Guernsey could be 'world leader' in image rights laws

Guernsey could be the first place in the world to introduce specific legislation to protect image rights, if the States votes through proposals.

The Commerce and Employment Department, which is behind the plans, said it could provide a "valuable new income stream" for the Bailiwick.

It said if approved it needed to become law as soon as possible to ensure the island was the world leader.

It hopes to have the law in place before the Olympics Games in 2012.

An image right is defined as the right to control the commercial use of a person's identity and images associated with that person including distinctive expressions, characteristics or attributes.

The department said the legislation would include safeguards to ensure images could be used where they are in the public interest, to ensure the freedom of the press and for educational and private use.

If approved the legislation would involve the setting up of an image rights register and a registrar of image rights, which would be handled by the Intellectual Property Office, part of the Guernsey Registry.

John Ogier, registrar of intellectual property, said: "Intellectual property isn't a high footprint industry, doesn't require lots of resources and it fits in very well with the infrastructure we have developed in the Bailiwick."

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