Guernsey: Imagine You’re A Highly Successful Sports Star…

Last Updated: 8 December 2011
Article by Jason Romer

How Guernsey is positioning itself to become the key global centre for image rights registration and management.

The good

Imagine that you wake up tomorrow morning in a palatial country mansion. You're an extremely talented and highly successful sports star, well-known throughout the world and admired by millions. What would you do with this fame? Become the face of a sports brand for a large pot of cash? Keep a low profile and limit your public exposure? Use your fame to promote a charitable cause close to your heart?

Regardless of whether fame is exploited or guarded, in today's celebrity obsessed world it is important that individuals have control over the use of their name, likeness, distinctiveness and personality: their 'image'. Many jurisdictions have recognised an individual's right to their image - or 'image right' - such as the right of publicity in the US. In the UK, celebrities have sought to control their image using trade marks, data protection, passing off and advertising standards. However, very few jurisdictions have placed image rights on a statutory footing and none allow for the actual registration of these rights. Guernsey is about to change this.

On 30 September 2011, the States of Guernsey (the island's parliament) approved the drafting of a new law that will see the introduction of registrable image rights, potentially in time for London's Olympic Games and the 2012/13 football transfer season. Celebrities, sports stars and other recognisable figures (or their estate where deceased) will be able to register a Guernsey image right protecting the constituent parts of their 'image', including name, distinctive expressions, gestures, characteristics and attributes.

A recent Forbes study found that Tiger Woods is considered the most valuable sports star, with the Tiger Woods "brand" being valued at US$55 million. Nike famously paid US$200 million to Woods for 10 years of endorsement. Image rights are clearly big business. The Guernsey regime will create a recognisable and marketable asset, with potentially very significant value. Once introduced, those with an image to protect would be wise to add a Guernsey image right to their portfolio of intellectual property rights.

The tax

Now imagine the country mansion you woke up in is in Switzerland. You're scheduled to play a two-week competition in the UK later this year and, if you were to win, you would pocket £500,000. However, a sports brand pays you a significant sum for the use of your image in the US, Japan, China and Australia and, due to the UK's tax regime, your two week stay on the 'sunny' island will cost you £1 million in UK taxes. So taking part is going to leave you £500,000 out of best.

There are alternative competitions being held in other countries. A win at a German competition could net you £250,000, including payments to the German tax man. That's a £750,000 swing when compared to the UK competition. What would you do? This may be a simplified scenario, but it is very real for some of today's sports stars. The UK does not distinguish between tournament winnings and endorsement payments for the purposes of income.

HMRC will tax a proportion of global income for every day spent in the UK. This is why tennis player Rafael Nadal has chosen not to play at Queen's Club next year and why other sportspersons, such as Usain Bolt, are shunning UK competitions. Although it is impossible to predict how this area of tax may develop over the coming years, registering a Guernsey image right and structuring income through the licensing of such right could help to distinguish between a sports person's income arising from commercial endorsements and that from actually playing their sport.

The bad

So you're the face of a multi-national company and living the dream. Unfortunately, it can only go downhill from here. Let's assume you do something not befitting of your pristine image. It has the potential to destroy your reputation and subject you to intimidating media attacks. How far would you go to protect your image? Super-injunctions have developed in the English courts, evolving out of an individual's right to privacy, and create a virtual information blackout. Although privacy may be an important human right, a super-injunction could be used to protect the commercial value of a person's image.

It seems unfair that the protection of the court might be used for commercial gain. Super-injunctions are a developing tool and controversial, but they make one thing clear: a person's image warrants protection. The recent calls from the UK judiciary for parliament to establish a framework to balance the need for privacy and the freedom of the press will be answered by Guernsey's Image Rights legislation. It seems only a matter of time before other jurisdictions follow where Guernsey is leading.

Anything else?

The introduction of image rights is not the only advantage Guernsey has to offer from an IP management perspective. It may be extremely beneficial for IP holders to locate all of their IP in Guernsey. With innovative corporate structures like protected cell and incorporated cell companies, a beneficial tax regime and world class professional service providers, Guernsey is a clear choice for holding IP and other assets.

Although the full impact of Guernsey's regime is yet to be realised, the island is positioning itself to become the key global centre for image rights registration and management.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Collas Crill Guernsey
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Collas Crill Guernsey
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions