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Bernie Foster
Bernie Foster, Publisher of The Skanner News
Published: 29 April 2014

What is a name? Who owns it? Who can use it? What is it worth?

I believe your name is your most precious and valuable possession. Your name is your personal trademark. And the name of The Skanner News is a legally recognized trademark.

That’s why I was disturbed that my name and that of The Skanner News were attached to an event that took place last Saturday in Portland – without my permission.

A celebration was held in the Boys and Girls Club on Northeast Martin Luther King Blvd. The event was billed as the 25th anniversary of the renaming of that street for Dr. King. Sounds like a good idea!

But I’d never been asked for permission to use my name, or that of The Skanner News. In fact, we did not sponsor the event, and I did not know our name would be used on the program. I was never invited to speak, although Bernie Foster was listed on the program.

That led us to wonder if the organizers had also used the names of other people listed on the program without permission.

We have no doubt that those involved intended to honor those who fought all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court to name the street for Dr. King. But good intentions don’t make it ok to take unethical actions.

Event planners please take note: this was a good example of how not to rally support.

At The Skanner News, we try to think carefully before attaching our names to any person, organization or event.  So please do not assume that we will be happy to be linked to any event. Always ask first.

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