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Gaijin Entertainment, the Russian developers of War Thunder, have resorted to the lowest of internet lows – they’ve decided that gaijin.com should belong to them, and have made the appropriate legal threats to back up this claim.

It came to our attention that you registered and maintain a website http://www.gaijin.com (“Infringing Website”) that infringes Gaijin Mark. By maintaining and offering to public your content via the website, i.e., Infringing Website, having the same domain as Gaijin Mark, you create consumer confusion and mistake as to the source, sponsorship and/or affiliation of the
Infringing Website and Gaijin, thereby infringing Gaijin Mark. Consequently, the main purpose of this letter is to demand that you immediately cease and desist from maintaining and offering your content via the Infringing Website or any other site having the domain substantially similar to Gaijin Mark. Gaijin also demands that you immediately transfer the Infringing Domain to Gaijin.

 

A quick perusal of the site shows there’s nothing confusing about gaijin.com which would make you think, you know, a Russian game developer must be running the site.

A couple of years back I wrote a review of a movie that had been the biggest box office smash that year and had won zillions of awards.

I hated it. I hated every moment of it with a passion and fury that outmatched the heat of a thousand fiery suns.

The rest is similar.    The site is simply some guy’s personal blog at this point, with articles (as I scroll down) about Roger Ebert, Tomato sauce, New Years resolutions, and my favorite albums.

This is apparently of no interest to Gaijin Entertainment.    After deciding they wanted the domain, they simply stoop to legal thuggery to attempt to get it, by sending frightening legal letters that would simply stop a non-lawyer in their tracks.

But apparently the guy running the blog has his own lawyer.   Not just anyone – Mike Godwin.    Have you ever heard of Godwin’s law on internet argumentation ?   Yeah, that Godwin.

Please be advised that my client, Brandon Harris, disputes your trademark-infringement claim in every particular.

That is the most polite way to state how vigorously we dispute your attempt to assert flat ownership of the word “gaijin,” a word so well-established in English that it is an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Currently, I’m advising my client to publicize your demand letter, so that the entire game-consuming public will be made aware of your client’s overreaching trademark assertions.

Now set your wayback machine to perhaps 1994.   Well before the time of personal blogs, back when I was still figuring out how this whole Internet Tube works, I ran across a similar little guy story – the bank Chevy Chase demanding a computer consultant release his website chevychase.com to them.     They sent nearly the verbatim letter to this guy, who flailed around for awhile until he managed to get legal help.      I always remember the final outcome for this one – he kept his domain.

They apparently kept after him for awhile, he negotiated, and simply requested that if they wanted the domain so bad, just pay him some fee.    And they disappeared and never came back to haunt him again.

I’ve been sued before, not having the resources to have a lawyer on speedial.   It sucks.    You are the equivalent of the 98 lb weakling getting picked on by the 300 lb hulk.     Getting one of these letters it’s tempting to just give in.    The fact that they have limited bases in law doesn’t seem to matter much – just try and strongarm the guy, and see what happens.    Copy, paste, send – what could go wrong ?

Bad publicity perhaps.     Remember the Streisand effect.

Nowadays it appears that chevychase.com is also a blog page.   Funny how that works.    But no bank owns it.    I certainly hope the same happens for Gaijin. com.    And my respect for Gaijin Entertainment has sunk massively.     You guys have hit an issue that I am intimately familiar with; and you couldn’t be more wrong if you had tried.    And you think I’m going to give you money ?    Not likely.

Coincidentally, today is also the day I get a badly worded translation of a Russian story about how much Wargaming is making.

Revenues – 218 million euros.

Profits – 6.1 million euros.

I couldn’t be happier for Wargaming, providing such an entertaining game and doing the entire software development process right in the process.     If your revenue is so high like that, with profit much lower, it makes me think they could be positioning themselves to be an even bigger gaming company – and given how they treat their star property, that is fantastic news.    That sure dovetails with the upcoming World of Warplanes and the in development World of Battleships.

It could also mean that Wargaming is less business focused and more on providing the right experience for gamers.   This can happen with companies that have success, sometimes.      If so I hope they continue to prosper, and it’s still good news.

PS – I know Wargaming is from Belarus, but it just sounds better calling them Russian and it’s not far off; the country was part of the Soviet Union back in the day.

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