Intellectual Property

French Law No. 2017-261, dated March, 1st 2017, aiming to preserve the ethic of sport, strengthen the regulation and transparency of professional sport and improve the competitiveness of clubs, known as "Braillard" law, was published in the French Official Journal on March, 2nd 2017.

Among several provisions, one of them now allows sports federations and professional clubs to remunerate professional athletes and trainers for the commercial exploitation of their privacy rights (name, voice, image ...) with royalties and no longer with a salary.

Article L. 222-2-10-1 of the French Code of Sport enables to distinguish between the remuneration of the athlete and/or the coach for their sporting activity, paid with a salary, and the remuneration for the exploitation of their image (in particular for advertising), paid with royalties.

The remuneration with royalties will thus be possible if the physical presence of the professional athlete is not required for the exploitation of his image and if this remuneration is not related to the salary received for his athletic performance but to the sales revenue or to the exploitation of the attributes of his personality.

The main purpose of this reform is to avoid athletes and trainers from having to pay social contributions on these remunerations, but they will still have to declare them to the tax authorities as non-commercial profits or industrial profits.

The law still have to be completed by establishing detailed rules for the calculation and allocation of this image right.

National agreements or collective agreements, concluded by discipline, should also provide a framework to avoid any abusive use of this new remuneration, by fixing a royalty cap for the athlete or professional coach, as well as a minimum remuneration through the employment contract.