KINGSTON — Caught up in the euphoria of Jamaica’s outstanding performance at the just-concluded IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, Jamaicans have emblazoned the images of the star athletes on T-shirts, books, walls, and even congratulatory advertisements in the media.
But major players in local media and copyright organisations yesterday warned that persons could face serious trouble for using these images without the permission of the athletes.
“You can’t just pick up somebody’s face or name and say congratulations and think that is okay because we are in this euphoria of celebrating a victory,” said Oliver McIntosh, president and chief executive officer of local cable content provider, SportsMax.
“There needs to be a better understanding of intellectual property as it relates to a person’s image and the usage of that image,” McIntosh added.
McIntosh was supported by Media Association Jamaica Ltd executive Brian Schmidt, who raised a red flag to entities which want to run congratulatory advertisements.
“Don’t use images unless you have paid for the rights. End of story,” declared Schmidt, marketing manager of local radio station Irie FM.
The images of athletes are protected under the right of publicity, which allows a person to control the commercial value and exploitation of their name, voice or likeness.
But this is often ignored in Jamaica, and attorney-at-law Yana Samuels of the law firm Samuda & Johnson added her concerns as she noted that any misuse of an athlete’s image infringes on the rights of that athlete, as well as others who helped to create such value. (Gleaner)