The States of Guernsey have approved the introduction of specific legislation to recognise and regulate image rights, which would make Guernsey the first jurisdiction in the world to put in place such specific protections. It is hoped that the legislation will be in force prior to the London 2012 Olympics.
An image right concerns the commercial appropriation or exploitation of a person's identity and associated images linked to that person and is a valuable asset in some market places. Current laws do not provide adequate protection of image rights and there is no specific registration system for them.
It is anticipated that Guernsey's new legislation will:
- create a right relating to a living personality which has indefinite duration and can continue to exist after death;
- enable the treatment of image rights registered in Guernsey as personal property which can therefore be left in a will, licensed or sold;
- establish a register of image rights, administered by Guernsey's existing specialised Intellectual Property Office;
- create a right for certain personalities (including living or dead natural persons and potentially some fictional characters) to be registered on the register;
- create a civil offence of infringement of image rights; and
- create rights enforceable for commercial purposes, with defences for educational and private use.
Guernsey is already widely recognised as one of the world's premier international financial centres with a highly skilled workforce and the introduction of specific image rights legislation will supplement Guernsey's modern framework of intellectual property laws, making Guernsey unique as a jurisdiction for overall intellectual property protection.