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Image Rights Register opens for business

At just after midnight on Monday 3rd December the Guernsey IP Office received its first application for registered personalities and associated image rights. Guernsey is the first Office to receive image rights applications for registration and the early application demonstrate the potential for these rights in the future.

Deputy Kevin Stewart, Commerce and Employment Minister said "I welcome the commencement of the Image Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance 2012 which was approved by the States of Guernsey on the Wednesday 28th November. The commencement of the Ordinance, together with the opening of the Intellectual Property Office for registrations will bring new economic opportunities.

The commerciality of this opportunity will stretch beyond the specialist management of intellectual property through the related financial management services in which our Island specialises. It is part of the Department's drive to enable new economic opportunities and is supportive of the States objectives to develop and diversify our economy The Ordinance is Bailiwick legislation and as such applies throughout the Bailiwick and could also provide opportunities in Alderney and Sark".

The Office is delighted to have received an application for the corporate and personal branding specialist, Lesley Everett of Walking TALL International Ltd. This application in the professional/business field is an early indication of the breadth of the Image Rights legislation.

The industry has expressed strong support for the introduction of the legislation both as a new product and as a service which can create value added opportunities in related financial and legal services. Over one hundred advocates, financial service providers and intellectual property specialists have attended the training courses provided by the Office on the new legislation. The course also forms one of the requirements for qualification as a registered image rights agent.

Mr John Ogier, Guernsey Registrar of Intellectual Property explained "the interest in the UK and internationally covers the wide fields of sports rights, the entertainment industries of music, arts and media, business leaders and the managers of the estates of deceased persons for succession planning and charitable works.

The legislation has been carefully drafted to balance the commercial interests for a strong right with the interests of protecting public expression and freedom of news reporting. There are therefore specific provisions ensuring the continued right to news reporting together with public expressions of parody, satire and use of images in research, education, public administration and law enforcement".

The legislation specifically makes the applications and the register available for viewing on the internet. This transparency, as well as publicising the protection of image rights will support the Island's reputational interests.

As for any new product, registrations may take time to build, but even if other jurisdictions follow our lead, Guernsey will have firmly established a reputable market presence from which the Island can then benefit from mutual protection agreements.

3 December 2012