Owning Diana: From People's Princess to Private Property

Story, Alan (1998) Owning Diana: From People's Princess to Private Property. Web Journal of Current Legal Issues, 1998 (5). On-Line. ISSN 1360-1326. (Full text available)

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Abstract

This article assesses the claims of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, to intellectual property rights, specifically copyright, trade mark and rights of publicity, in the name and image of the deceased Princess. Tribunals and the courts should not recognise such claims, the article argues, as they conflict with basic intellectual property doctrine and coherent policy objectives. Nor does basic succession law support many of the Fund's ostensible claims. Using a social relations approach to property, the article suggests that the "the public", rather than the Fund or Diana's Estate, have a superior claim to intellectual property rights in Diana because of how her value was created. Diana's meaning and value should remain a common asset; their commodification would represent another step in the propertisation of the public domain. One consequence, among others, of such commodification would be to put part of Britain's culture behind a user-pay turnstile and to limit access to a cultural icon. The analysis is introduced by an assessment of what is behind the merchandising strategy of the "Diana" brand and by a brief look at the history of treating famous persons as intellectual property.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Law School
Depositing User: A. Davies
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 19:18
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2014 15:05
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/1894 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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