Guernsey: Protecting Players’ And Clubs’ Image Rights

Last Updated: 16 December 2013
Article by Sally Wilkinson

Most Read Contributor in Guernsey, September 2019

Sally Wilkinson, Managing Director of Harbour Intellectual Property, examines the protection offered by Guernsey's new image rights law.

As we all know, professional players have the potential to use their images for commercial purposes and to continue to generate an income from them long after they have given up playing. These images need protection just as any other valuable property does. Similarly, clubs have valuable images that can be protected or exploited financially in much the same way. The island of Guernsey recognised that there was no official register of image rights and introduced the world's first register at the end of 2012. One needs to join 3 dots to understand the value of Guernsey Image Rights, "Registration – Internet Infringement – London Enforcement".

Put simply, following registration on the Guernsey Register, the rights will be infringed by the inevitable third party use on the web and orders of the Guernsey Court enforced in London.

Who can register?

Any individual such as a player or manager can register their personal image. It is also possible for clubs to register their own images in a similar way. Such an image could take the form of team photographs (of historic as well as current squads), mascots, badges, shirts, etc., and other branding inextricably linked to the clubs, even club songs. It is also possible for a team to have a registered image, with the image changing as team members come and go.


To register an image will involve the services of an officially approved Guernsey image rights agent.

Registered images can include:

  • A name or nickname
  • A signature, likeness, appearance or any other distinctive or personal attribute, for example goal celebrations
  • Club badges, strips and mascots
  • A player's on-field and off-field persona

Benefits of registration

A player's status may take years to become well-established. However, once it has been established and even after his retirement, there remain tremendous commercial opportunities by way of product endorsement through the use of the player's celebrity image well into their old age and beyond. Many clubs already have contracts for the exploitation of their players' image rights and registration of an image gives legal certainty as to who is the proprietor and who holds the rights to control its use. Because a registered image can survive the death of the player there are advantages in registration to protect the image right as part of a succession plan and other the player's estate a source of continuing income. In certain circumstances the player may choose to assign their image to a special purpose vehicle in a tax neutral jurisdiction for tax planning.

For instance for non-UK players moving to a Premier League club there may be potential advantages in having any pre-existing image rights held in a trust to ensure that the income they generate remains, as far as possible, UK tax free. Likewise there could be UK tax advantages in a young player giving his image to a trust whilst he was relatively unknown. At that early stage in his career it would attract no significant value thereby avoiding any capital gains tax treatment upon the disposal of that right to the trust.

Clubs can also register their own iconic images as protection against their misuse on unauthorised merchandise or websites. We all know of the recent spate of false Facebook sites which wrongly purport to be those of the players when they are in fact operated by unconnected and often malevolent third parties. It is also not unusual for the immediate family of a well-known player to be targeted by the press and their images may also be protected by registration.

Protecting an image from infringement

A player's or club's registered image rights may be infringed by the unauthorised commercial use of their registered image, for example for illicit marketing or product endorsement purposes. These will appear unavoidably on the internet triggering infringement of the Guernsey right.

Remedies for infringement

Infringement entitles the player or club to a legal remedy dependent on the particular circumstances of the infringement. One very interesting use of the register is its potential to enable the taking down of images from the internet once they no longer remain part of current news. This could be of tremendous interest to players who do not want photographs of their past youthful misdemeanours available on line indefinitely and which might affect any future sponsorship potential.

Assuming that the image right of the person has been infringed then the Guernsey Court may order the removal of the infringing image, an order enforceable in the United Kingdom.

The defences

Not all unauthorised use of a registered image can be considered an infringement for example use of one in "current" news reporting, commentary and satire is permissible, however, stale news and internet coverage is not.


The Guernsey Image Rights Register offers the unique ability to officially register images in a politically stable and tax neutral jurisdiction that has drafted specific legislation for the purpose, and to protect them from unauthorised use.

As the Guernsey Image Rights Register has only been open since late 2012 its use by professional footballers has yet to be fully explored, although there are several other sportsmen and women already registered. Very clearly Guernsey has introduced a world's first for protecting the image rights of players and clubs.

Originally published in FC Business, November 2013.

For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit

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
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please 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