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Guernsey's image rights law sees first football club application

25 March 2014

Icondia, the Image Rights Registration specialist, has submitted an application for the image rights registration of Guernsey Football Club (GFC) as a corporate personality.

It represents the first registration of a football club under the Image Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance 2012 (the IRO).  Through the registration of image rights, this is the first law in the world specifically written to allow 'personality' to become an asset, in the form intellectual property.

As a result of GFC registering its personality, any unique and distinctive attributes of the club personality may receive statutory protection against the deliberate infringement and unauthorised economic exploitation of those images by others.

Aspects of the club's personality that are classified as images include such elements as its insignia, club strip, catch phrases, slogans, merchandise and - most importantly - images of the club's players wearing the GFC strip.

Keith Laker, Chief Executive of Icondia, said: "We pointed out the well-documented difficulties that Arsenal FC had more than a decade ago, in attempting to control the sale of unauthorised memorabilia. The point was not lost on GFC, which despite its size, is extremely forward-thinking on all matters concerning image."

Registration of image rights makes good legal and commercial sense, as for a modest cost and simple registration process, the law provides statutory protection of all unique and distinctive elements of a personality, be it an individual, club or corporation.

The IRO brings clarity to an area of law where at present there is often ambiguity as to what can be considered as image rights.  Furthermore, registration using the Guernsey law does not necessarily negate any existing contractual arrangements regarding image rights.  On the contrary, this law potentially strengthens those other arrangements.

Mr Laker added: "I would urge any club, football or otherwise, which is established or up and coming to seriously consider registering its personality. It is a simple and inexpensive process, which compliments and extends the protection offered by other forms of intellectual property protection, such as copyright and trade marks. Put simply, from both a legal and commercial perspective, image rights registration makes considerable sense."  

Commenting on the registration, John Loveless, Company Secretary of Guernsey FC, said: "We are delighted to have been advised and assisted in this matter by Icondia and to be the first football club to take advantage of this ground breaking legislation as we continue our journey within the English Non-League System."

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