Late yesterday night, r/gaymers, the gay gaming community on Reddit with over 16,500 subscribers, received news that their beloved community may be shut down. The r/gaymers moderators were informed that Reddit had received a cease and desist from the owner of Gaymer.org, Chris Vizzini.
Here is the quote of the announcement that was submitted by one of the moderators of the subreddit, MrGhost
Ladies and gentlemen, this is incredibly important, and quite frankly too important for a TLDR, so please read.
Someone wants to take gaymers from us. A cease and desist letter has been sent to Reddit. It would seem that the owner of gaymer.org is an incredible douchenozzle and has decided that we somehow are infringing upon his right to run a very subpar blog. Though Gaymercon seems to be A-OK. It seems pretty fucked up that they seem to be ok using the same GAYMER name, even though we aren’t making money. See what it is, is that this motherfucker from gaymer.org is sending reddit a cease and desist letter that we are using a name that he had trademarked in 2007 though whoever gave him that trademark is clearly not the brightest lightbulb in the box. It is a general term, not really sure how we fucking come into play.
Now here is this dude’s trademark:
IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Computer services, namely, creating an online community for registered users to participate in competitions, showcase their skills, get feedback from their peers, form virtual communities, engage in social networking and improve their talent; Computer services, namely, hosting and maintaining an online website for others to discuss, receive and disseminate information concerning video games; Computer services, namely, hosting on-line web facilities for others for organizing and conducting online meetings, gatherings, and interactive discussions. FIRST USE: 20030526. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20030526
Now clearly this is fucking ridiculous in terms of his claim against Gaymers, and is demonstrated so.
Reddit doesn’t require registered users, you can be anonymous.
We do not showcase skills or participate in competitions.
It is engaging in social networking, but not to improve talent. The first part of the registration clearly shows that this is a site for gay gamers to focus on games. This subreddit is about the subculture of gaming within the context of being gay. The goals are different.
Lastly, the trademark office does not allow you to register what is called Descriptive Trademarks. That means, for instance, you can’t register Grocery Store for a grocery store.
It would be easy for us to argue that gaymers is just descriptive of Gay Gamers and is just descriptive mark and not some sort of corporate logo or trademark. Now if anyone has any question in regards to this claim: I am sure that the gentleman sending the cease and desist, who is bringing these claims against us would be happy to answer the questions of you 16,000 gaymers.
I am sad, sure, I will be honest, I’m not the happiest guy around. However, you dudes have become happy. People I know have improved their lives, RedditHolmes has gotten married to a gaymer for fucks sake, people have gotten jobs, even some of you have confided in me the want to commit suicide, unless I or someone else convinced you otherwise. Guys, Ladies, and everyone else, this is bullshit, IT IS NONSENSE, quite frankly FUCK THIS ENTIRE LEGAL ENDEAVOR. Reddit will not help us, neither will anyone else. The estimate I got for defending us legally would be above 50k dollars, and honestly since I was begging for food and money trying to pay for gaymers mumble, I don’t think that we are gonna be able to get the money needed.
Understandably, this upset a lot of people who were members of the community. After receiving a lot of backlash, Chris Vizzini posted this response on Reddit:
Hello fellow gay gamers. I wanted to address the cease and desist letter that was sent to reddit.
First and foremost, I never asked for the sub-reddit gaymer to be removed. I emailed reddit twice asking that they simply rename the community to something else. They did not respond.
As a trademark and word mark holder, it’s my responsibility to defend the marks, otherwise I could lose them.
I started Gaymer.org in 2003 and began to build Gaymer as a brand. Thats why I trademarked and word marked the name. At that time, there was only one other site around dedicated to gay gamers. I have spent countless hours and thousands of dollars on Gaymer.org. I have done so gladly as it’s brought happiness to many people.
I have received many nasty emails and comments on my site, not to mention what’s been said on the reddit site.
I cannot stress this enough. I have no problem with other gay gaming sites. I think it’s great others exist. The only problem I have is when the Gaymer name is used. That infringes on the word mark. A perfect example of this is gaygamer.net. Its a great website for gay gamers but does not use “gaymer” in its name therefore I have no problem.
It’s only when “gaymer” is used in the site name that causes confusion to the public. That is what word marking is all about.
I have absolutely no ill will towards the reddit community. I have been in contact with a very nice woman at reddit who is working with me on this.
I would never try to take something away from people that they hold so dearly. But I also can’t have the Gaymer name used in your community.
One thing that has been asked is why GaymerCon was not contacted. They do not have an online community. That is a convention. My marks pertain to online communities. Should they ever add an online community, then I would have issue with that. I did remove the GaymerCon article. While I do still support them personally, I can’t give them support on behalf of gaymer.org. They made disparaging remarks about my site without knowing the details. I do wish them well on their venture.
For this to be resolved, its going to take respectful communication between the moderators at reddit, the reddit people themselves and myself.
I hope the barrage of insults directed at me and my site is not an indicator of how this communication to resolve will take place.
Looking forward to a peaceful resolution to this matter.
Chris Vizzini Gaymer.org
Finally, Reddit admin spladug had this to say:
Hey guys, just wanted to clear up some misconceptions here:
I informed the mod team of /r/gaymers that we’d received a cease and desist letter for infringement of the “gaymer” trademark and that our legal counsel had informed us that the letter presents a real threat that they would sue reddit. I let them know so that they could start planning how to respond (including seeing if there’s any way for them to work things out with the owner of the trademark).
In no way do we plan to ban the subreddits involved in this legal kerfuffle; at worst, we’ll have to rename the whole lot or figure out some other way to fix this. (Note that we haven’t really done big renames etc. before but this is a pretty unprecedented thing for us)
Moderator synspark followed up with their own plans for legal action:
Horrible title, I know, but i’m not in a place where i can post something at length right now…
I’m currently in preliminary contact with an attorney regarding a potential trademark case. I know others here have expressed interest in moving this forward, but let’s try to get all our ducks in a row here, and try to do this as a community effort. A legal team will be much more effective than a scattered group of people filing random petitions all over the place.
So, yeah.. I don’t have much of a point here other than to update y’all on what’s happening on my end. If you’ve started something up, let’s put all the lawyers in contact with one another, and then with reddit.
PLEASE NOTE: this is not a definite thing as of right now. there is ONLY talking going on, and weighing of options. Also, the goal of any legal action would be for the sole purpose of liberating the term “gaymer” for use by the community at large.
thanks guys and gals, have a good day
What exactly is going to happen isn’t clear but for now, the community is still up. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out especially because a lot of us feel strongly towards self identifying as gaymers. Not only that but this sets a dangerous precedence for future lawsuits against other subreddits and online communities.