Musing Bytes 2 - Malshandir
26 July 2013
To paraphrase Rod Serling, this is Thomas 'Malshandir' Freyer, "age thirty-eight, a man protected by a suit of armor held together by one bolt."
Mr. Freyer's claim to Internet fame is his threat of "legal actions" against the blog EQ2Wire. EQ2Wire is a very popular EverQuest 2 "News & Commentary" site, and EverQuest 2 is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG).
Before we get further, let's hightlight the article that brings all this to light.
Character Blocked from EQ2U Due to Trademark Claim
EQ2Wire, 24 July 2013
"Thomas Freyer of Freyer Consulting in Frankfurt Germany" opened with:
"We demand by law the deleting of this profile as the owner of the trademark “Malshandir” we gave you no permission to use is.
If this profile is deleted within the next 6 hours we will not take further legal actions against you."
It went downhill for Mr. Freyer after that. Lots of LOUD comments, and at least two attorneys (real ones, not fake Internet ones), a Vladislav Arkhipov and "Ken" posted on the matter. More on "Ken" in a bit.
Read the article. Read the comments. Especially the comment Thomas Freyer made as "Jo". And the EQ2Wire response:
"Hello Mr. Freyer. Welcome to EQ2Wire.
Unmistakeable writing style, disposable e-mail address, also the IP address (220.127.116.11) shows the writer is in London."
Or read his article on Malshandir.
Listen, Don't Mention The Malshandir. I Mentioned It Once, But I Think I Got Away With It All Right.
Popehat, 25 July 2013
The article is reminiscent of United States District Judge Otis Wright's wording of Prenda Law.
Ok, Mr. White's wordsmithing is funnier. And his article, along with EQ2Wire article, has made Malshandir (Thomas Freying) famous. Mr. White's article currently tops the Google search for "malshandir". Followed by I'm Malshandir and So's My Wife! and the EQ2Wire article. With The Escapist article Everquest 2 Fan Site Harassed By Trademark Claim making a run for position number four.
"Elaine, you're a member of this crew. Can you face some unpleasant facts?" Dr. Rumack
"No." Elaine Dickinson
Not that trademark infringement is a laughing matter. Because it is not. But, and here's a big tip, the 'infringee' should go directly after the 'infringer'.
With the case of "Malshandir" the alleged infringement is by Sony Online Entertainment, a part of well Sony er Global. And to some degree the creator of the EverQuest 2 Elf Malshandir. EQ2Wire merely presents data made available from Sony. Which is nominally covered by the Communications Decency Act Section 230.
All well and good if you own the trademark. And Thomas Freyer claims he owns the trademark.
It all goes downhill after these points.
We credit EQ2Wire commenters for the following data points.
The EverQuest 2 character Malshandir was created on "2008-01-07". That's 7 January 2008, five months before the tradename/trademark Malshandir was established. The Elf's good name is being besmirched/infringed on, so to speak.
The eBay INC seller malshandir created the account and trade name on 8 June 2001. That's seven years before Malshandir of Great Britain, or eight years before Malshandir Germany. The seller malshandir is in Switzerland, and perhaps would have a good European Union civil case.
The Refuge of Stone/Myth Weavers has text on a character named Malshandir. The document was published on 17 July 2006, almost two years before Thomas Freyer's claims. And that Canadian creation has the usual copyright protections. Like "Copyright exists automatically when an original work or other subject-matter is created" and "copyright lasts for the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, plus 50 years following the end of that calendar year."
Canadians are sterotypically nice and would welcome Mr. Freyer to tour the Canadian Court System. The tenacious type, like the world wide fans of Canadian artist Rich Morris of The ComixBlog, shunned the Courts and simply ran the copyright infringer out of existence.
Google search is a funny sort of animal. A little used search phrase can have few references. The Google machine logic being 'people aren't looking for "It", we don't need "It" much.' But make a search phrase popular, have multitudes looking for "It", and the Google engines go into overdrive scouring the Internet for "It".
For now "malshandir" is "It". We wonder what else will show up in Google.
Finally, does Thomas Freyer know that the name "Freyer Consulting" is copyrighted by Ola Hanssens Vei of Norway? And Freyer Consulting INC of Minnesota, U.S., 2010? And Freyer Consulting of New Mexico, U.S.
"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs, and explosions, and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, ideas, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy. A thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own for the children and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is, is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone."
Rod Serling, The Monsters are Due on Maple Street (1960)
Update 26 July 2013.
Figured out where the mysterious "Malshandir" name originates from.
Reference The Shadow Elves Players' Guide, "An Official Dungeons & Dragons Game Supplement", by Carl Sargent and Gary Thomas. Copyright 1990, 1995 TRS, Inc./Wizards of the Coast.
"for Dungeon Masters running D&D(R) Known World or HOLLOW WORLD(R) campaign"
Wizards of the Coast was founded in 1990, and remains in operation today.