TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Heymann on Interests in Reputation

Laura Heymann (W&M) has posted to SSRN The Law of Reputation and the Interest of the Audience.  The abstract provides:

Although an individual has control over many of the statements, acts, and other biographical data points that are used to construct her reputation, she does not ultimately have control over the result of that reputational assessment, the pronouncement of which is a task re-served to others. Reputation is fundamentally a social concept; it does not exist until a community collectively forms a judgment about an individual or firm that has the potential to guide the community’s future interactions. Despite reputation’s relational nature, discussions of the law’s interest in reputation tend to focus on one of two parties: the individual or firm holding the reputation and the defendant accused of having unlawfully harmed that reputation. This framework leads to particular conceptions of the reputational interests, such as from a property or dignity perspective, and of the countervailing, often First Amendment–related, interests of the defendant. But the community that constructs one’s reputation also has an interest in the soundness of a reputation’s foundation so that future uses of others’ reputations will be effective. A more complete conception of reputation, therefore, should take such community interests into account.


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Thought-provoking suggestion regarding the duality of reputation. In the global information marketplace, protection and sound management of reputation is critical.

Posted by: Todd William | Sep 28, 2011 7:32:41 AM

Thanks! Any thoughts or comments from readers are most welcome.

Posted by: Laura Heymann | Sep 28, 2011 9:03:59 AM

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