In recent years, the Kenyan image rights market has experienced a steady rise with an increasing number of people making a significant amount of money through their physical images and voices, which are used either in commercials or for other marketing purposes around the country.
Besides individuals benefiting from this craze, corporates are also much awake and are always on the lookout for opportunities that come especially with known personalities in the country.
As the firms look to be recognised through these human billboards, they may attract trouble to their brands if not careful as seen recently in the case involving Harambee Stars and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama and Menengai Oil Refineries Limited.
Wanyama on Wednesday, August 7 sued the oil company for using his image without consent.
He accused the company of illegally using his photos to promote their products during the Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt last month.
He claimed that his images published by the company suggested that he had endorsed their products when he is contracted with other companies who pay him to promote their businesses.
“I did not consent to my image being used by the company. Even after I sent them an official complain, they still use my images on their website and online advertisements which is disturbing since I have a contract with other companies,” said Wanyama in an application filed at the High Court on Wednesday.
He stated that as a national hero whose actions have inspired many people, the use of his image is likely to influence consumers to buy a particular brand yet he has not gained anything from the firm.
Although he did not specify the amount, the Harambee Stars midfielder wants the company compelled to pay him damages resulting from sales of products which they used his image to advertise.
What are image rights?
Image rights, per the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), are the ability to decide when, how and by whom one’s physically recognisable features (image, voice and name) can be captured, reproduced or published.
How are they be violated?
Image rights are violated when one appropriates someone else’s name or likeness for the purpose of economic benefit without his or her consent.
With the commercial advertising market on the rise, Kenya has experienced several cases similar to Wanyama’s with another one involving former Harambee Stars striker Dennis Oliech vs East African Breweries Limited (EABL) in 2012.
He launched a complaint to the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) claiming illegal use of an image showing him and former teammates Macdonald Mariga and Bob Mugalia celebrating after Mariga’s screamer against Angola in 2011.
As it stands now, Kenyans will be waiting anxiously to see the outcome of the Wanyama case as more of such keep popping up.?
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image rightsVictor WanyamaMenengai OilMenengai Oil Refineries Limited
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