Resources for Professional Firms

Registering image rights in Guernsey: The advantages

Guernsey member Dixcart explains the reasons for registering image rights on the island and why a number of potential "stars of the future" favour solutions provided by the jurisdiction

Guernsey's innovative image rights legislation

Dixcart Guernsey's Managing Director John Nelson explains: "Guernsey’s innovative legislation on Image Rights (IR) became law in November 2012 and it remains the only jurisdiction in the world so far where an individual, group or legal entity can register their Image Rights on a public register."

Registrations have been steady since that date, with to date 64 IR registrations for individuals and entities from sectors  including sport, entertainment, finance, business, charities and music.

Among the names registered are a number of recognisable global figures, including international sporting celebrities and an F1 motor racing team.

Why register your image rights in Guernsey?

Registrations have generally been made to evidence and defend an individual’s “valuable” image rights against unauthorised commercial exploitation and possible abuse. A Guernsey registration can add security to an existing “package of rights” providing protection against infringement and will add weight to any claims for compensation.

Other compelling reasons for registering image rights include:

  • To place the image rights within a holding structure that can licence these rights as part of a commercial enterprise
  • As part of inheritance and legacy planning. Some individuals have companies that hold the rights and receive image-related income as part of their pension planning
  • Part of a collective of individuals whose income-related earnings are managed by a club or agent. 

Reasons to register a young, hopeful “Star of the Future”

A number of young people have registered their image rights in Guernsey, including aspiring musicians, a number of footballers and talented rugby players. Listed below are several reasons why young people who currently have no recognisable significant image with the wider general public should consider registering their image rights:

  • Registering is relatively inexpensive – the Guernsey registration fee for a 10 year application is £500
  • Image protection – a deterrent against abuse and exploitation of a young person’s image
  • Additional publicity – being in the public domain, an IR registration can be used as a PR/marketing opportunity.
  • To be the first of their sport/genre to register their image rights
  • Early control for individual/club/family – clear ownership from the start can avoid “issues” of sale, ownership and exploitation in the future
  • Professional advice – with the appropriate advice relating to the valuation, assignment, licensing and sale of Image Rights, a “star of the future” can plan to manage and protect their asset before their fortune has been created.

A rising cricket star – ideal IR registration

A 19 year-old batsman has just been introduced as a member of the England Test Cricket squad. As yet there is no professional cricketer registered on the Guernsey IR register.

After an impressive debut in India, this young man is likely to become very well known. A registration of his image rights a year ago would have been very useful, as his advisers would have already put in place a framework to manage and protect his image rights.

There is nothing to stop him registering those rights today – but, as his success grows, so will the potential value of those rights, together with the associated costs and related taxes should he decide to exploit or even assign the rights formally.

Deals are undoubtedly already being discussed with this young man to maximise the use of his image for financial benefit. With an Image Rights registration, and possibly a holding structure in place, these deals could be secured in a way that protects and exploits the financial gain presented by these opportunities.

Registrations require minimal information to protect confidentiality

The IR Public Register is available via the Guernsey Registry website. Most of the registrations provide minimal details (name of personality, image(s) to be registered, date of registration and registering agent) and they give no detail regarding the ownership of these rights or the rationale behind the registration. This preserves confidentiality.

Get in touch with Dixcart for assistance with image rights in Guernsey

Dixcart's office in Guernsey can manage Image Rights applications and conduct the due diligence work necessary to submit an application. Two Dixcart managers in the Guernsey office are approved by the Guernsey Intellectual Property Office as Registered Image Rights Agents and can assist individuals seeking to register their rights and advise on the most efficient way to do so.

If you require any additional information on this topic, please contact John Nelson