Last week we had a story of Amazon pulling
a book because of a dispute over the term "space marine," which Games Workshop insisted they have full control over due to their trademark (a massive exaggeration of what protections the trademark provides). The latest may be even worse. As a number of folks are reporting, Amazon has pulled a self-published memoir by Gib Van Ert
entitled A Long Time Ago: Growing Up With and Out of Star Wars
The book has received some great reviews
from places like Wired, but apparently someone at Amazon thought the title is trademark infringement. The email from Amazon seems particularly silly
Thank you for the information you provided regarding the following book(s):
A Long Time Ago: Growing Up With And Out Of Star Wars (2353856)
Your book(s) contains references to the trademarked term, “Star Wars (Trademarked Term)”. We have reviewed the information you provided and have determined that we will not be making the book(s) available for sale in the Kindle store at this time. While we cannot advise you on trademark laws, we encourage you to conduct your own research by possibly going to your local library or using other online resources that may be available to you.
This seems silly. The use is clearly descriptive, and the memoir discusses the impact of the movie on the guy's life. No "moron in a hurry" is going to assume that it is endorsed by Lucasfilm or anything like that. The likelihood of confusion here is nil. But in our risk averse age, where too many people incorrectly think that trademark gives you 100% control over a phrase, we see more and more unfortunate stories like this. Hopefully, Amazon quickly reconsiders... and the publicity from this silly bout of blocking leads to more sales.