For a month or so, The Goose’s Roost almost went completely dark. Being “too busy” is usually no excuse, but in this case I think the excuse may be valid.
About six weeks ago, we got an email from someone claiming to be a lawyer for a restaurant in Niagara Falls. The “attorney” said we could be sued for our use of “The Goose’s Roost,” which is a registered trademark of The Como. They wanted us to stop using the name immediately or face serious consequences.
Now for those of you not up on your Niagara Falls dining history, The Como is a restaurant in the city. They also happened to own a pair of Goose’s Roosts within city limits, including one that used to sit a few blocks away from my house and served as inspiration for the site.
However, The Goose’s Roost had long since closed and reopened as a Como. The sign was changed, everyone moved on and we thought the name would be safe to use elsewhere. Right? Wrong.
As it turns out, The Como still owns the rights to the phrase and is very protective of it. They still get a lot of business from tourists searching for “The Goose’s Roost” and all of a sudden some blog was creeping in and scaring away potential patrons.
We ignored the first email, but a week later another came. This time it was much angrier and much more severe. They wanted us to shut everything down and start over, deleting the Roost and starting a new blog as soon as possible.
Since we had just re-upped on our current URL, that was something we really didn’t want to do. The four of us got together virtually and tried to figure out what to do. Our site had taken over almost all of the Google search results when you type in “The Goose’s Roost” and they felt they were losing money because of some sports blog. Changing everything would be a ton of work and cost us a lot of money, but not doing anything could end up being much worse.
So, I got a hold of them. We’ve been careful not to include our last names and stay relatively anonymous here, but I contacted the lawyer using my full name and tried to explain the situation to him. I basically told him we had no idea the copyright was owned by anyone and we meant no harm, but we’d like to keep the name if possible.
The response wasn’t encouraging. The Como not only wanted us wiped from the internets, but monetary compensation as well. Clearly the latter was something that couldn’t happen, so we needed to do some negotiating to fix this thing.
So, that’s what we did. I took the lead on this because of proximity to the people involved, and we figured things out. No one needed to be crucified over this, but we needed to communicate and get this straightened out. Days and weeks passed, but last night we finally hammered out an agreement.
So here’s the deal: The Goose’s Roost is no more. We’re taking the name off the site and pretty much everything else associated with it. I started another Twitter account, we’re renaming the podcast, and when I get to it the Facebook page will be changed as well. They’re very serious about this, and I can’t afford to actually fight with them.
We’re not exactly happy about it, but there’s no much we can do. What we can control is this: a new name for the site. We have to abandon this URL by the end of the day, and so we need some suggestions for a new name for the blog, preferably something different enough that we can purchase a URL for it with no problems. We have a few ideas in mind, but we’re interested to hear what you have to say about all this.
Needless to say, it’s been an interesting last few weeks. Hopefully we can put all this behind us and get back to doing what we do best. In the meantime, check out the series of emails I sent back and forth with this character. I’m told that’s confidential information, but I’m a blogger.
Since when are we trustworthy?