The Guernsey Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has opened a public consultation on draft laws that would for the first time anywhere in the world allow celebrities to register their personality rights as a form of intellectual property. A sports law expert said the chance for enhanced legal certainty over their image and potential financial benefits could lure celebrities to register their rights on the island.
Under the proposals seen by Out-Law.com, individuals will be able to register their personality and gain exclusive rights to exploit their image. Under the terms of the draft text this would mean celebrities could control the use of their name, or the one they are known by as well as other characteristics, such as their voice, autograph, mannerisms, likeness, appearance, expressions, gestures or "any other distinctive characteristic or personal attribute" associated with them. They would also have rights over which photographs, illustrations or videos they feature in. These image rights could also be conferred upon "fictional characters".
Images will only be deemed to be protected if they are distinctive and have "actual or potential value" and will be deemed to be 'used' if they are communicated to the public or in connection with sponsorship, among other prohibited uses.