Gaymer Sub-Reddit Faces Legal Threat

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Gaymer Sub-Reddit Faces Legal Threat

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The owner of Gaymer.org has issued a cease-and-desist letter to the Gaymer sub-reddit.

The Gaymer sub-reddit, as you may have already guessed, is an online community, nearly 17,000 strong, dedicated to gay gamers. It describes itself as "an inclusive community for LGBT and straight alliance redditors. We host frequent voice and/or video chat nights, regularly play multi-player games together, talk about how totally rugged David Hayter is, how sexy Samus is in her zero suit, talk about how we love big Wii sessions, and playing with an Xbox all night long."

But the community has come under threat from the owner of the Gaymer.org website, Chris Vizzini, who claims to hold a trademark on the term "gaymer" that dates back to 2007. Vizzini said he sent the cease-and-desist letter after a request that the sub-reddit change its name went ignored.

"If you don't defend your trademark, you can lose it. Tim and I spent nearly the last ten years and countless thousands on this site. I love it. And I'm not going to risk losing it," he said in a chatroom conversation. "This is not a money maker for me, believe me. But the Gaymer name is something I worked hard on, way before reddit was even an idea."

Members of the Gaymers sub-reddit, however, note the use of the "gaymer" term dates at least as far back as 2003, preceding Vizzini's claim by nearly a half-decade, and insist that it is a "general term... descriptive of gay gamers." Similar sentiments were expressed by the organizers of GaymerCon, which said in a statement today that although it understands Vizzini's desire to protect his trademark, "it is unfair to have that term coined and locked down to one community."

"We understand the legal challenges potentially at issue, but we feel that 'gaymer' is a widely used, generic term and that what affects our brothers, sisters, and allies at Reddit affects us as well," they said. "Although Mr. Vizzini's trademark does not cover public conventions like ours, we understand the issues r/Gaymers and Toronto Gaymers are now facing, and support the need to keep the term gaymers synonymous with gay geeks and available for use by all."

GaymerCon organizers went on to declare confidence that the matter can be resolved "in a way that benefits the entire community," but also warned that if the Gaymers sub-reddit is forced to change its name, the legal repercussions could affect "all communities of gaymers everywhere." And while discussion of the situation, including a plan to rename the sub-reddit if necessary, is ongoing, someone appears to be taking a more retributive approach to the threat: at last check, gaymer.org had been knocked offline.

Sources: Reddit, GaymerCon, Gaygamer.net

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Look guys we know how much you love sticking it to each other, but this is just childish.
What a queer turn of events.

FIGHT THE POWER!

Wow i've heard the joke about gay divorce but who saw gay trademark trolling coming.

Wow, that seems pretty straight.

C'mon guys, even straight men talk about how rugged David Hayter is.
so fucking rugged

"We understand the legal challenges potentially at issue, but we feel that 'gaymer' is a widely used, generic term and that what affects our brothers, sisters, and allies at Reddit affects us as well," ORLY this is my first time hearing the Gaymer word, and I'm a gamer, and spend a lot of time on the interwebs.....however a patent is a patent, just ask apple lol

Patent disputes, the Benjamin Button of the legal world. Only getting more childish with age.

He worked hard on the Gaymer name? It's not exactly an earth-shattering stroke of linguistic genius to replace one syllable of a word with a separate word that happens to be phonetically identical. It's like pizza.com: Completely obvious, and the only thing remarkable about having it is that you got it before anyone else did. And even that claim, as the article points out, is rather dubious too.

If it's not a money-maker for you, then just relax; there's no need to panic over the possibility that you might lose a trademark on a term that's already used in many places already, especially if it's not a source of revenue. All you've done is advertise to everyone that you're a jerk.

We went through this crap before. It was called EDGE! The result? He lost. For a guy who promotes homosexuals playing games he certainly isn't knowledgeable about video game industry history.

Sounds EDGE-y.

... that's all I got.

The way I see it is this, the term is not one that is commonly used in conversation or as a common tag, despite what people might want to claim. The guy who decided to copyright it for a specific use actgually has the right, this means that if someone else uses the same name for a similar product or service, they are in the wrong.

It's sort of like how "Star Wars" is a generic term, and the idea of a war among the stars has been around LONG before George Lucas came along (he didn't invent space fantasy). Yet he's copyrighted it, and along with it comes a specific association that Star Wars as a term equals his creation. Something he has defended for a very long time.

I know a LOT of people don't like copyrights, patents, etc... but I believe in them, and I have to say that unlike the word "Edge" (a referance to Tim Langdell [SP] ) launch his service before the Reddit as I understand things. I can see how he doesn't want confusion between that service and his, especially when he can't control it, and especially if he has been trying to build a reputation behind that name.

To be honest I'd be a bit more sympathetic to the reddit if this guy was cybersquatting like "Edge Games" or other infamous copyright trolls. I have little sympathy for guys who buy out and copyright names they think someone might want, so they can wait and launch a lawsuit after the fact... or worse yet buy the domain name of a famous person and then try and blackmail them for the right to use their own name for a site online. That isn't what this appears to be though since the guy has apparently been running a service for 5 years (since 2007).

Andy Chalk:
But the community has come under threat from the owner of the Gaymer.org website, Chris Vizzini, who claims to hold a trademark on the term "gaymer" that dates back to 2007.

Inconceivable!

As has been said, this sound alarmingly like the sort of stunt Tim Langdell of Edge Games infamy would pull. Protecting your trademark is one thing, but it doesn't really seem right that you can own the rights to a word.

This isn't the first time this guy has butted heads over the term gaymer. GayGamers.net was initially called GaymerForums or something of the like until he brought down the clown hammer that is trademark law.

I wonder if the gaymers have sexism threads?

Who cares, come up with another pun for your sexual preference based interest board that I still don't understand why exists( is r/gameing really homophobic or something)?

This feels like Edge 2.0. However, part of me hopes this will go as explosive as possible. I really do believe that Gaymercon is hilariously counter-productive (go go in-group out-group!), and I really do believe the Gaymer trademark situation is just the guy head of Gaymer.org wanting to feel like the flagship crusader of LGBT gamers equal rights (a fight that is pointless beyond belief).

Can I just say this?

"Gaymer" Is an incredibly lame ass pun and I would be embarrassed to be known as one. I mean isn't the whole point of all this tolerance/no-stereotype crap and what not supposed to be that your sexual orientation isn't your sole defining feature? So then why do you have to go to such lengths to make sure everyone knows your a gay gamer? The fact that you're gay shouldn't really matter, right?

Devoneaux:
Can I just say this?

"Gaymer" Is an incredibly lame ass pun and I would be embarrassed to be known as one. I mean isn't the whole point of all this tolerance/no-stereotype crap and what not supposed to be that your sexual orientation isn't your sole defining feature? So then why do you have to go to such lengths to make sure everyone knows your a gay gamer? The fact that you're gay shouldn't really matter, right?

The following post was written in response to a "gaymer" convention but it applies just as much here.

"I want to belong... by being sorted out !!!"

Yup, that's a common wish, not only shared by the LGBT community, but by pretty much everyone.
You can't approach the question of the "Why this convention ? What's the point ?" objectively, because there's no tangible objective argument justifying it, no matter how much some feisty people on this thread will try to convince otherwise.

It's all "justified" by subjectivity, a big mix of frustration of being insulted on online games for a sexual orientation (I'm guessing, based on some arguments I'm reading; and there's probably some other stuff I'd never understand personally, which is fine).
It's not a logical move, so trying to understand it like that will hurt your brain.

But it being illogical doesn't make it nonsense : Of course there's an issue, (just look a at multiplayer Call of duty game on Youtube and you'll get the picture). Is this the best way to deal with the problem though ?

As for my own opinion on the conference, I think it's dumb, because it could be integrated as a panel in already existing well-known conventions, thus informing and sensitising more people (and probably the CONCERNED people) to the issue (as it is, it's preaching to the choir).

The "fear of bigots crashing your presentation" argument is just an excuse, I'm sure the Comic con (for example) security is qualified to deal with those idiots.
And don't quote me on that, but I'm also inclined to think those panels wouldn't be rejected by conference administrative staff: rejecting a panel of this nature is bad publicity, green lighting it make them look progressive.

"Yes, but it is a tight-knit community with individual that would enjoy meeting people going through the same troubles and sharing the same passion simultaneously."

Well, yeah, that's exactly my point : The main motivation, is to provide a shiny, "my very own thing" kinda feeling, to that community. If you wanna feel like you belong and have fun, that's a good place for you (gaming cons in general are, too), but don't tell me you're trying to tackle the issue with this.

As I said, I think it's dumb, but, if I turn my brain off for a second, I also think it's okay too. Because even though it's not serving the "cause" as well as it could be, according to me, it provides a feeling of satisfaction and belonging to a community that may be craving for it.

-'the Gaymer name is something I worked hard on'-

Really? I thought I came up with that one late one night drunk as hell...

...

Seriously tho, we aren't allowed to call out people of the gay community on anything without being labeled as homophobic or whatever, so I'll just sit back and watch this one play out.

Gun to my head? Reddit (and any other blog) user-groups can all burn for all I care.

Copyright wins?

Hey y'all, I have a copyright on the word fun. You're no longer allowed to use it anymore.

Anyone who tries to have "fun" without my permission is going to get sued.

Eri:
snip

NuclearShadow:
snippy

Now see, this is all well and good...But why "Gaymer"? That's just dumb...Like really really dumb. =/

This sounds kinda gay to me.

T-Tim...Tim Langdell...he's back...

This is all I'm going to post. It's sooo appropriate.

What a great name.

Thats odd. If the term "gaymer" is as old as 2003 then why have i never heard of it?

I mean, for something that is obviously a Daily Mirror-level pun i would expect it to be thrown out alot more by dickbags of a certain kind whom make untoward decisions about others then make thier views loudly known until everyone else accepts that it is the case.

Or, for the short version, if "gaymer" is a well-known term then why the hell did my school bullies not use it at all?

Chris Vizzini is really being a dick about this situation, and he really is sticking it to reddit, huh? I wonder if the gaymers on reddit are just going to take it.

....haha

gigastar:

Or, for the short version, if "gaymer" is a well-known term then why the hell did my school bullies not use it at all?

I was thinking the exact same thing. I AM a gay gamer, and I have never heard this term before X3. And my schools bullies used EVERYTHING else, so it seems strange to me that they would miss this one...

Maybe I'm just from the wrong country?

Does sound like the case has much merit, to me.

As mentioned in the OP, the convention is not covered by the trademark, and I suspect that the "Likelihood of Confusion" between a website and a reddit subforum is very low especially considering the likely tech knowledge of gamer reddit users.

Theres a very strong argument imo that the typical reddit user will not be confused and think that the reddit subforum is somehow an official product or representation of gaymer.org, and that can definitely be grounds for defence.

Eri:
snip

Because heterosexuality is the norm, LGBT folks often don't just have one moment of "coming out"; they have to do it every time they make new friends or enter a new community. At times coming out can be very difficult, because you don't know what the reaction will be. Sure, there may not be any open homophobia at SDCC or PAX, but some attendees could still be incredibly uncomfortable around a gay man, for instance.

Gaymercon is billed as a place where everyone will be implicitly and explicitly accepted. Yeah, I want to attend PAX (and would have this year if not for finances), but I also want to attend Gaymercon, because it sounds fun. For some LGBT folks, this might literally be the only place they're comfortable enough to not hide their true self.

I'm surprised the article didn't mention the escapist's own "Escapist Gaymers" usergroup. It at least used to be big enough that it showed up on the first page of usergroups.

In fact, it still does, although its been pushed down to the last spot on the first page.

link.

Looks like it was founded in 2009, unfortunately, so it can't be used as proof that the guy making the trademark claim is full of crap.

Sidenote: I am neither gay nor a member of the usergroup I just plugged. I just spend way too much time on The Escapist, and am also annoyed by IP law in general.

Relax buddy, let them use it. If its a community that brings like minded and tolerant people together, where's the harm? Aren't there bigger things to worry about?

Sober Thal:
Seriously tho, we aren't allowed to call out people of the gay community on anything without being labeled as homophobic or whatever, so I'll just sit back and watch this one play out.

You cut this shit out right the fuck now.

No, really. You heard me. When you drop into a discussion to say that making any comment that disagrees with something a gay person has said will be met with cries of "Homophobia," you are accusing all gay people of being unreasonable. You are implying that the experiences of those in the LGBT community are less valid, and that they are wrong to ever feel offended. And yes, that is homophobic.

There are some people who can't handle criticism, and they might play the gay card in order to avoid having their ideas examined. This is wrong and unfair. However, you don't get to assume a priori that all gay people will have this sort of response.

Devoneaux:
Can I just say this?

"Gaymer" Is an incredibly lame ass pun and I would be embarrassed to be known as one. I mean isn't the whole point of all this tolerance/no-stereotype crap and what not supposed to be that your sexual orientation isn't your sole defining feature? So then why do you have to go to such lengths to make sure everyone knows your a gay gamer? The fact that you're gay shouldn't really matter, right?

No, it shouldn't.

I don't even know where to begin with this, so I'm just going to say this, along with parades and the like are not helping your/our cause. At all.
In fact it's just reaffirming that we are fundamentally different from 'normal people'.

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