Sports Image Rights give a sportsperson the right to make money off their appearance, voice, pictures, signatures, slogans, personal logos and more. Indeed, your image, your wealth! Sports Image rights allows the sportsperson to decide when, how and by whom their voice, image and name can be captured, reproduced or published, especially whereby the intention is to make money.
Kenya has seen a current trend whereby sportspeople are increasingly being sought after by companies for their marketing campaigns. It is therefore very crucial for sportspeople to now more than ever be aware of their Sports image rights so as to know how to efficiently make money from it.
This current trend in sports has not been met without certain challenges, some companies take advantage of the lack of awareness of sports people when it comes to their sports image rights and they end up profiting off the sportsperson’s image while the sportsperson do not gain.
A good example is finding your image reproduced being used to push other events that you as a sportsperson or your management team is not aware of. This would happen in group photos or even individual photos that are displayed for the public to see and react to. It is important to mention, it is your responsibility to know which right have been already allocated to your image and to what extent they can be reproduced.
Even with all this new emergence of sports people making money off of their image rights, there is still the very big issue of inadequate laws in Kenya that recognizes image rights and addresses the issue of sportspeople image rights’ being exploited. To try and curb this issue of exploitation of sportspeople’s image rights by companies, sports people are encouraged to have a lawyer present at the time of negotiating their image rights to be used to endorse the companies’ product /service and the money they will get from it.
The most important thing that needs to be present to enable sportspeople to gain money from their image rights is making an image rights contract which will state who the people in the contract are, the image rights to be used, the purpose they will be used for, the amount of time they will use it for and most importantly, the amount of money the sportsperson will gain from it.
The issue that presents itself for lawyers when negotiating the amount of money, the sportsperson is to receive from the company to use their image rights, is how to measure the sportsperson image rights to the fair amount of money the sportsperson should be paid. The lawyer can consider the sportsperson social media presence, the sports that they play, for example for a football player the lawyer will consider what is the number of followers you have on your social media platforms, whether you have celebrity status as a football player.
In conclusion Sportsperson’s Image rights are an important source of wealth for sportspeople.
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By Joan Kamau
MSA Legal Consultant