Image Rights

Briffa has the expertise to help you get the most from your image and personality rights.

We act for a number of well known organisations and well known personalities and sports people . Our know-how in this field helps to get the best deals, maximising value while retaining brand value.

The internet has created many new celebrities or at least those with a sizeable personal brand, such as on Youtube and that brand has a value. The viral nature of the web means that celebrities can be created almost overnight. Protecting a personal brand in these situations should be considered at an early stage.

To assist clients to get the right overall strategy to generate income and maintain reputation and popularity, our personality and image rights team works with the brand, merchandising, licensing and sponsorship and data protection team to establish an image strategy that works for the individual or organisation we are working for.

Valuable image rights need to be protected by contract

Current English law does not protect image rights in a stand alone way. Consequently, valuable rights will need to be protected using a combination of legal methods, as appropriate.

Typically, to maximise and protect personality and image rights, the following are possibilities :-

Licensing contracts – The rights granted will need to be carefully defined, especially given the significant number of channels and ways in which an image or personality can be exploited – for example, these may include, voice, initials, team or squad number, electronic, animated or computer-generated.

Passing off claims  For example, if an athlete discovered a company using  his or her image on a range of perfumes, in order to pursue an action in passing off, they would need to demonstrate significant reputation or goodwill and loss as a consequence. It is worth considering also the position of businesses who may have paid significant sums to be associated with or endorsed by the celebrity or sports person.

Such a business may already have insisted on a clause in that lucrative contract that the celebrity will take action against any infringement, to protect it’s own position and investment.

Trade mark protection – celebrities can register their name and other words/logos as trade marks, but this only prevents the unauthorised use of words/phrases/images the same as or similar to their trade marks; interestingly, some music stars such as Taylor Swift appear to see significant value in online hashtags and to seek to register trade marks based on perceived value in these.

Copyright – can prevent the use of specific images, but only if the celebrity owns copyright.

Rely on Briffa’s legal experience and judgement

We act for and advise clients ranging from very famous and established personalities through to people who are just becoming known or where there are good reasons to see fame and success on the horizon.

Our expertise and experience means we offer a cost effective, reliable legal offering. Clients get the right level of protection and advice on maximising rights and the benefit of our know how. For example, go to any market almost anywhere in the world and you will see famous personality images on t-shirts – deciding who to take action against and when can be equally if not more important as getting a contract or trademark in place.

Related content
Click on the links to the right



Rihanna's image rights


IP contracts and licences

Book a free meeting or ask us a question.