reddit Users Once Again Show the Power of the Internet for Evil - The UpStream

reddit Users Once Again Show the Power of the Internet for Evil

posted Saturday Aug 24, 2013 by Scott Ertz

reddit Users Once Again Show the Power of the Internet for Evil

At the beginning of this year, Chris Vizzini, owner and operator of gaymer.org, was alerted to the subreddit /r/gaymers. He contacted the site and asked them to please change the name of the segment of the site because it infringed on his trademark of the name gaymer in relation to a community for gay gamers. He received absolutely no response.

At some point, his frustration with the lack of a response caused him to jump online, download a cease and decist letter and fill in the blanks regarding the issue. He asked that the site stop using the name and, instead, simply change the name to something else. Again, he received absolutely no feedback from the company.

Instead of responding directly to the C&D, an employee who goes by the moniker Spladug went onto the site and posted a series of incorrect information about the request. He said that Mr. Vizzini was asking that reddit remove the section of the site completely. Obviously, the people of reddit got mad, causing comments on gaymer.org to start getting nasty.

Mr. Vizzini then took to reddit to try to explain, apologizing for the miscommunication on reddit's part. That did not go well, causing people to think he was lying, trying to make the site look bad. That caused a moderator to post a really nasty letter, which then caused even meaner comments on the site.

Finally, after all of this, reddit General Moderator Erik Martin responded. His comment on the silence was simply,

You probably emailed our general feedback email, which until recently was seldom if ever checked. So, apologies for that. Not professional on our part.

Based on that response, I would have to say that "not professional" is their status quo. He then suggested,

What if the /r/gaymers subreddit had a very prominent disclaimer in the sidebar that they were not affiliated with gaymers.org and acknowledged your trademark, as well as a prominent and positive link to your site?

After agreeing to this arrangement, reddit did not actually do it. Oops. Instead, the site decided to team up with the Electronic Freedom Foundation to sue Mr. Vizzini, trying to get his trademark dismissed. That's right - the EFF teamed up against a valid business to nullify a valid trademark because reddit lied to them. Rather than fighting the trademark suit, Mr. Vizzini gave up.

The site, whose purpose was to give a safe place for gay gamers to come together, was shut down over a bogus lawsuit filed by a bottomless pocket organization because of false information. The trademark has been canceled and the organization suspended.

I have taken personal offense to some of the ridiculous things that reddit has done in the past, but I never thought it would come to this. I am truly ashamed of that community and the corporation for using its power to destroy a man and the dream and vision he has been making a reality for the past 10 years and, ultimately, a safe community that transformed the word gaymer from an insult to a positive community.

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