The States of Guernsey - the island's parliament - has
approved the drafting of a new law that will protect image rights
and sees the introduction of registrable image rights in time by
the Olympic Games and the 2012/13 football transfer season.
When enacted, the legislation will see Guernsey take a world
lead on the issue and provide a clear legal code for image rights,
enabling effective management while also protecting the public
interest, says intellectual property (IP) specialist and joint
managing partner at Channel Islands law firm Collas Crill, Jason
Guernsey will be the first jurisdiction to have a registrable
image right when the legislation is passed (expected in early
2012). This legislation will allow celebrities, sports
professionals and teams and other media personalities to structure
their image rights inGuernsey, safe in the knowledge that there is
a clear legislative framework.
Mr Romer, who sits on the island's Commercial IP Steering
Group and the Drafting Sub-Committee, leads the firm's team of
IP specialists and is a director of Collas Crill IP, the only IP
registration company linked with a law firm in theChannel
Image rights (or the 'right of publicity') are generally
recognised as the right to control the commercial use of a
person's identity and images associated with that person
including distinctive expressions, characteristics or
The importance and value of those rights have become an
increasingly controversial topic, the latest instalment being the
UK debate over the role of super injunctions as public figures seek
to exercise significant control over the use of their image in the
media. A super-injunction stops anyone publishing information about
the applicant which is said to be confidential or private - but
also prevents anyone from reporting that the injunction itself even
Mr Romer said: "The judiciary in the UK have called for
parliament to define this type of right and to establish the
parameters around the protection of an individual's image. The
development of a registrable image right goes a long way to address
this concern.Guernsey has been ahead of the game in this respect
and the States of Guernsey, Commerce and Employment and the
Intellectual Property Office should be congratulated on their
vision and approach.
"The development of an image rights register will be a
world first and places Guernsey in a unique position worldwide and
this should bring with it additional revenue and income
"With the legislation soon on its way, now is the time to
review how the legislation is likely to benefit those who want to
control the way their own image is used and to begin planning for
the opportunities that will arise.
Mr Romer added: "This legislation will define the rights of
an individual to protect their own image and balance those against
the freedom of news reporting and the public interest."
The States of Guernsey approved the drafting of the law today
(30 September 2011). It is estimated that, subject to approval and
consultation, the drafting time should take about four months.
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There is a growing recognition of the importance of the rights attaching to personality, and the characteristics of a personality – commonly known as image rights. Mark Savage and David Mitchell of BDO explore further.
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