Guernsey: Guernsey Approves World-First Image Rights Legislation
Last Updated: 5 December 2012

The Guernsey parliament has approved world-first image rights legislation.

The States of Guernsey's approval of The Image Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance, 2012, means that from Monday 3 December a person or company can register their image rights at the Guernsey Registry under the protection of local law.

Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance - the promotional agency of the Island's finance industry, said: "What this means is that Guernsey has become the first place in the world where a person can formally register their image rights. These image rights are not necessarily just images per se but also other characteristics associated with the person.

"We believe that the new legislation will be attractive to global brands and in particular sports and entertainment stars where their image is a particularly important asset both to be protected and exploited for commercial gain. The hope is that they will use Guernsey for its unique image rights capability as well as the Island's broader wealth management offering to service other needs.

"Guernsey has a long and strong heritage in providing services to private clients from around the world in a well-regulated environment. As a result, the Island has built significant private banking capacity, extensive experience and expertise in trust and company administration and the Guernsey Government has also agreed to introduce foundations into local law, with Privy Council approval expected early next year.

"This new image rights legislation adds another complementary element to our offering and we will be promoting it heavily to clients and their advisers in the coming months. We will start by focusing on the UK and, in particular, London, which remains our principal source of new business, by hosting an event in the city during January next year. We will also be publicising the legislation in the US and the increasingly important Asian markets."

The new legislation works on two levels: The registered personality right and the underlying registered image rights, which are not necessarily just images but can be any characteristic associated with the personality, such as signature, voice, mannerism and gestures. 

Miss Le Poidevin added: "Being able to register image rights in an environment which recognises them by statute provides greater clarity in the definition of rights and a higher degree of protection from unauthorised use by third parties than is currently on offer in any other jurisdiction. This is the basis for a valuation of the rights and therefore provides a platform for increased economic benefit to be derived, including through the management, structuring and licensing of the rights.

"This legislation will be particularly useful in helping to prevent high profile individuals from becoming the centre of disputes when they die. Succession planning provisions within the Guernsey law mean that registered rights can be treated as part of the deceased's estate and it can then be specified how these rights are dealt with and who should benefit from them."

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