Way back in 2008, I had the idea for a little club that would meet once a month in my apartment and watch bad movies centered around a particular theme. For an added bonus, we would have food and drink that matched the particular theme of the month. It was to be full-on potluck and use movies from our respective film collections, keeping costs down; essentially, an inexpensive B-movie bookclub. Wow, did I ever not know what I was getting myself into or what?
In less than 3 months, we had name voted upon by the crowd. In 5 months, we had a website. By 12 months, we'd outgrown my apartment and had to move to a local art gallery. By the 3rd year, we were featured in multiple newspapers as a hotspot to watch for an evening's entertainment in the DC area. This skips over the 500 square-foot inflatable screen and the public events held to crowds that would have filled the entire floor of my apartment building. I couldn't believe it.
What's more, I couldn't believe we'd accidentally taken our name from somebody else's website.
When the group first brainstormed ideas for names, I wrote each and every one of them down and did domain lookups them. I also checked the copyright and trademark statuses just to make sure (something that was fairly easy for me to do, as I worked down the hall from the office that housed them all at the time). But you know the one thing I didn't do?
A simple Google search.
When we all settled on the Cavalcade of Schlock, I went off and registered the domain and started the process for trademarking the title. Then, one day, I decided to do a Google search to see how our site ranked among the other B-movie review sites. That's when I found the other Cavalcade of Schlock website, hosted on the now-defunct Geocities written by a gentlemen under the pseudonym of Tyranorabbit. While it seemed to have had a huge following, it had been dormant for over a year.
Feeling like crap, but thinking I had lucked out in the fact that his site had apparently gone the way of the dodo when Geocities eventually shut down, I continued with the marketing of our project, enjoying it as it grew to the heights mentioned above. Eventually we were getting so much traffic that our original host couldn't handle the numbers, and all was well...until the hate mail started.
It turns out that Tyranorabbit brought his site back in late 2009, now hosted by Blogger (you can find it here), and was writing reviews again. In his comments section, there were a couple of people who decided to take pot-shots at us, though T himself never responded. However, hating the fact that there was some bad blood out there coming in our general direction-and feeling mighty protective of our group-I sent out an email to Tyranorabbit, saying how big a fan of his work I was (and I really was by that point, as he's a rock-solid writer with great thoughts about exactly the kind of movies we talk about), and how I was willing to host his work on our site to provide a safer environment than the free blog-sites that constantly get shut down. I thought it could possibly be a match made in b-movie heaven. Alas, to date, I've never heard back from him, and his site has again been dormant for 2 years.
But still there are the comparisons, and the hate mail.
So here I am, giving the official word from us on the subject. We didn't deliberately rip anybody off, it was simply an instance of the same idea for a name happening in two different places, albeit we were nearly 10 years later. We've now got everything trademarked and copyrighted (and have had them for 2 and a half years now), but I don't like the potential for ill-will. I have big plans for Cavalcade v4, and the site redesign was simply stage 1. My offer's still out there T. After all, we both did this for the same reason: The love of craptacular movies.