‘Sports Image’ and the Law
9 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2010
Date Written: 2010
In the context of what is called the new media environment, the term “sports image” is used meaning the athlete’s right to their own image as well as the right to exploit commercially a sports event.
Under Greek law sports events are not recognised as original intellectual products, so they are not protected under the Law on Intellectual Property. Individuals (sportsmen) producing the sports event, are not aware of the result, i.e. its final form. The elements of competition and improvisation combined with physical contact are enough to guarantee a different result every time, no matter how many times the event is repeated. This is why a special legal provision had to be introduced.
To what the athlete’s right to their own image is concerned the Greek legislator seems to have defined the personality right in a general way allowing thus the content of this right to be constantly expanded in order to cover for the ever growing needs of our times. As a result enumerating all the rights contained in the general personality right is neither possible nor useful. It is up to the bearer of the right to decide each time whether their personality is offended in any way. The protection of one’s image right does not come without restrictions or exceptions. Also the athlete as a bearer of the right may “legitimise” an infringement. The most common legal tools in order to justify an otherwise illegal infringement in most European countries are the athlete’s consent or the doctrine of the acceptance of risk or the public’s right to information.
The purpose of the present paper is to present the Greek law concerning the protection of the sports image as well as the exceptions to this protection and to compare the provisions to those of other European countries in order to show that more often than not similar problems inevitably result to similar solutions.
Keywords: Sports Image, Sports Law, Intellectual Property, Comparative Law, Copyright
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