This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

October 15, 2014

Protecting your name

If you've ever Googled your name (and I can't imagine anyone not doing that), chances are very good that there are LOT of people with the same name as you. I know that there are a lot of Brad Halls out there, including the very famous one, actor, producer, and the husband of Julia Louis-Dreyfus. If you Google my name you'll find him. If you're old enough to remember Saturday Night Live in the 1980s, you may even recognize him.

It's a big world, and it's been around for a long time, and it may make you despair about protecting your name. But a name, and its associated accomplishments, is a valuable thing. And it's something worth protecting.

I'm not talking about identify theft here, or libel. In fact, this would only apply to people who have really made a name for themselves in the world. And, although I certainly have never achieved that type of fame, I've known people who have. And while these people don't have the right to just the words in their name (which of course would be ridiculous), they have the right to protect their name and its associations that have made them famous.

And it all comes back to celebrity endorsements. And that sort of thing is much, much, older than the web. It simply means paying a famous person to put their *seal of approval* on a product or service. This enhances the image of the product or service, and with the increased sales and revenue, it can be very beneficial to the celebrity. When I was a kid, they put the pictures of Olympic athletes on the cover of my boxes of Wheaties. I wonder if they still do that?

So, if you've won an Olympic medal, or written a hit song, you have a right to expect that your name and the associated famous accomplishment wouldn't be used without your permission. If an ad appears that uses your famous name, and is clearly intended to imply that it's you, it would be worth requesting that the company play fair, and cut you in on some of the money that your famous name is making for them, or stop. That's called cease and desist.

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