I am a full-time performer in a show band. I decided to adopt and use a stage name so that I can be remembered easily and so that I can get more gigs. I only use this name when I perform and in other similar engagements, but I still use my real name in my other daily transactions.
I then had a nasty falling out with one of my bandmates. He is now threatening to sue me for using a fake name. He said that this is prohibited by law, and is considered as a crime. I think he is just doing this so that his new girlfriend can use the stage name that I popularized. Does he have a legal basis on his threats against me? Thank you for your time!
Considering that the use of your new name is limited to your work as an entertainer, your decision to use a stage name is within the allowed limits provided by law. According to the Civil Code of the Philippines:
“Article 379. The employment of pen names or stage names is permitted, provided it is done in good faith and there is no injury to third persons. Pen names and stage names cannot be usurped.”
This cited law expressly allows the use of stage names or even pen names as long as they are not intended to injure other persons. Thus, your bandmate has no legal basis on his claim to file a criminal complaint against you for your use of a stage name since there is nothing illegal in your decision to use a stage name for the purposes you have mentioned.
Furthermore, it is important to note that the aforementioned law also states that stage names are protected by law and they cannot be usurped. This is important considering that you have mentioned that your bandmate’s new girlfriend has an intention of using your stage name. It is also opined that the use of a stage name creates a new identity, which gives the person creating this new name a vested right and protection recognized by law against its usurpation (Melencio Sta Maria, Persons And Family Relations Law, 2010).
Thus, it is clear from the aforementioned law that you have nothing to worry about in your use of your stage name since it is allowed and even protected by law.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org