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Aaron Myers closes DCistNOW amid trademark spat, launches TheDistrictNOW

Myers received a cease-and-desist letter from DCist's owner, and opted to launch a new site.

What do the locals do around here? (Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)

DCist may be a thing of the past, but billionaire Joe Ricketts won’t have its name bandied about.

On Nov. 8, Aaron Myers, the founder of DCistNOW, received a cease-and-desist letter via FedEx from the counsel of DNAinfo, which owns and operates the DCist and Gothamist websites.

The letter said his DCistNOW domain name is trademark infringement, asked that all mention of DCistNow be eliminated and for his response to be made in writing by Nov. 15.

“It is evident that you are using the Domain Name to provide a website featuring news and information relating to Washington, D.C., identical to DNAinfo’s use of its DCIST trademark and domain name <DCist.com>,” the letter says. “DNAinfo has acquired substantial goodwill in its DCIST trademark and actively protects that goodwill. Your use of the Domain Name and ‘DCist Now’ will impair DNAinfo’s valuable goodwill.”

So Myers is launching a new site today, Nov. 15: TheDistrictNOW.com.

Tomorrow, I will be relaunching DCistnow.com to TheDistrictNOW.com,” Myers wrote in an email Tuesday. “I can’t afford to tango with a Billionaire, but I’m not going to let that stop me from building a platform D.C. Residents can utilize as a place of consistent news & information.”

Myers, a full-time musician and entertainer, launched DCistNOW after the sudden shuttering of DCist last month. That followed a vote by writers at its sister site Gothamist to unionize. All of the content to the DCist and Gothamist sites was temporarily taken down, but later restored.

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