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The founder of WallStreetBets is suing Reddit for a trademark?

WallStreetBets is back in the news for an unexpected reason – the founder is suing Reddit over trademark conflicts.

A computer and a phone are open on similar stock market graphs, likely helped by WallStreetBets Reddit.

If you start a community on social media, who should profit most from that? 


After all, you put together the groundwork, laid out the rules (not an easy task when you need to be democratic and specific by the way), vetted more mods and acted as a promoter and attractant to the platform. So why not? What is a platform without its users, especially the big draw creatives and culturemakers?

The platform? 

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Well all this infrastructure didn’t come out of nowhere. All those group/channel/subreddit’s users had to come through communities that had nothing to do with any one random person. Nothing could have gotten done without platform costs, platform TOS, and the platform itself. It sure wasn’t any of these users shucking and jiving to raise capital in the early days. So why not? What were they going to do without all those pieces already in place, start a webring?

If you know that last word, get up and take some Ibuprofen. 

In perhaps the biggest, most popcorn-worthy scandal since the Gamestop Stock Incident, r/WallStreetBets is blowing up again because Reddit both ousted and is getting sued by the subreddit’s original founder, Jaime Rogozinski. 

Summary for anyone not following from earlier is: Man founds Subreddit. Man moderates Subreddit for about 8 years. Man’s community reaches a million, at which point he attempts to trademark it. Reddit attempts to trademark same, some two months later. Man is forcibly removed from Reddit as a user, and from his Subreddit as a moderator. Subreddit booms to ten times the amount of users in two years. Man sues Reddit. 

I’m just a simple city April with no head for the law, but at the time Reddit TOS was this 2018 version. In September of 2020, the year ‘Man’ was ousted, part of the changes to terms of use in section 2 included going from this: 

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“Except as permitted through the Services or as otherwise permitted by us in writing, your license does not include the right to:

  • license, sell, transfer, assign, distribute, host, or otherwise commercially exploit the Services or Content;  “

To this: 

“You will not license, sell, or transfer your Account without our prior written approval.”

I’m willing to bet any kerfuffle over r/wallstreetbets contributed to this, and more changes in wording. 

So the big question is—should you be able to financially benefit from a community by trademarking that community you started? Let’s go further and say regardless of platform TOS—and argue as if it’s a purely moral standpoint. 

Y’all, I don’t have an answer! 

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Sure creating a subreddit is something any user can do…but just like modern art, the question remains ‘But DID you do it? And if it’s so easy, what’s stoppin ya?’ 

Yet no one builds a business without proper infrastructure. Can anyone truly say ‘I did this 100% by myself’? If you bring nothing to a party but guests, did you really throw it? 

Was Jaime Rogozinski’s start and strong community the reason the sub is where it is today? Or did it flourish in a way it never could while he was at the Mod helm? OR did he get the ball rolling and get ousted just in time for the exponential growth that you can only get when a million people tell ten friends to stop by?

Yeah, still no answers from me. But as creators continue to grow subs, fanbases, and more on social media, this is 100% something that needs consideration. 

And as creators of new social platforms continue to slurp up Twitter expats, you definitely need to take the other side of this equation into account as you’re outlining your terms and your business culture. 

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My coin landed on its side here, but let’s see where Mr. Rogozinski’s day in court takes us.

By the way…does r/CourtOutcomeBetting exist?

You can't spell "Together" without TGOT: That Goth Over There. Staff Writer, April Bingham, is that goth; and she's all about building bridges— both metaphorically between artistry and entrepreneurship, and literally with tools she probably shouldn't be allowed to learn how to use.

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