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The Suburbanite
  • Ask Amy - Baby names don’t come with a copyright

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  • Dear Amy: I am 32 years old, two years divorced and newly into a serious relationship. My “best” friend from childhood had a baby this week and stole the baby name I have been planning to use since my teens. I am extremely hurt by this.
    Her father died and she used a combination of his name and her father-in-law’s name (Jonathan Steven), but will call the baby “Johnny.”
    I planned to use the name John Steven for my firstborn son, as these are names my family has used since the 1600s.
    My friend knows that when I have a child I would also call the baby Johnny. When I confronted her, she dismissed it and claimed she never remembered me saying anything about it.
    She said her father was dead and I was divorced and unmarried, so I should move on.
    I understand the sensitivity she has about her father, but I feel hurt that she stole this and was callous about it. She is just lying when she claims she doesn’t remember that this is supposed to be my baby’s name.
    Do I have the right to be upset? — No-Name
    Dear No-name: You do not own various names or combination of names So you cannot claim to be a victim of name theft.
    Even if you felt you had a proprietary interest in this combination of names because they had been in your family, these names are also in her family, and, in a lot of other families. Each name (and combination of names) is common. The first names in question are not the same.
    You can choose what to be upset about. You can choose what to call your child, if and when you have one.
    So if you still love this combination of names when you have a baby, then I suggest you steal them right back from your friend.
    Send questions via email to askamy@ tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60611.