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January 24
2013

Reddit /r/gaymers & EFF File Trademark Dispute On Gaymer

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reddit_gaymerDo you consider yourself a gaymer? A gay gamer? Or maybe just a gamer? Quite awhile ago, Chris Vizzini over at gaymer.org decided to trademark the word “gaymer” with respect to its usage for online communities. Our own Fruit Brute weighed in on this at the time in his post, “Gaymer” Trademarked? There are some interesting comments and back story. None of us were quite sure what to make of it at the time. We wondered if we needed to feel threatened that Mr. Vizzini was trying to own the widely used term for his own exclusive benefit or reassured that he was simply protecting the wider community from abuse as he claimed.

However, in September, 2012, about five years after the trademark registration was initially filed, Mr. Vizzini sent a cease and desist letter to Reddit in an apparent attempt to validate his trademark claim. It seems that his trademark wasn’t about the greater community at all, but about his personal gaymer.org community. This is in spite of the fact that online usage references dating back as early as 1991 can be found. I’m not sure what he was thinking, but rather than promoting a broader sense of gaymer community spanning numerous social networks, we instead discovered Mr. Vizzini wanted to shut them down.

Things seem to have backfired. Like many sites can attest, including this one, when there is a viral interest in something happening on your domain, many server configurations cannot handle the traffic. Throw in a few angry hacker types, and gaymer.org was down for days. (Was it weeks?) Now it turns out that one Redditor member of /r/gaymers has spearheaded a project to fight back. He’s even brought in the heavy guns with the EFF joining the dispute. See the legal filing here.

Persoanlly, I have nothing against Mr. Vizzini, but I do think he’s made some public relations blunders. I know there are many gaymer.org users who have found community on his site, and I think that is outstanding. I’d like to see them all stick around because just like people go bar hopping, people also go social network hopping. The more the merrier. But to say that you’re the only one allowed to have a site for “gaymers” is absurd.

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About Mike Wilson

Co-Founder of GayGamer.net and gamer since the 70s.

6 Responses

  1. avatar Lucifus says:

    What utter rubbish. “Gaymer” is used by a lot of websites and individuals. Chris Vizzini is having a barmy.

  2. avatar Manaal says:

    This is slightly off-topic, but the term “gaymer” irritates me. It looks and feels like a spelling error to me. Am I the only one who thinks so?

    For that reason, I specifically define myself as a “gay gamer”.

  3. avatar Keith says:

    I agree with Manaal. Perhaps it’s a quirk of personality but “gaymer” just grates on my nerves. Same with people calling the Wii Remote a “wiimote” and such.

  4. avatar fillerbunny9 says:

    I find nothing wrong with the portmanteau of gaymer, or wiimote for that matter, but that is neither here nor there. Vizzini’s attempt at “protecting his trademark” is dubious at best. trademarking a term describing a subset of people when you didn’t even create it? I may as well trademark the term “hipster” and start shutting down anyone and everyone I feel like using that domain. (though technically that might be considered a public service…) I didn’t create the word, it’s been in use for a while prior to my supposed trademark, sounds legit, right?

  5. avatar DxS says:

    Aye, I see Chris Vizzini is running round trying to shake a few dollars for help with legal fees out of his dwindling band of supporters who didn’t jump ship when he kicked off this purely self-interest serving legal action. I’ve donated money to the Electronic Frontier Foundation charity a couple of times in the past and in this case, as they usually are, I think they’re spot on to challenge him.

  6. avatar Guy-Sensei says:

    So he made a mistake and now he’s suffering the consequences. This is not surprising to me – but what I can’t comprehend is the amount of pure hatred and revenge directed at this one gaymer (assuming he’s gay and plays games JUST LIKE THE REST OF US) because of his mistake. What I really want to say is “Can’t we all just get along?” – but it’s actually too late. The damage has been done on both sides and I doubt Chris will forgive the greater community (technically the community he also belongs to) for bullying him.
    I knew the straight gaming community was immature, but now I am sorely disappointed to discover that the gay gamers are just as bad – and to their own kind, no less.

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