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Showdown over athlete image rights
The Big Deal podcast, episode 56
Former AFL players are threatening court action against their clubs over the use of an image. It taps into a bigger, more complex issue on athlete image rights in sport.
In the lead up to this weekend’s ‘Showdown’ between AFL rivals Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power, former players and brothers Troy (Crows) and Shane (Power) Bond are considering court action over the use of an iconic image featured on the Showdown shield and medal.
It features an image of the brothers, playing for opposite teams, embracing after Showdown 2 in 1997 (five years ago the brothers talked the moment and the image for AFC Media).
Troy and Shane claim that use of the image was unauthorised and have engaged legal representation.
In the late 2000s Swans legend Leo Barry sued TAB Corp, who then sued the AFL, over unauthorised use of the image of Leo’s iconic 2005 Grand Final mark.
The matter was settled out of court and Leo now owns the rights to that image.
The question of athlete image rights, and who ‘owns’ the images and in what circumstances, have been hotly debated and contested in courts across just about every professional sport, worldwide, over many years.
Such issues are now addressed by the AFL and other major leagues through Collective Bargaining Agreements.
Tredders and Monty talk about the issue and the wider considerations, including:
What rights do past players have, whose careers pre-dated such CBAs?
How do leagues and clubs leverage player personal brands?
What is fair and reasonable for all parties?
What are the key facts around the Bond brothers’ complaint and where could the issue end up?
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