Guernsey is set to beat all the world’s other jurisdictions in overhauling its intellectual property regime to better protect the image rights of high-profile individuals like sports and media stars.
A ground-breaking, yet relatively unknown piece of new legislation is set to put Guernsey firmly on the celebrity radar, making the island a top jurisdiction for sports, media and entertainment stars looking to protect their image rights.
Several jurisdictions are said to be looking to sharpen up their intellectual property regimes to take better account of today’s celebrity-mad, advertising-driven culture. But it is Guernsey, the Channel Island just to the southwest of the UK, which looks set to beat the likes of Singapore in introducing new legislation allowing high-profile clients better protection of their image rights.
At just 25 square miles in total and with a population of under 65,000, Guernsey has made a habit of punching well above its weight as an international financial centre, priding itself on combining a robust regulatory regime with an approach to new products and legislation which is both considered and innovative. Guernsey’s new image rights legislation is certainly that and is causing a considerable stir in the legal profession, experts based on the island recently told sister publication WealthBriefing on a trip to the island.
Diversifying Guernsey’s economy
Guernsey is already doing very well as a diversified IFC; it has a robust private client industry, its bank deposits stood at £101 billion ($157 billion) at the end of March 2012 and at the end of February 695 international insurance entities were registered on the island. But, in the words of Peter Niven, the erstwhile chief executive of Guernsey Finance, the island “is always looking for ways to diversify its economy.” And listening to the lawyers this publication spoke to on the subject, its new image rights legislation is going to mean big business for Guernsey.
By way of introduction to this relatively arcane corner of the legal world, the concept of an image right is in actuality completely new-fangled and is the latest evolution in the copyright laws which initially evolved as a way for authors to protect their writings. In simple terms, when Guernsey formalizes the concept of an “image right” it will give individuals the right to protect the use of their name, image or likeness, and of course to protect their right to the financial proceeds arising from any such use.