So for those of you not in the know, back in December Game Workshop filed a complaint with Amazon claiming that a certain e-book was infringing on one of their IP’s by using the term “Space Marine” (full story here).
“Crazy,” the community replies. “Bullying,” well yes….. so lets look at the other side of the argument. The argument that GW probably won’t openly communicate to us.
Games Workshop are a business, and like all businesses they have a commitment to their stakeholders, and that includes you, the customer. That’s right, YOU/ME. Games Workshop deliver to us a rich and diverse universe of army’s, models, games and stories for us to consume and enjoy, and to their shareholders a slice of the action. None of this is possible if GW don’t remain competitive.
Their idea concerning the hole e-book debacle is that they want a customer to place in the search engine the words “space marines” and get a return of what they expect, an array of GW Space Marine related books. GW Customer heaven, Astartes roid machine reading material, “look this one has pictures!” And the same is said for their big push into the iBooks market stall. They don’t want you to go to the iBook store and wade through other Space Marine material, they want it to look consistent, they want their stuff to be up the top of the list.
So in return for this competitive aggression, GW remain a profitable company and we get a long list of commissioned work to read.
There is of course a downside to this to which the community is unhappy about:
a) the term Space Marine was coined way before GW used it
b) the sharing of ideas creates new original ideas, such as the one GW created when they started Rogue Trader
c) it’s really unfair on the little guy
The truth is, GW will win. They will win because they have the money and resources to win. Even if the community put in enough money to pay for a legal battle, it still wouldn’t be enough.
So in the end we’ll keep buying their products. After all, the Warhammer universes are pretty great.
Such is the price we pay.