In Colombian newspaper Ámbito Jurídico´s August 1st to 14th edition, Senior Associate Joe Bonilla from our Bogota law firm shares his point of view regarding Sports Law and intellectual property during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Here´s what our Colombian Sports Lawyer had to say in his interview:

Ámbito Jurídico: What is the Olympic Charter?

Joe Bonilla Gálvez: The Olympic Charter is a set of fundamental principles and norms for Olympiads adopted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the organization and celebration of the Olympic Games, that all natural and judicial persons participating are to follow, such as athletes, trainers, technicians, and journalists.

The principal objectives of the Olympic Charter are (i) to determine and regulate the fundamental principles and values of Olympicism, (ii) to serve as statues of the IOC, (iii) to define the rights and obligations of the IOC, the international sports federations and the National Olympic Committees, and the Organizational Committee of the Olympic Games.

Á.J.: What are the Olympic properties?

Joe Bonilla Gálvez: Generally speaking, the “Olympic properties” are a set of elements that are distinct to the Olympic Games. Conformant to articles 7 to 14 of the Olympic Charter, the Olympic Properties include the Olympic logo, flag, slogan, emblems, hymn, call, torches, and naming, all of which are visual or audio representations of an association, connection, or any other tie with the Olympic Games, Olympic Movement, or any of its constitutive parts. Olympic properties also include the World Mark and the Games’ mascot.

Á.J.: Who can benefit from financial gains from the Olympic Games?

Joe Bonilla Gálvez: The IOC is the lawful owner of all of rights to organization, exploitation, broadcasting, recording, representation, reproduction, access and dissemination of the Olympic Games. To this extent, the IOC is the only entity legally allowed to use the Olympic Games and Olympic properties for lucrative, commercial, or advertising purposes.

Á.J.: What precautions should the Colombian press take when transmitting news relating to the Games?

Joe Bonilla Gálvez: Anyone planning to use information about the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, for commercial or lucrative ends, direct or indirect, must follow the guidelines established by the IOC for those individuals diffusing information without rights to information. The Olympic Charter, along with the “News Access Rules Applicable for the Broadcast of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, Rio de Janeiro, 5-21 August 2016” serve as the guiding rules for the bogota law firm what does law have to do with the Olympic Gamesabove.

For example, amongst other guidelines, non title holders seeking to publicize information about the Olympic games via television can do so during news programs, using a maximum of six minutes of Olympic material per day, featured in no more than three news programs per day, with a limit of two minutes of Olympic content in each of the news programs which must each be separated by intervals of at least three hours.

It is understood that title holders to the rights of the Olympic Games may broadcast and share information regarding the Games within the terms agreed to by the IOC.

Á.J.: Which types of law are in play during the Olympics?

Joe Bonilla Gálvez: Many fields of law are directly related to the Olympic Games. To begin, Intellectual Property Law serves to protect, amongst others, the rights of the author and related themes (like rights to broadcast), image copyrights and property rights regarding the Olympic brand. By the same token, Commercial law comes into play in relation to contracts about patronage, publicity and image rights, and more.

However, the area of practice that will be most important during the games is that of Sports Law, including the decisions of the Court of Arbitration for sport (CAS). This entity will be established temporarily in Rio to make decisions such as, most recently, establishing whether to exclude Russian athletes from the Games for supposedly threatening global rules against doping. These allegations must be tried by attorneys under the regulations of the IOC, the Executive Commission or the Disciplinary Commission of the COI, the international federations (IF) and the World Anti-Doping Code (WAC) of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Á.J.: What types of national and international norms are applicable to Rio 2016?

Joe Bonilla Gálvez: First, the Olympic Charter is that statute that all participants must follow. Other regulating bodies include the IF, the National Olympic Committees and the WADA, the Arbitration Code of the CAS, the applicable norms and treaties for copyrights and of the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Berne Convention for the protection of authors, the Rome Convention for the protection of performers, and more. Moreover, in Colombia, the Political Constitution, the 2000 Andina Decision 486, and laws 23 (1982), 44 (1993), 232 (1995) and the Penal Code must also be taken into account.

Á.J.: How important is Sports Law in Colombia?

Joe Bonilla Gálvez: Sports law in Colombia has been an increasingly important area of practice, especially with the rise of young attorneys perceiving this area of law as a possibility to combine their passion for sports into their profession. Still, we face major challenges to the rise of this domain as it struggles to acquire the development, respect, and importance necessary for development in this country.

We have noted with enthusiasm the interest of various federations, sports clubs, and other entities charged with governing the future of sports in Colombia to seek the counsel of experts in the field, in an attempt to render the progress of sports more formal and professional. Notwithstanding, there is still a lot of work to be done in order to convince all actors of the opportunities and benefits that can result from the implementation of a more professional treatment of sports in Colombia. In the same way, we see that there is huge gap in the definition of rules of the game, which opens the door for the participation of lawyers in this dynamic field of law.

Joe Bonilla Gálvez

Academic experience: After graduating with a degree in law from the Catholic University of Colombia, specialist in Labor Law and Industrial Relations from Externado University, and master in Direction of Sports Entities from the Institute of Sports Studies (Kernaba) from the University of Barcelona.

Notable work: In Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados, Joe has executed work as a junior associate, paralegal services, and administrative director.

Current position: Senior Associate Attorney at Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados.

Find the original publication in the digital version of Ámbito Jurídico.