September 15, 2021

What is indicia of identity?

If you reside in Texas and have a strong concern about someone making use of your identity without your permission, you may have read up on identity law and have come across the phrase “indicia of identity.” This is an important concept in publicity law because it forms the basis of protecting your identity.

The word indicia simply means whatever indicates or distinguishes something. In the case of identity, it means the characteristics that identify you from other people. The Texas Music Office provides some examples of indicia of identity.

Marks of identity

Your name is one way you distinguish yourself, so if a person or business uses your name to promote a product or service without your permission, you may have recourse to stop the action. You may also protect a nickname or a well-known catchphrase that uses your name.

Your image also counts as indicia of identity. Another party does not have the right to use your likeness if you have not signed over the rights to use it.

Distinguishing actions

In addition to your name or image, you may have unique performing actions that help you make a living, like a singing talent or just the use of your voice. In such cases, you can pursue legal actions if someone uses your voice or a voice so similar to yours that the public may think the voice belongs to you. You may also protect a performing style that everyone associates with you.

Passing on your right of publicity

If you worry that another party can use your indicia of identity after you die, Texas law lets you transfer the right of publicity of your identity to heirs through your will. You can control how others use your identity and your family may benefit by monetizing your distinguishing traits. Your family might also protect your good name by keeping your identity out of the hands of people who would misuse it and tarnish it.


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