Business operators in Grenada have been served with letters from a local law firm warning them against using the work or photos of Olympics 400 metres champion, Kirani James without getting the necessary permission from his agents.
Since Kirani’s victory on August 6 at the London games, a number of companies and individuals have expressed their appreciation in various fashions including advertisements, as well as printed fabrics including t-shirts depicting the Grenadian icon.
The 20-year old athletic sensation who is a resident of Gouyave, St John won the 400 metres gold medal in a personal best time of 43.94 secs.
However, a number of local companies and individuals in recent weeks have been receiving legal notices to immediately cease and desist from publishing advertisements or other images that infringes on the protected works of Kirani.
The letters issued by law office – Wilkinson, Wilkinson & Wilkinson Chambers Representatives for Nehemiah Athletic Promotions Ltd, Athletic Managers for Kirani James.
The notice, under the headline banner, INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT OF KIRANI JAMES”, reads in part: “It has come to our attention that Copyright infringement of the protected works of Kirani James is occurring within Grenada and beyond whether for cash or kind and it is being used without the permission of Kirani James or his Agent which consist of: printed material, advertisements bearing his images and other material bearing the image of Kirani James.
“Unfortunately, your action unlawfully, misappropriate and misuse the works and deprives us of the benefits, privileges, and profits from the exclusive use of the copyrighted works. We have not authorised your use of the works for commercial purposes or otherwise save and except to persons and companies that have entered into an agreement with us. Therefore, as the copyright owner, we demand that you immediately cease and desist from using and from permitting any third party to use the works”.
The notice warned that “If anyone or entity persist with the infringement ….we will be forced to pursue Legal action against you.”
Speaking on the popular Sunday’s with George Grant, General Secretary of the Grenada Olympic Committee (GOC), Veda Bruno-Victor admitted that her body also received one such letter, adding that they have to be very cautious in the manner in which they proceed in branding items about “King Kirani”.
Bruno-Victor said she spoke to Kirani’s agents to inform them that Grenada is a small country and that the people do not fully understand what they are supposed to be doing in terms of James’ image.
“We don’t want to ambush market anything … but at the same time we have to be cautious how we proceed”, she said.
The programme host also admitted that he received four notices from the law office of Wilkinson, Wilkinson & Wilkinson Chambers on the issue of use of James’ image.
Other entities that received letters from the law firm included the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA), Telecoms provider, Digicel, media outlets and major advertising companies.
Tourism Minister, Dr. George Vincent has announced that government was able to secure the use of Kirani’s image for tourism promotion from his agents.
James has been appointed by the Tillman Thomas-led government as a Tourism Ambassador for the country and handed a diplomatic passport for his travels around the world.