Followers and fans of TNSFC may have noticed a very recent addition to the club’s website and media pages. Alongside their name, team image and logo a little black triangle has appeared, with the white lettering IR inside. Why the black triangle? Well, the answer is straightforward – TNSFC has just become the first professional football club in the world to register its own Image Rights (IR) on the innovative Guernsey Public Register. And the black triangle is akin to a “Trademark” TM, notifying the public of an image that has been registered.
This unique legislation came into being in December 2012 and was created to provide protection against abuse and unauthorised exploitation of one’s image by a third party. As the recent and unfinished Rihanna v Topshop case has illustrated, there is no Image Rights protection offered under UK law. The Guernsey IR Law has come in to breach that gap and offer individuals, groups and corporates codified protection globally via a public registration of any image related to that personality. In addition, the registration of the image creates a tangible asset that can then be valued, licensed and even monetised.
For football clubs such as TNSFC, in addition to protecting its own brand, the great value lies in the protection that this law can give to one of the greatest assets of any professional club – its Academy Players and Youth Teams. Not only can the club use the IR registration to protect against any abuse of a player’s images, but it can also put IR contracts in place that can add real value to both the player and the club. These contracts can in effect help a club to negotiate better deals for their players and thereby recoup at least some of that great investment of time and money put into the development of the future Gareth Bales of this world. By doing this, the club actually gains more control over the player, and the player’s best interests. With more and more clubs joining this IR pack, the black triangle is already starting to be talked about in wider circles – but you probably heard it here first.
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