Using a domain name, username, hastag, or other indicia of association with someone's name
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- Can you use a domain name, username, hashtag,…or other association with someone else's name?…As you might guess, the answer is no.…You should not build someone's name…into your domain name or your meta tags.…The use of someone's name in a domain name…or even in the metadata is probably…a right of publicity violation,…depending on the particular state.…Perhaps the fair use or news exception would apply.…It depends on your use.…If your use of someone's name in a domain name…is purely for criticism,…you may be able to defend on the grounds…that your site is newsworthy,…under a state exception, or even that the use…is protected by the First Amendment.…
But that might not prevent the celebrity…from pursuing you for a right of publicity violation,…particularly if they view the use…as commercial, or untrue and malicious.…Use on the web in domain names,…metadata, usernames, and hashtags…could also be a trademark infringement…on the theory that the use of the celebrity's name…is a false association, or false advertising,…
Intellectual property lawyer Dana Robinson guides viewers through these complex questions and more. He also addresses what constitutes infringement and discusses recent cases on rights of publicity and the first amendment, covering issues such as using a domain name, username, hashtag, or other "indicia of association" with someone's name.
DISCLAIMER: This course is taught by an attorney and addresses US law concepts that may not apply in all countries. Neither LinkedIn nor the attorney teaching the course represents you and they are not giving legal advice. The information conveyed through this course is akin to a college or law school course; it is not intended to give legal advice, but instead to communicate basic information to help viewers understand the basics of intellectual property.