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World Online Gambling Law Report Summer Retreat 2005 Off-field Challenges Image Rights & Personality Rights Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers Thibault VERBIEST.

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Presentation on theme: "World Online Gambling Law Report Summer Retreat 2005 Off-field Challenges Image Rights & Personality Rights Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers Thibault VERBIEST."— Presentation transcript:

1 World Online Gambling Law Report Summer Retreat 2005 Off-field Challenges Image Rights & Personality Rights Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers Thibault VERBIEST Senior partner - Attorney at the Bars of Paris & Brussels -

2 Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers Background  Real Madrid and some of its players (Zidane, Beckham, Raul, Ronaldo & Luis Figo) lodged claims in France and Belgium  Against some of the biggest online bookmakers: BetandWin, Betfair, Ladbrokes, Miapuesta, Mr. Bookmaker, VC Bet and William Hill  Claims are i.a. based on the alleged use of Real Madrid players’ image and name without authorization  Images of players originate from pictures taken during official club matches

3 Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers Online football betting market: a juicy business

4 Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers Online football betting market: a juicy business  US$ 16.6 Billion European Internet betting market is expected to grow by 9.6% over the next two years  World online gambling market is estimated worth US$ 125 Billion in ten years and soon dwarf those of other Internet markets  Such figures naturally tease the lust of any sport organization, including football clubs!

5 Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers Real Madrid: second richest football club

6 Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers Real Madrid: nicest collection of players

7 Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers Real Madrid: second richest football club  US$ 299 Million income for 2004  Collection of « icon players » with Zidane, Beckham, Raul, Ronaldo and Luis Figo  From 2000 to now, a combined transfer total of US$ 200 Million, with only Becky topping US$ 41 Million transfer fee  Real owns 50% of its players’image rights and other personality right  Broadcast and matchday income remain largest sources  Temptation to get a piece of the online gambling?

8 Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers Privacy versus Information?  Court shopping?  Choice of France & Belgium by Real Madrid and its players to initiate legal proceedings is far from innocent  France & Belgium both offer a large protection to individual’s name and image based on the right of privacy and on their case law

9 Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers Privacy versus Information? France  Article 9 of the French Civil Code “ Everyone has the right of privacy. The court, without prejudice to compensation for the loss sustained, may order all measures, such as sequestration, seizure and other suitable measures to prevent or put a stop to an infringement of privacy. In the event of an emergency, these measures may be subject of an interlocutory.”  Grounded on the right to privacy, well-known people are entitled to oppose the use of their image and name for commercial or advertising purposes

10 Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers Privacy versus Information? France  The right of privacy is limited by the right of information  The right of information includes any information given by text and image that the public has a legitimated interest to know

11 Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers Privacy versus Information? Belgium  No statutory provision but protection under Belgian case law  For public people, the right to protect his/her name is also limited by the right of information

12 Real Madrid v.Online Bookmakers Privacy versus Information? Real Madrid Arguments  Players’image and name are used without authorization and come from official matches  Online bookmakers can not take advantage of the information right to justify the use of players’ name and image without authorization  The use of players’ name and image had here for only purpose the promotion of the gambling activity  Such activity is purely commercial and not informative

13 Real Madrid v.Online Bookmakers Privacy versus Information? Nature of the online betting services  Online bookmakers offer their users two linked services:  Information services (including brief sport reports and statistics)  Betting services  Into one single offer!  A net better needs information in order to make the most accurate bet on his/her picked game

14 Real Madrid v.Online Bookmakers Privacy versus Information? Nature of the online betting services  Commercial purpose of the online gambling  Not sufficient for excluding any information purpose  Most of the online sport magazine and news papers offer their readers various commercial services

15 Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers

16 A dangerous precedent for sport information?  First battle between some of the richest football clubs and online bookmakers over the control of the gambling market?  Rising importance of IP management among football’s club financing sources  Encouragement for football clubs to go further into a complete control of their players’image and name  Would render any public report of sport events quite pricy!

17 Thank you! & c OMMENTS Q UESTIONS Real Madrid v. Online Bookmakers


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