EFF Joins Reddit in "Gaymer" Trademark Battle

EFF Joins Reddit in "Gaymer" Trademark Battle

image

The Gaymers sub-reddit and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are seeking to have Chris Vizzini's "gaymer" trademark canceled.

The /r/gaymers sub-reddit came under fire last fall from Chris Vizzini, owner of the Gaymer.org website and, as it turned out, holder of a trademark on the term "gaymer." Vizzini claimed that he wasn't trying to make money on the mark but said, "The Gaymer name is something I worked hard on, way before Reddit was even an idea." A cease-and-desist letter was sent but members of the sub-reddit, noting that the term had been in use long before Vizzini's 2007 copyright, have decided to fight it. And they're not messing around.

"Many people have pointed out that 'gaymer' was in common use well before it was registered with the Trademark Office; from Yahoo Groups, to USENET forum posts, to academic studies on our little community -- heck, my own Match.com profile is gaymer77. Claiming ownership of the word gaymer is like claiming to own 'soccer mom,' 'baby boomer,' or 'computer geek'," Gaymer sub-reddit mod "Ozuri" wrote in a message posted yesterday. "And so, on behalf of the reddit gaymer community, we have engaged the law firm of Perkins Coie to pursue this matter on our behalf and they are representing us pro bono. Yesterday afternoon we filed a petition with the Trademark Office to cancel the 'Gaymer' trademark registration."

The petition claims that the term "gaymer" is "a generic term for members of the LGBT community who have an interested in videogames and the online videogame community," and that "petitioner and numerous third parties have used the term gaymer as a descriptive or generic term since before Registrant used or sought registration for the term." Vizzini, on the other hand, has not "acquired distinctiveness" in his use of the term, it says.

"Continued registration of the term gaymer for Registrant's Services is a source of injury to both Petitioner and to numerous third parties who currently use, and are entitled to continue to use, the term gaymer, as it confers upon Registrant the presumptions that gaymer is distinctive for Registrant's Services and that Registrant enjoys the exclusive right to use the term gaymer in association with such services," the petition states.

The EFF has also joined the effort and will serve as co-counsel in the matter. "This registration should never have been granted," said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. "Gaymer is a common term that refers to members of this vibrant gaming community, and we are happy to help them fight back and make sure the term goes back to the public domain where it belongs."

The full petition to cancel the "Gaymer" trademark is available at eff.org.

Sources: Reddit, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Permalink

Honestly I hate the term and as a gay gamer myself, wish to god everyone would stop using it. But yeah, he didn't create the word, and it was already in use to describe a community, it would be like if someone tried to trade mark the term "emo" and went around sending cease and desists to every "emo" group in existence.

Yeah, it's about as silly as trying to trademark the name Bob. No-one would ever do anything like that...

I'd actually like to see the word "gay" generally stripped of it's modern-day meaning and be returned to it's olden day meaning of 'to be happy'. Homosexual was usable for a time, but not until is slung up the slurs of "homo" in a horrific way. I really cannot see any way to make a good term other than to not use one at all. I mean, really a person's sexual preference isn't the business of anyone else other than themselves and their partner. That's it. Same goes for their lifestyle. Social decay is to blame for the judgmental way that people treat each other, and it's quite shameful.

Andy Chalk:

"The Gaymer name is something I worked hard on, way before Reddit was even an idea."

Come on guy, you(Vizzini) missed a golden opportunity for a penis joke there. Though I suppose if he had, there would have been a small shitstorm rising from the dust.

I'd hate to say it, but NO, "gaymer" is NOT a generic term for a person who has a hobby in video games and who is also homosexual or transgender.

This is NOT the same as the EDGE trademark case at all. Not by a mile. You know what you call a person who has an interest in video games? You call them just like any other person who has a hobby, a hobbyist.

The only reason these kinds of dramatic bullshit happens is because people want to feel more special by segregating themselves from a community to which is pretty pretty considering that most people who are adults now that grew up with video games as a hobby were picked on much like how people were picked on for being homosexual.

There is no logical reason short of profiteering that you would fight to have the word "gaymer" be used freely. I'm honestly really sick and tired of how illogical people are when it comes to their hobbies and how they want to segregate themselves despite how other people in the past put everything on the line to become accepted in the culture to BE SEEN AS ANYONE ELSE AS AN EQUAL.

I don't give a rats arse if you are homosexual and have video games as a hobby, I'm still going to treat you the same just like everyone else and care more about you as a person first and having someone rub in my face that you are giving yourself a stupid ass title like gaymer doesn't help either of us get along when you pursue someway to make yourself feel more special than I or anyone else. The hobby of video games short of an extreme lack of physical or mental acuity is one of the most equal activities one can participate in.

Can I start a counter-petition? If I can keep something out of the hands of the Reddit crowd I'll gladly do so.

But seriously though, how would you say you're a "gaymer" in casual conversation? If people know you're gay already they think you're just saying "gamer" in your native dialect or something if you try and stress the "y". Heck, the word "Gamer" practically sounds like "Gaymer" in certain accents and dialects. Plus I always felt that games were something that could unite people, don't separate us again by pigeon-holing us into various artificial (sub)categories.

So yes, I agree with Tenmar.

Tenmar:
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.

^from the first news thread.

Tenmar:

This is NOT the same as the EDGE trademark case at all. Not by a mile. You know what you call a person who has an interest in video games? You call them just like any other person who has a hobby, a hobbyist.

Soo... which is it?

OT: While Gaymer not a term I see commonly used, it's silly for someone to want to trademark that kind of term and prevent others from making a name with it. The EFF chose the right side.

I'm actually reasonably convinced that the Gaymer are going to be a new elf race in the Elder Scrolls. I mean, you've got your Altmer, Dunmer, Orsimer, Bosmer, Dwemer, Falmer, and now Gaymer. MAKES PERFECT SENSE.

Madmanonfire:

Tenmar:
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.

^from the first news thread.

Tenmar:

This is NOT the same as the EDGE trademark case at all. Not by a mile. You know what you call a person who has an interest in video games? You call them just like any other person who has a hobby, a hobbyist.

Soo... which is it?

OT: While Gaymer not a term I see commonly used, it's silly for someone to want to trademark that kind of term and prevent others from making a name with it. The EFF chose the right side.

Well while on the surface I would agree that it would be hypocritical. However do note the nuance between the two posts. There is what will most likely happen which is the former, which is that the term gaymer like edge will be open to use and no longer trademarked. Then you have the latter in which is more about the actual terminology or more importantly the common use of the word. Gaymer is not the same as Edge and trying to make a made up word compared to a common word to be used in conventions or for Edge the use of the word Edge in video games is quite different.

So yeah, I'm still being consistent. The former talks about the result. The latter talks about the word in relation to its use in our common language.

Good spot though. Keeping me honest.

Pedro The Hutt:
Can I start a counter-petition? If I can keep something out of the hands of the Reddit crowd I'll gladly do so.

But seriously though, how would you say you're a "gaymer" in casual conversation? If people know you're gay already they think you're just saying "gamer" in your native dialect or something if you try and stress the "y". Heck, the word "Gamer" practically sounds like "Gaymer" in certain accents and dialects. Plus I always felt that games were something that could unite people, don't separate us again by pigeon-holing us into various artificial (sub)categories.

So yes, I agree with Tenmar.

Well let's be honest, separating ourselves it something humans just do. Anyone who had video games as a hobby growing up and were picked on basically did just that. We separated ourselves from our peers in school for an identity we could grab and build a foundation of confidence. So it really shouldn't be a shock to see this. It's human after all. I did the same thing growing up except I didn't make some word like gamer to make myself feel special. I just built my confidence from my hobby.

But chances are the word gaymer will lose the trademark and I should be more honest about this. Either way, someone is going to profit from this. Vizzini is already profiting from the word selling t-shits and such. But should the word become open(and I think it probably will despite not being a common word like edge) there will be plenty of people ready to pounce on that word and use it for conventions, their own personal t-shits sales, and whatever else a person can think of. I'm not painting either side as good but simply pointing out that trademarks be damned someone is going to profit somehow.

"The Gaymer name is something I worked hard on, way before Reddit was even an idea." -Chris Vizzini

Bwahaha... I can just imagine. A lot of late nights... tons and tons of crumple up loose leaf paper... thousands of whittled-down #2 pencils. Empty bottles of Advil and cough medicine... leading to a lack of sleep. After 14 years of tireless delvings into foreign languages and Latin roots... he finally settled on "Gaymer" in 2007 and was immediately disappointed that Reddit had been using the term since 2005. Obviously they stole it from him before he even filed for the copyright.

I understand your pain, Chris. When a community beats you to a clever pun, there's nothing left to do but to sue the lot of them. At least that'll make you feel better about working so very very hard on a retarded name like "Gaymer".

...what a putz...

I'm sorry, but "gay-mer" sounds like a third grader insult used against those who play video games in general.

...the occasional long night when Chris turns to his spouse and says "I don't know if I can keep doing this to myself". His home life falls apart as he bases his loved-ones' futures on this one term. Debtors calls are starting to get too numerous to ignore, and he's just about to lose the house when inspiration strikes!

An uplifting swell of music has he races to CafePress.

A few small scenes of hope as the business of selling "Gaymer" as a brand is established... but then disaster srikes as the evil Reddit, and his band of misfits, ruins everything. This, now, is obviously the final climactic battle to overcome before Chris Vizzini can live happily ever after.

Gaymer is also a cider brand that has been trading for over 300 years

I don't really care for the word "gaymer" one way or the other. At first, a few years ago when I first heard the term, I liked it. Gave a better sense of belonging when, at the time, I had none. Now, I'm not sure what the point of it is. There is the allure of being able to identify yourself with two potentially important ideas meshed together, where identity can give you a lot of peace of mind, while on the other hand you have a word that isn't the greatest one to use.

In regards to the trademark, I think it's stupid and has little merit. Might as well trademark the word "gay" for what it's worth.

redknightalex:
I don't really care for the word "gaymer" one way or the other. At first, a few years ago when I first heard the term, I liked it. Gave a better sense of belonging when, at the time, I had none. Now, I'm not sure what the point of it is. There is the allure of being able to identify yourself with two potentially important ideas meshed together, where identity can give you a lot of peace of mind, while on the other hand you have a word that isn't the greatest one to use.

Even a small solace can be a critically important one. I'm bisexual, a gamer, and occasional visitor of /r/Gaymers. While I wouldn't identify myself as a "gaymer" it's a good name for the community and it acts as a nice haven of two larger communities - the "gay community", of which many gay guys don't consider themselves a member for varied reasons, and the gaming community, which can be utterly homophobic in language (frequently) and attitude (less often, but it does happen). Enforcing the trademark will lead to the dissolution of the existing subreddit and force the creation of a new one, disrupting and potentially splitting the community as well as breaking archived links and resources online. Life is fucking awful enough as a gay teenager or twentysomething if you're not in a good and supporting community, so why break up one just to mandate the existence of another with a different name? It's bloody obvious they're two different communities even at a glance, despite sharing the same name and subject matter.

This annoys me, people trying to be special unique snowflakes.

"I'm a gaymer" fuck off, you're a gamer! Who you are attracted to has no effect on gaming. It's like me trying to come up with a shitty play on words cos I have a tattoo or like to wear black and I play games.

If you're trying to be viewed as equal don't try to make a separation from others. Like the whole girl gamer thing, so what if you're female and enjoy gaming? You shouldn't get special attention for that.

I'm not saying either group shouldn't be catered for but they shouldn't try to separate themselves like they're something special.

Madmanonfire:

Tenmar:
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.

^from the first news thread.

Tenmar:

This is NOT the same as the EDGE trademark case at all. Not by a mile. You know what you call a person who has an interest in video games? You call them just like any other person who has a hobby, a hobbyist.

Soo... which is it?

OT: While Gaymer not a term I see commonly used, it's silly for someone to want to trademark that kind of term and prevent others from making a name with it. The EFF chose the right side.

You dont see Gaymer often? I see it every time I go to a bar.

http://www.gaymers.co.uk/

Pebkio:
"The Gaymer name is something I worked hard on, way before Reddit was even an idea." -Chris Vizzini

Bwahaha... I can just imagine. A lot of late nights... tons and tons of crumple up loose leaf paper... thousands of whittled-down #2 pencils. Empty bottles of Advil and cough medicine... leading to a lack of sleep. After 14 years of tireless delvings into foreign languages and Latin roots... he finally settled on "Gaymer" in 2007 and was immediately disappointed that Reddit had been using the term since 2005. Obviously they stole it from him before he even filed for the copyright.

And to think it only took Frank one night to do it:

This is incredibly silly, especially since most people seem to agree that the phrase "gaymer" is pretty awful as pun names go.

BobisOnlyBob:

redknightalex:
I don't really care for the word "gaymer" one way or the other. At first, a few years ago when I first heard the term, I liked it. Gave a better sense of belonging when, at the time, I had none. Now, I'm not sure what the point of it is. There is the allure of being able to identify yourself with two potentially important ideas meshed together, where identity can give you a lot of peace of mind, while on the other hand you have a word that isn't the greatest one to use.

Even a small solace can be a critically important one. I'm bisexual, a gamer, and occasional visitor of /r/Gaymers. While I wouldn't identify myself as a "gaymer" it's a good name for the community and it acts as a nice haven of two larger communities - the "gay community", of which many gay guys don't consider themselves a member for varied reasons, and the gaming community, which can be utterly homophobic in language (frequently) and attitude (less often, but it does happen). Enforcing the trademark will lead to the dissolution of the existing subreddit and force the creation of a new one, disrupting and potentially splitting the community as well as breaking archived links and resources online. Life is fucking awful enough as a gay teenager or twentysomething if you're not in a good and supporting community, so why break up one just to mandate the existence of another with a different name? It's bloody obvious they're two different communities even at a glance, despite sharing the same name and subject matter.

I completely agree with you on those points, and have been there before when a name or a word can mean more than the sum of its parts, it's only the term "gaymer" that I was never sure about. It felt like too much of a spotlight in a way. I guess, for myself as a gay woman, I didn't feel like tagging myself in that demographic when I was so scared of the rampant homophobia online, not just over MP but also in forums.

And I've never thought of the trademark causing that much of a disruption to communities which only help people find a place they can belong to, at least online. I've found others over the years, just as supporting, and I'd never want to be denied that, nor have anyone else's community be taken away from them. This trademark battle is absolutely stupid and, as you said, potentially damaging to many people.

Now I might have to check out the community. May not change my POV on the actual term but safe communities are always welcome. Gods know there aren't enough in real life.

I think it's a bit silly, but only because I despise the need to differentiate people based on unrelated criteria. Gamers are people who play games. I don't care, at all, that you're a Christian gamer, a gay gamer, insert-ethnic-group-here gamer or any of that. I also question the ability to trademark such a term, but a website can certainly be a brand and protected by trademark, so they might end up with a leg to stand on there.

SO, do I have to call myself "Stramer" then?
Because clearly one has to bring one's sexuality up all the time, no matter what is at hand?
Are there "Gaytarists" as well?
Am I a "Straightarist"
Are there "Gayrummers"? And "Straightummers"?
Or how about "gaydeners" and "stradeners"?

Yes I just used this topic as a hang-up for some terrible puns, sue me...

Seems just as silly as the concept of calling people gamers in the first place. So now there are several of types to categorize gamers? Whatīs the point and why do we even have stupid terms for people who enjoys videogames? Itīs even more stupid when we also have to have specific terms so that we can see that "hey, this guy is gay and heīs a gamer!", because thatīs really important to know in a conversation about videogames. :p Though it does make sense as a label for the community.

As always, iīm just boycutting the entire concept of the Gamer term, i dislike it. I donīt understand what makes gaming so special that people have to brand themselves as "gamer". I like movies and Books more, i donīt call myself a movieman or bookman, while joining some secret society where we shun those who dare say a bad thing about our games.

Jamous:
I'm actually reasonably convinced that the Gaymer are going to be a new elf race in the Elder Scrolls. I mean, you've got your Altmer, Dunmer, Orsimer, Bosmer, Dwemer, Falmer, and now Gaymer. MAKES PERFECT SENSE.

All of my yes.

It's a horrible word. Why would anyone work hard to come up with a word so horrible?

Why the hell is this even a thing?

I'm honestly waiting for a drink manufacturer without a clue to begin marketing an energy drink called, 'Gaymer Aid'.

The term itself i dislike like i dislike term "Fag". but they can use it if they want.

I do however thing that copyrighting such term is lunacy and hope that EFF wins this one.

Max Botten:
Gaymer is also a cider brand that has been trading for over 300 years

this guy, even with his post count of 1, does actually have a point.
it's the second largest Cider maker in the world apparently.

image

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaymer_Cider_Company

Oh hey, he's in the Facebook comments. Must be our lucky day.

Idea of trademark is the stupidest thing in history of law. Why should anyone own the words that everyone can use? Its like patenting a some gas and then suing everyone who breaths because that gas happens to be contained in air.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here