What's in a Name? Law's Identity Under the Tort of Appropriation
36 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2011
Date Written: January 1, 2001
This article is divided into three parts. In Part I, the article explores the notion that under the tort of appropriation, a person’s name is understood to implicate critical aspects of her identity. This notion is explored in relation to specific historical cases raising the issues of whether a woman who adopts her husband’s name has a property right in that name and whether a person who adopts a professional or stage name has separate rights in that name apart from his legal name. Second, Part II focuses on a person’s right to maintain the integrity of his physical image. Finally, Part III examines one interest in his or her “aural image.” The paper concludes with the observation that the courts are capable of accommodating society’s flexible notions of identity, albeit in an occasionally non-democratic fashion.
Keywords: Appropriation, name, identity, tort of appropriation, last name, maiden name, stage name, aural image, married name
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