Abstract: A football team called Patiala City FC was established in the year 2015- with a number of academy grown players. In a short span of time, it came to the forefront in the Indian footballing arena. Its journey started from the third division of the football league, winning back to back promotions to the premier football league of India, currently holding the pole position in order to qualify for AFC Champions League, the equivalent to the UEFA Champions League held in Europe. Due to this feat, the club has become one of the most popular clubs in India, with a large fan base. The club has an impressive Jersey inspired from the rich culture of Punjab, a regal logo and a thumping motto “Our Blood, Our Sweat, Your Tears”. Its merchandise (Jerseys, Player memorabilia, etc.) was selling like hot cake. The Club even had a home-grown centre forward player, who was fundamental to the team’s success over the past few years. His stellar performances made him a top target for European Clubs, but with success came forth the breach of his image rights, personality as well as privacy. Lack of legal knowledge, as well as the void of law in our country, made things tumultuous both for the club and also the player to sustain their economic rights. Popular video games used his persona in the game without any consent or contract, with the player seemingly confused as to what legal action, if any, he has at his disposal and should subsequently pursue.
Though the situation narrated above is hypothetical, it might ensue that a high-calibre athlete could potentially lose out on revenue opportunities from the utilization of his image rights and suffers this breach of privacy, failing to tap in the commercial conduits which were worth fortunes, flowing from his right to publicity, along with jeopardising the position of our country’s sporting franchise. In these situations, there is nothing that the athlete or the franchise can do except for approaching the court under the outmoded facets of law. Thus, there is an increasing need for protecting the IPR in the ever-growing arena of Sports and the myriads of E-sports.
Author: Mr. Arnav Bishnoi is a 5th year student of B.A. L.L.B. (Hons.) at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala. He will be joining the disputes resolution department of Singh & Associates, New Delhi upon completion of his degree. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Achint Johri is pursuing the 3rd year of B.A. L.L.B. (Hons.) at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala. His area of interest circumscribes research in IPR & Sports Law. He may be contacted at email@example.com.
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