Trademark and copyright law are in a constant struggle with the right of free expression guaranteed under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. This is unavoidable. Copyright laws were enacted to protect authors of copyrighted works from others using their protected artistic and creative works. Trademark laws give the bearer of a registered trademark a monopoly of sorts on a word, phrase, logo, or other brand identifier with respect to certain goods and services against other parties who, beyond mere copying, would use their marks in a manner that is likely to cause confusion among relevant consumers. Maintaining the balance between the rights of copyright and trademark owners on the one hand, and the public at large, however, is harder than it looks.
How much control should athletes have over their names? Not an unlimited amount, according to one recent court ruling.