The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the law firm Perkins Coie are representing the redditors from r/gaymers—a forum on the social news site for LGBT and straight alliance gamers—pro bono, which means that they are voluntarily taken on the case without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service.
“This registration should have never been granted,” EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry said in a statement.
“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.”
EFF staff atorney Julie Samuels has said that the trademark registration on the word “gaymer” is “being used to threaten free speech.”
The subreddit started in 2011. They now have over 21,000 subscribers and regularly have video chat nights and play multi-player games together.
Vizzini sent the cease-and-desist letter to the Reddit staff last September and even went to r/gaymers to argue his case after facing backlash from redditors and harsh comments on his website.
“As a trademark and word mark holder, it’s my responsibility to defend the marks, otherwise I could lose them,” Vizzini wrote, explaining that he just wanted r/gaymers to change their name.
An r/gaymers moderator, ozuri, who has been involved with intellectual property for a most of his career in video games, took to the subreddit to explain the situation Wednesday.
“So the actions we have taken are not because we don’t believe in intellectual property protection,” ozuri wrote. “They are because we believe the term ‘gaymer’ is a word that should remain in the public domain, free for use and not ‘owned’ by any particular individual or organization.”
Photo via blmurch/Flickr