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We All Float Down Here, Georgie…

An Update of Sorts

An update, of sorts.

Amazon has gone ahead and put M.C.A. Hogarth’s Spots the Space Marine back up in their ebook section. Judging from what I’ve heard, this is a pretty good book that others should pick up to help support the author. Plus, she donates a percentage of book sales to the Wounded Warrior project, which is pretty cool in itself. I’m broke, which is why I haven’t bought a copy yet. However, as soon as I have funds, I’ll be buying it and eventually reviewing it over at SBR.

However, I have not been able to confirm that Games Workshop has (or will) back down from their trademark claim. Spurious it may be (and it is, it really is), somebody in their legal department believed that it was a viable claim, meaning that unless an some sort of injunction or ruling spelling out the exact terminology of what a “trademark” may cover for GW, I doubt that they’re backing off. What’s probably going to happen is they’ll wait a few months, until the internet forgets, then hit someone else over another term.

One potential course of action that Hogarth could take would be to claim protection under the First Amendment, since Amazon is a US company and she is in the US. The trademark fair use law (under US copyright law) actually allows for this, despite what GW claims. While not as easy to work within like the copyright fair use law is, it still allows some wiggle room, since she is not using the Space Marine as GW uses it. Otherwise Lucas (and now Disney) would have shut down Darths & Droids years ago. GW may think they’re the 800 pound gorilla in the room, but they’re nothing but an ant if the mouse stepped into the fight. And if the mouse is leaving Darths & Droids alone, well…

That’s one thing authors need to remember. Despite what fancy legal departments wish for you to think (on behalf of their clients, of course. No self-respecting law firm wants to screw over anybody… wow, I typed that with a straight face even), you have just as many rights (if not more) as corporations.

Somebody asked me via email if I was worried about burning my bridge with Black Library. A little bit, sure. Everybody is worried about burning bridges in their lives. But I can’t stand by and watch while an author gets trampled into the ground by an overbearing company armed with lawyers. If that means I cannot write for the Black Library, then so be it.

I’ll just work harder to get published by Baen. Toni knows how to treat her authors.

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2 responses to “An Update of Sorts

  1. Barb Caffrey February 9, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    Jason, I’m glad to hear this. I haven’t been feeling well enough to do much of anything the past three days, but I have commented (as you know) and did my best on FB to pass the word along, too. And I think reviewing Ms. Hogarth’s book at SBR is a wonderful idea. (If I can get any extra money, I’ll buy that book or another of hers, just to support her due to all of this ridiculous nonsense.)

    As for the rest of it, I think the comment by Groucho Marx about not wanting to be a member of any place that would have him (I forget the exact phrasing, which is better than my paraphrase by far) has a bit of relevance here.

    And I’m sure you will succeed, with or without the Black Library.

  2. Barb Caffrey February 9, 2013 at 3:23 AM

    By the way, you might wish to look at this link. Games Workshop didn’t back down. EFF instead talked to Amazon on Ms. Hogarth’s behalf. http://www.darkmatterfanzine.com/dmf/space-marines/

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