Games Workshop tries to assert ownership of the words "Space Marines"
Some overzealous lawyers from Games Workshop apparently made Amazon block sales of an e-book called "Spots the Space Marine" because, according to them, GW owns the trademark to the words "Space Marine" in all media.
This is patently absurd because "space marines" are a common trope that were used in science fiction novels (Heinlein and Doc Smith among others) as far back as the 1930s.
It's also funny because, if you go through the original Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader rulebook you'll find obvious shout-outs to Star Wars, Alien, Terminator, Lord of the Rings, Dune, Jugdge Dredd, and probably lots of other stuff. It's a kitchen sink setting of derivative sci-fi and fantasy tropes, made by fans for other fans to enjoy acting out whatever media-inspired scenarios they wanted. And that's great! But how hypocritical is it that after building their company on the freedom to remix common genre tropes, they try to deny the same freedom to others?
40k today is barely recognizable as the same game as that first version - the setting became more defined and unique, it stopped using a referee, they retconned out most of the fun silly stuff, and everything got super GRIMDARK. And of course, little plastic men became a hugely profitable business for them, so the lawyers moved in and took everything over.
Anyway, there's a happy ending to this particular story: the EFF joined the fight and helped get Amazon to reinstate the book. Hooray!
This wasn't the first time Games Workshop has acted as a legal bully - they've been known to shut down websites where people posted game stats, even just for discussion purposes.
I'm feeling pretty good about my decision to stop supporting Games Workshop. (Even though my decision was more because the game stopped being fun than because of their corporate policies.) Besides legal bullying tactics, I've also heard GW is quite terrible to their low-level employees. Plus their stores have that weird cult-like atmosphere where everybody's giving you the hard sell.
A couple months ago I boxed up all the Warhammer 40k stuff that was collecting dust in my garage and started selling it on eBay. I've got $900 so far and I've still got the Tyranids to sell. (I love you, eBay!)