On Whether Or Not You Need Permission To Use A Person, Place Or Thing's Name

If you’re going to use someone’s specific name, common practice is to ask permission. 

If someone does not give you permission, or if you are unsure they will agree and can’t/don’t want to ask them, it is standard to use generic names and change identifying details. For example — your cousin Jeffrey, the math teacher with brown hair can become your friend Bill with blonde hair, a chemist.

If you'd like further reading, this article is the best discussion I have read on the topic of using names when it comes to a company, organization, or product.

It would be difficult to get permission from a large organization. For a smaller one, you would want to contact the founder or lead spokesperson and ask.

The short answer is: just be respectful, but don't worry too much about this.


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