Copyright and trademark law has become extremely complicated in this age of online file sharing, and outright piracy. Companies need to make sure people pay for their intellectual property in order to stay in business, so you can understand why they can be a bit militant when it comes to protecting their property.
However, what you can't understand is when they use the protection of intellectual property as an excuse to act like complete and total idiot douchebags who do more damage to their "brand" and their business than the alleged "theft" they claim to be combatting.
The latest purveyor of this new style self-fulfilling idiocy is Games Workshop, the people behind the Warhammer games franchise. They claim that they own the "common law trademark" to the term "Space Marines" and are threatening to legally harass an author into the bottomless pit of penury for sinning against them by using the term in the title of a story.
Now their claim is inherently nonsensical since the term "Space Marine" goes all the way back to the pulp magazines of the 1930s, and the first recorded use was by a writer named Bob Olsen. Since then the term has been used in hundreds of science fiction stories, novels, games of all kinds, movies, and television shows all over the world.
But that's not going to stop Games Workshop. I'm assuming their plan is to target some authors who don't have the resources to fight a long legal and pin a few of their scalps on the wall to create the "chilling effect" they need to get a monopoly going on the use of Space Marines.
These shenanigans proves that Games Workshop has some rather big gaps in their knowledge:
1. They don't know that people who buy their products tend to be science fiction fans.
2. They don't know that science fiction fans tend to have internet connections.
3. They don't know that those internet connections are used to access online social networks.
4. They don't know that those very same social networks are now telling the world what a pack of greedy, evil, predatory douchebags Games Workshop really are.
This fits my definition of what I call a self-fulfilling idiocy.
Someone at Games Workshop imagined a problem that really didn't exist (not owning the words "Space Marines") and thought up what they thought was a solution (bullying an author) that serves only to create a bigger problem (Games Workshop now looks evil & everyone thinks they're assholes).
I've never owned a Games Workshop product, and now I never will because the last thing I want is to give a penny of my hard earned grift to people that greedy, nasty, and above all stupid.
BTW- I know the United State Marines Corps has plans for outer space, and I'm sure they'd like to use the term "space marine" when those plans come to fruition, what do they think about this?