Guernsey has been promising innovative intellectual property
legislation for a while now. A lot has been done already to bring
this vision into reality. With the role of the super injunction
being hotly debated in the UK recently, the Policy letter in August
Billet reflects the far sighted and visionary approach adopted by
the Guernsey IP Office and the Commerce and Employment
This legislation, if enacted, will be a world first and will see
Guernsey bringing in a registrable image right. This IP right will
define the rights of an individual to protect their own image and
balance them against the freedom of news reporting and the public
interest. This legislation will support the strategic plan to
diversify Guernsey's economy whilst utilising Guernsey's
existing skills base. It also has the potential to create new job
opportunities and to attract business to the island.
The Policy letter sets out three reasons for proving a clear
legal code for image rights.
Image rights are high value and a fact of commercial life but
the lack of definition in law leads to uncertainty as to the extent
of the rights and the limits of valuecreation opportunities;
Clarifying the rights will include their more effective
management while also protecting the public interest by defining
the extent of the rights in law;
The Bailiwick of Guernsey could provide such a law custom-made
for image rights and the industry supports the introduction of
The Image Rights Ordinance will enable registration of a
registered personality right, a property right, which would also
provide rights in the registered personality's associated
IMAGE RIGHTS - A WORLD FIRST FOR GUERNSEY
The key features are:
Establishment of an Image Rights Register and a Registrar of
The creation of a right for a qualifying personality to be
registered on the Image Rights Register. Registrable features of a
qualifying personality will include a personal name and any other
associated distinguishing indications (such as voice, signature,
photograph, character or likeness) which identify the personality
Qualifying personalities will include any living or deceased
natural person and could extend to some non-living entities, such
as fictional characters.
A registered personality right relating to a living personality
will have indefinite duration and can continue to exist after the
death of the personality subject to regular renewal / validation of
registration on the Register of Image Rights.
There will be creation of exclusive ownership rights which may
be enjoyed and protected by the holder of a registered personality
right and which may be assigned and otherwise dealt with as
personalty, subject to relevant registration requirements.
Exceptions and limitations to the exclusive use of rights will
be created to ensure that images may be used where it is in the
public interest to do so, for example legitimate news
The rights will be designed to be fully compatible and
integrated with modern media including broadcasting, satellite
transmission, the internet and other electronic communications.
This will be particularly important in providing protection in the
mass media market.
Fees will be set following consultation with the intention that
they should be sufficient to deter frivolous but not serious
applications and will include:
Initial registration of the personality
Additional fee for each image to be entered on the
Renewal / validation of registration
Renewal / validation of each image
The States will debate the Policy letter on 28/29 September and
will then decide whether to progress to the drafting stage. The
Policy letter states that the sponsoring department would like to
see these proposals become law as soon as possible and that it
regards this proposed legislation as its most time critical
priority for new legislation. Two key factors drive this urgency.
These are the Olympic Games and 2012/13 football transfer season
running from July to August 2012. It is estimated that, subject to
approval and responses to the consultation phases, the drafting
time shall take about 4 months.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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As reported in the market updates section of this newsletter, the UAE Ministry of Economy recently reviewed the fees charged by its various departments, including the Trade Mark, Patent and Copyright Office.
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