Guernsey Takes a World Lead with New Image Rights Legislation

Guernsey Takes a World Lead with New Image Rights Legislation

On 30th September 2011 the drafting of a new law was approved by parliament in Guernsey that would protect image rights and see the introduction of registrable image rights in time for London’s Olympic Games and the 2012-2013 football transfer season.

Jason Romer, Managing Partner at ­Collas Crill, reported that if enacted the proposed legislation would also see Guernsey take a world lead on the issue and provide a clear legal code for image rights, enabling effective management whilst also protecting the public interest.

The law would mean that celebrities, sports stars and other ­recognisable figures will be able to obtain a registered Guernsey image right protecting certain definable aspects, such as their name, as well as those less easily defined, such as gestures, distinctive expressions, characteristics or attributes.

The legislation will balance the protection of such image rights against other important rights, such as freedom of news reporting and the public interest. Notably, a Guernsey image right may be registered by a person’s estate, meaning such protection is offered to both the living and deceased.

The taxation of income arising from such rights has recently become a hot topic. Tennis player Rafael Nadal has confirmed that, for just the second time in six years (the other due to injury), he will not be playing at Queen’s Club next year in preparation for Wimbledon. This is as a direct result of the UK’s approach to tax a proportion of a sports star’s global income for every day spent in the UK.

Although the full impact of Guernsey’s image rights legislation is yet to be realised, the island is set to lead the way in developing and gaining experience in a new and exciting IP right, with other jurisdictions no doubt following suit.

The full article by Jason Romer can be found in The Lawyer.

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