PBS asks a Martha’s Vineyard organization to drop ‘PBS’ from its name

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PBS has asked a Cape Cod organization to stop using its name.

Martha’s Vineyard Public Broadcasting Station, which goes by MVPBS, is also the subject of a local newspaper investigation.

The Martha’s Vineyard Times reported Thursday that Massachusetts does not recognize MVPBS as a 501(c)(3) corporation, although the organization claims to be a media nonprofit. The FCC has twice rejected its application for an FM station. And though the Better Business Bureau’s logo appears on MVPBS’s website, it is not a member. The local chapter of the BBB is calling for MVPBS to drop the branding.

Daniel Adams, who runs MVPBS, did not comment for the story.

The controversy has also sparked a Facebook page, “Scam Alert: MVPBS.”

WCAI, a public radio service of WGBH on Martha’s Vineyard, recently received a listener complaint regarding MVPBS, Mindy Todd, managing director of editorial, told Current. The listener was alleging that Adams’ van, emblazoned with MVPBS, potentially infringed on PBS’s copyright. WCAI forwarded the complaint to WGBH in Boston, Todd said.

A WGBH spokesperson referred Current to PBS.

“MVPBS is not a PBS member station,” Anne Bentley, PBS spokesperson, said in an email. “We have contacted the organization and requested that it cease using the name PBS.”

  • tim

    Funny….I saw that mvpbs van driving around Vineyard Haven on the Island today and he waved……

  • f.x.koch

    I have seen jail inmates waving. There might be a connection somehow

  • Aaron Read

    I noticed on their site they reference themselves as “The White Dog” a lot, too, a clear counterpoint to the famous “The Black Dog” restaurant…originally started in Vineyard Haven, MA but now has several locations and is almost more a clothing/swag company than a restaurant. You’ve probably seen their iconic logo on t-shirts and whatnot as virtually every MV tourist buys one sooner or later.

    https://www.theblackdog.com/Black-Dog-Locations.html

    Point is, I’m a little surprised the Black Dog hasn’t snarled more about copyright infringement. I’m not sure it would fly, but I am sure that they MUST have had to defend their trademarks vigorously in the past. They’re too big not to have done that.