine" in the title. [2/8 edit: Amazon has since relisted the ebook for sale.]

For those who aren't tabletop wargaming types, Games Workshop is primarily known for producing Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, in which you assemble armies of little men (also orcs, aliens, elves, robots, dwarfs, undead creatures, and various monsters) and have them crush each other by way of superior tactics and lots of six-sided dice.

The futuristic side of the game uses heavily-armored humans called Space Marines, who have also appeared in the novels and video games associated with the franchise. Games Workshop has a trademark for "space marine" when it's used for gaming and modeling purposes, but they apparently want to lay exclusive claim to it in fiction as well. The problem with that is that the term predates 40K by more than fifty years.

Warhammer 40K taught me that blood is for the Blood God and that red ones really do go faster. The idea that its creators could build a world so inspired by the rich history of science fiction and then wave lawsuits at authors who share similar influences makes this pretty pink Carnifex cry.

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