Editor’s Note: Judge Terrance Keith’s greed hurts city

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

Terrance Keith is a greedy opportunist. He’s also a Wayne County probate judge. That’s a bad combination in a public servant.

An evening activity brings area residents to the Riverwalk in downtown Detroit.

Keith noticed “Detroit RiverWalk” and “RiverWalk Detroit” had not been copyrighted by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, which built and maintains the park along the Detroit riverfront. So he filed for the rights to those names.

That means he can market branded merchandise using the names, and if the conservancy also uses them, it has to pay Keith a fee.

Admittedly, the conservancy should have thought to copyright all variations of its brand.

But the judge, as a Detroiter and an elected official, should also be far less self-serving. Keith, who is also an amateur photographer, produced a book of riverfront photographs with the cooperation of the conservancy. Instead of alerting them to their copyright oversight, he seized the opportunity to make a couple of bucks for himself.

The RiverWalk is one of Detroit’s most alluring assets, giving Detroiters access to the river. It takes a lot of money to keep it operating, and Keith’s greed makes the job much harder.

This is a lesson to other organizations in Detroit. Protect your brands, lest parasites like Terrance Keith attempt to hijack them for their own profit.