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M. C. A. Hogarth
Name: M. C. A. Hogarth
What's This All About?
My life in text: writing, art, massage therapy, fencing, health, humor and language and culture; ethics and society and personal musing.
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Stardancer News
The Pursuit of Beauty
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My royalties from the month of the Spots the Space Marine vs. GW thing came in, and they were quite welcome… I only wish I got checks like that every month! But anyway, it’s been my policy to give 10% of my profits from Spots to the Wounded Warrior Project. Since this was an extraordinary situation, I decided to do more than 10%.

Here’s my receipt (with my address/ID stuff blacked out!):

Once again, thank you all for buying the book, and for helping me to support our men and women in uniform. If you’d like to chip in some money directly to the WWP, here’s a handy link.

Edit: And the confirmation email (again, with blacked out personal/payment info):

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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Sales have slowed to a quiet trickle, but I am pleased, very pleased to see a lot of reviews by people who bought the book because of the GW issue and have gone on to enjoy it. On Amazon alone there have been seven new reviews in the past week with comments like “Definitely on my re-read list” and “a proper page-turner.” Most of those reviews comment about the format and then go on to say that while strange, it seems to suit the narrative… I’m glad they thought so. I did too!

Traffic is still washing to my website from articles on BoingBoing, the BBC and various forum threads where people are still discussing the topic. It’s gone from several thousand hits a day to a few hundred, which is more typical for my blog, but a surprising number of people are just discovering the news and coming here to my original post.

I’ve written a summary of events for my wiki page on the problem, so if anyone wants an explanation you can hand that over. It links to all three of my original posts on the topic, as well as to all the major articles (and a lot of the minor ones) that I know of.

I’d be surprised if this didn’t blow completely over within another month. But I am tempted now to prioritize the Spots sequel since, as one new reviewer said after reading “Letters,” the epilogue to the novel, “Need more plz.”

If there are three sweeter words for an author to hear, I can’t think of them right now. :)

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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I’ll be glad to get back to the normal daily post! For now, here’s the round-up:

In non-Spots news, there’s a new comic up today! If you missed the start of the “Opportunity Cost” storyline during the hullabaloo, it’s over here. Also, tomorrow we get another episode of Earthrise thanks to generous donations. You can catch up on the serial at the archive.

In space marine news, reviews from people who bought Spots because of the controversy are starting to go up. They’re positive! I’m also beginning to notice people picking up the epilogue short story (Spots the Space Marine: Letters), which suggests that people are enjoying the book enough to keep reading. Finally, I got a tweet from someone in Mexico City who recognized the song Spots sings in the book. I can’t tell you how exciting that was. With one exception I’d never met anyone who’d heard the lullabies my mother and grandmother sang me until now.

According to Games Workshop, they have officially removed their Facebook page. (Thanks, @Lexicanumwiki!) Edit: Someone sent me a screencap, though! For those of you asking for it for your articles/posts, here’s a PDF version. Thank you, aethervx!

There has been a call for shorts for a space marine anthology here.

I found two more web comics that did a space marine strip. They’re listed on my collection of links. I also recommend the memes that are linked in the comments, some of them are very funny.

Things seem to be calming down, for which I’m grateful. I have so much backlogged mail to take care of that my brain is blanking on an appropriate metaphor. If you see any more references to the controversy, though, please pass them along (or add them to the wiki if you prefer!).

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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These are the posts I became aware of yesterday (or early today):

Wired
BBC Follow-up
GalleyCat (which reports that Spots hit the top 10 bestsellers on Smashwords).

Also, today the issue showed up in the web comic Weregeek.

The Games Workshop Facebook post now appears to be missing. Does anyone have a screencap?

Finally, I see that my epilogue to Spots, “Spots the Space Marine: Letters,” has reappeared on Amazon as well. (It never left Smashwords, which carries the remaining e-book formats.)

That’s all I’ve seen! If you find anything else, please pass it along. I’m still updating the master list.

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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Update! Spots the Space Marine has been reinstated! Read about it here and on the EFF.

In mid-December, Games Workshop told Amazon that I’d infringed on the trademark they’ve claimed for the term “space marine” by titling my original fiction novel Spots the Space Marine. In response, Amazon blocked the e-book from sale [original post and update]. Since then, I’ve been in discussion with Games Workshop, and following their responses, with several lawyers.

To engage a lawyer to defend me from this spurious claim would cost more money than I have, certainly more than the book has ever earned me. Rather than earning money for my family, I’d be taking money from them, when previously my writing income paid for my daughter’s schooling. And I’d have to use the little time I have to write novels to fight a protracted legal battle instead.

In their last email to me, Games Workshop stated that they believe that their recent entrée into the e-book market gives them the common law trademark for the term “space marine” in all formats. If they choose to proceed on that belief, science fiction will lose a term that’s been a part of its canon since its inception. Space marines were around long before Games Workshop. But if GW has their way, in the future, no one will be able to use the term “space marine” without it referring to the space marines of the Warhammer 40K universe.

I used to own a registered trademark. I understand the legal obligations of trademark holders to protect their IP. A Games Workshop trademark of the term “Adeptus Astartes” is completely understandable. But they’ve chosen instead to co-opt the legacy of science fiction writers who laid the groundwork for their success. Even more than I want to save Spots the Space Marine, I want someone to save all space marines for the genre I grew up reading. I want there to be a world where Heinlein and E.E. Smith’s space marines can live alongside mine and everyone else’s, and no one has the hubris to think that they can own a fundamental genre trope and deny it to everyone else.

At this point I’m not sure what course to take. I interviewed five lawyers and all of them were willing to take the case, but barring the arrival of a lawyer willing to work pro bono, the costs of beginning legal action start at $2000 and climb into the five-figure realm when it becomes a formal lawsuit. Many of you don’t know me, so you don’t know that I write a business column/web comic for artists; wearing my business hat, it’s hard to countenance putting so much time and energy into saving a novel that hasn’t earned enough to justify it. But this isn’t just about Spots. It’s about science fiction’s loss of one of its foundational tropes.

I have very little free time and very little money. But if enough people show up to this fight, I’ll give what I can to serve that trust. And if the response doesn’t equal the level of support I would need, then I still thank you for your help and your well wishes. For now, step one is to talk about this. Pass it on to your favorite news source. Tell your favorite authors or writers’ organizations. To move forward, we need interest. Let’s generate some interest.

I am available for questions for anyone who has them; you can reach me at haikujaguar at gmail. Thanks, everyone.

***

Finally, several of you have asked about the Spots the Space Marine charity. I have always donated a portion of my profits from the sale of the book (in all editions, serial, e-book and print) to The Wounded Warrior Project, a charity recommended to me by the servicemen and servicewomen who also helped me with my many questions while writing. I’m not sure when Spots the Space Marine will be available again, but until I figure it out, I commend this charity to you. There would be no space marines without the real thing.

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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In mid-December, Games Workshop made a complaint to Amazon that I had infringed on their trademark of the words “space marine” with my novel Spots the Space Marine (a near-future military science fiction novel about real marines). Their US trademark covers only gaming materials, not novels; the word “space marine” has been in use in science fiction since it was coined in the 1930s, by authors like Heinlein and E.E. Smith, among others. However, based on that complaint, Amazon blocked sales of my e-book.

After some delay due to the holidays, I’ve had a phone conversation with Games Workshop about their issues with my novel. My takeaway from that conversation, then:

Games Workshop has trademarks in the US, UK and Europe. The US and UK trademarks cover only games and miniatures, as I mentioned previously. The European trademark, however, includes Class 16, which reads:

Paper, cardboard and goods made from these materials, not included in other classes; printed matter; bookbinding material; photographs; stationery; adhesives for stationery or household purposes; artists’ materials; paint brushes; typewriters and office requisites (except furniture); instructional and teaching material (except apparatus); plastic materials for packaging (not included in other classes); playing cards; printers’ type; printing blocks

Games Workshop brought their complaint to Amazon Kindle Publishing UK based on this class in the European trademark, which caused Amazon Kindle Publishing (in the US) to block my e-book in all the countries it was being sold. The paperback was not affected at the time of the complaint and has never been blocked from sale.

Salient points (even granting that the many prior usages of “space marine” in science fiction can be ignored):

1. Trademark rights are limited to the territory of the government that grants them. A European trademark cannot be enforced in the US. GW can make claims in the US based on their US trademark, but their US trademark does not include Class 16, the class upon which they told me they were making their claim.

2. My e-book is not “printed matter.” There is a trademark class recommended for covering e-books and other forms of entertainment like radio and television. Games Workshop’s trademarks in the US, UK and Europe do not include this class.

3. The paperback version of Spots isn’t being sold in Europe; I would have to toggle a specific distribution channel to approve Createspace’s distribution to Europe and that toggle is currently off.

At this point, the e-book remains blocked from sale in all countries. Spots was my homage to Heinlein and the greats of science fiction. I contributed some of the profit to charities benefiting wounded soldiers (notably the Wounded Warrior Project). The e-book edition of Spots is where most of the money comes from, and where most of my readers first encounter the story. I don’t appreciate having to defend my use of “space marine” to describe a cookie-baking mom no one could mistake for something out of Warhammer 40K.

I’ve had some positive discussions with lawyers on my next steps, and am now researching lawyers with specialties in international trademark law. If you know of any such people (or are one), I’d like to hear from you! Several of you have asked if you can contribute to a Spots legal defense fund; I hope not to need one, but I’ll keep you updated.

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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  • Rosary is 57% funded with 6 days to go! There’s still time to pledge/send people to the project.
  • Black Blossom is $10 from a Friday chapter!
  • Sunday Zazzle gave me a “Today’s Best” award for the Just Because (I Love You) Greeting Card that Starshadow made. That was pretty cool. Related: if you’d like to keep track of new stuff on Zazzle, there’s a RSS feed for my store. As you can see, I put up the Poppy picture yesterday.
  • The Spots project is in final approach; I’ve got a proof copy of the book on its way to me, and the patches are approved and should be mailed to me in a week.
  • I don’t seem to have put up a post for “Maker of Sun and Sky” so I will try to remember to do that later.
  • Finally, I am thinking that once I’m done with Black Blossom, I might be done with serials for a while. I’d like to have some writing time “offline” to build up my catalog.

That’s it for now, then. More later, if I have a chance!

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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I think I’m getting pretty good at this! *flex*

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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…though the Top Gear people would probably be mocking my horsepower, which is sadly pathetic.

Anyway! The Rosary kickstarter is 24% funded! I have high hopes we will hit that magic 30% that portends us getting full funding! The project doesn’t end until first week of April, though, so we have time. Please, tell your friends! :)

I am finally getting some of the Spots goodies out the door, though I’m still waiting on some of the backers to get back to me with their information so I can finish up the book.

I am still really woozy in a way I find deeply irritating: just lucid enough to want to do things, but when I try I find my concentration is shot and it’s hard to type/keep from falling asleep at my desk. My immune system and I need to have a heart-to-heart here, especially since I went through the trouble of getting it some back-up.

Anyway. I’m going to try to stay focused enough to be ready for work on Monday. No guarantees though, apparently. Bleh.

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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Okay, so I am even more exhausted today than I was yesterday… but lucid, at least. Which probably means I will spend too much money in the kindle store to find some way of keeping my restless brain from wanting to get up and Do All The Things. Gah, being sick is annoying.

So, some brief updates:

• Before I keeled over, I launched the Rosary Kickstarter and now I’m afraid to look at it for fear the neglect has left it lame out of the gate. I don’t even know if it has one backer, and I’m scared to look. Someone help me. -_-

Um, at least look at the video? I worked hard on the video and I’m nervous about it. -_-

• Providing I don’t fall over, I will finish putting together the recipes for the Spots patrons. That’s probably as much work as I can handle. I think.

• We almost got enough to get our extra Black Blossom post this week, but not quite. Which turns out to be fine, since I… am completely not up to putting one up. So I will roll the money over to next week, and a single donation will probably put us over the top there.

• While I was down, it looks like Tabard and Liana Mir were still hopping around on the wiki, for which I am deeply grateful.

• Finally, I am not done wading through email. So again, thank you for your patience on that. When I have the stamina to sit up for longer than ten minutes, I will be in there like a jaguar with a backhoe. Which is what I’m going to need to get through it. -_-

And now, to rest a little more. Can you believe I shed five pounds in three days? This is not the weight-loss plan I would have signed up for. :P

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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It is now thirteen hours ’til the end of the Spots kickstarter, which is sitting at $3391, with 105 backers. Worn out jaguars must rest, however. By the time I wake, we’ll be just about up to the finish line, and I wonder what will happen while I’m sleeping. Maybe nothing! Maybe something!

Whatever happens, this has been a most amazing experience.

I suppose I should also say… if you wanted to jump on the bandwagon, you’re just about running out of time. But don’t worry… if you miss out on this one, there will be others. I’ve even put up a tentative schedule for the year so you can check out what’s coming up next.

So. I sleep, while magic continues to happen. Here’s to the awesome. :)

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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In bullets, because it’s been that kind of week:

• Our Black Blossom Friday extra will be an extra chapter if I see $15 worth of donations. You can use the donation button here or set up a subscription to help subsidize the extra weekly episodes.

• The Spots kickstarter has 5 days to go! And is $324 short of the patch incentive. We’ve managed to get the layout to fit in one (nice looking!) volume, too, so no hitches in that project.

• I am planning another Friday night livestream! I don’t know what to do though. More card readings? More calligraphy? (I could do multiple alien languages now that they’re all up on the wiki… Jokku, anyone? Chatcaavan?).

• I have been making random Zazzle stuff when the mood strikes. My latest have been two mugs: a PVP-themed “Good Job, We Own the Roads” gamer mug and a dark elf espresso cup. There should be new Zazzle prints going up soon, too.

Also, omg. o_O Zazzle is having a one day Leap Year sale on mugs, cases, posters and bags. “The “Every 4 Years” Sale! 29%, use Code: 29EVERY4YEAR”. Talk about random serendipity…

Anyway, that’s it! For now! More later! Hopefully I’ll have time for daily posts again soon. o_O

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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In the “choices I wasn’t expecting to have to make” department, Spots is well over 600 pages when laid out as a proper book. With some extreme prejudicial layout tricks it can be gotten to just under 600, but it’s not going to get much smaller than that.

So my choices now are:

1. Issue it as a single 6″x9″ paperback that costs $20ish, which will prop it up over the “will pay negative royalty numbers if someone orders it from B&N” level. Barely. Or…

2. Issue it as two volumes, which will cost $15 each. Which will at least solve the royalty problem (seriously, I was looking at negative numbers), but cost readers an extra $10-15 each (plus postage) and create new issues like “where do I split up the book” and “now I need to find cover art for book 2″ and “now book 1 has all the graphic novel pages and book 2 has none.”

I don’t know. So it’s time to ask the readers! What would seem more reasonable to you?

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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No Daily Post today, too much to do in too little time! Instead you get the updates, in bullets:

The Spots Kickstarter is at $2075, with 11 days to go. I am totally okay with this, because…

• …I am already planning the next Kickstarter, which will be for the Rosary paperback. Currently brainstorming rewards for that (e-book, paper book autographed, and… what? Blended essential oils? Incense?)

• I am in the process of taking down every website that isn’t the wordpress blog and repointing everything there. I’ll be doing something similar with my email addresses. More on that as it happens.

• Tomorrow I have my talk at the University of South Florida. I will get my art advisor to take pictures!

• Calligraphy is going out tomorrow! I’ll be trying to fix the problem with the downloads tomorrow also. You can still buy yours if you want the physical copy. :)

Calligraphy Bookmarks

The woman at Kinkos had a look at them and said, “Wow, those are pretty. Is that Hebrew?”

“No,” said I. “It’s something I made up.”

“I looks like a language!” she said.

“It is!”

(Every once in a while I realize how weird the things I do are.)

Anyway, more news as it happens!

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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…which means I’ve put “outline Spots epilogue” on my to-do list for next week. We’ve got two weeks to go on the Kickstarter project, and while backers have trickled off substantially, the new ones I’m getting are coming from the Kickstarter site: yay, new people!

I’m not sure if we’ll make that $2500 goal to hit the patch incentive, but I’m hoping. Actually, even if we don’t hit it, I am tempted to get the patches done and sell them. We shall see!

Folks, watching this thing is kind of like watching a thriller. Same edge-of-the-seat anticipation…! It’s certainly an interesting experience. I will have to try it again with several other projects. :)

Edit: Now it's $46 to the goal! 8o

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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