The 16,000-plus subscribers to r/gamers, the gay gaming community on Reddit, found out today that their subreddit could very well be shut down. An issue over trademark has arisen, after Reddit received a cease and desist letter recently from Gaymer.org owner Chris Vizzini.
Turns out, Vizzini trademarked the term "gaymer" back in 2007, when it was initially met with some controversy. As he currently holds legal rights over the name, Reddit doesn't seem to have much of a case, assuming Vizzini refuses to budge over the matter. Here is the trademark he filed:
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
Moderators running r/gaymer received the unpleasant news and were quick to fill the community in, because let's face it, this is a pretty serious issue for them. Their subreddit could very well be shut down by tomorrow.
Community members have noted that Reddit has used "gaymer" before 2003. Gaymercon, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be an issue.
When contacted via chat by the folks at GayGamer.net, Vizzini had the following to say:
I did send the reddit legal team a cease and desist letter. I emailed them asking them to change the name to something else but they ignored me so as a trademark holder I didn't have much choice.
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. 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.
Here's hoping Reddit manages to get out from under this, whether they come to some kind of agreement or rename the subreddit. Seeing r/gaymer taken down for any period of time would be incredibly unfortunate.
Thanks for the tip, Invidia.