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.