Massive changes at the state and local level mean that college athletes are now allowed to profit off of their own personal name, image, and likeness. These so-called NIL contracts have broken down the barriers that previously existed between professional athletes and college athletes. Now, students no longer need to wait until they are out of school to earn money connected to their athletic endeavors.

It is important to understand the impact that these arrangements can have on your legal rights. Specifically, a Boca Raton name, image, and likeness (NIL) lawyer can identify any potential trademark or copyright issues that arise during this process. The aim of a trustworthy sports law attorney is to help student athletes not only monetize their image but also protect their property rights to those images.

The Rise of NILs Since 2021

On July 1, 2021, Florida Statute § 1006.74 went into effect. This law states that no college athlete should face restrictions upon their ability to earn money because they are currently a student at a college or university. In accordance with this law and similar examples in other states, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) lifted its restrictions on this practice

As a result, all student athletes are now legally permitted to make money due to their roles as public figures and athletes. Examples can include:

  • Appearance fees at events
  • Charging for autographs and other memorabilia
  • Sponsoring products
  • Lending their image or likeness in advertising

While these arrangements may seem like a complete victory for student athletes, it is important to remember that these are legally binding contracts. A Boca Raton NIL attorney could provide more information about the current legal state of NIL agreements and how they can impact the lives of student athletes.

Intellectual Property Discussions Connected to NILs

At their core, all NIL agreements are a contract regarding intellectual property. This may include images of the athlete that go onto posters, videos that someone posts on social media accounts, and logos and other symbols that the public connects with the athlete. It is vital to remember that each of these pieces of IP is an asset that has an intrinsic value. All NIL agreements are arrangements to license this property to the individual or business on the other side of the deal.

Due to this, it may benefit athletes to register their intellectual property with the relevant state and federal agencies, such as the U.S. Copyright Office or the United States Patent and Trademark Office. That can include a logo that quickly identifies a product with the logo source. Filing for trademark protection on that logo ensures that it remains in the athlete’s control for the foreseeable future and prohibits others from using it to sell similar products.

These laws extend to the rights to use pictures, videos, and other forms of media. In those cases, an athlete may file for formal copyright protection as the sole owner of these IPs. A name, image, and likeness lawyer in Boca Raton could take the lead in securing IP protection with the necessary agencies.

Athletes Should Reach Out to a Boca Raton Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) Attorney

The rise of NIL IPs has led to many complex legal questions concerning the rights of student athletes. There is now a broad consensus and legal greenlight for athletes to lend their image, endorsement, or other likenesses to companies in exchange for compensation. At the same time, you have the responsibility to protect your long-term interests in this content.

A Boca Raton name, image, and likeness (NIL) lawyer could help provide this security. Our trusted attorneys work to identify your intellectual property rights and register complete legal protection so you can retain control of your name, image, and likeness far into the future. Contact Lomnitzer Law today to set up a consultation.