The Legal 500


United Kingdom > London > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Media and entertainment


Index of tables

  1. Media and entertainment
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

Bates Wells Braithwaite’s Sean Egan provides specialist theatre and film advice to clients including the Royal Shakespeare Company, English National Opera, the Young Vic and Random Dance. He advised MJE Productions on Ghost - The Musical, and Cadells on the Sooty brand. Erica Crump advised Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre; Philip Trott’s clients include Endemol; and former film producer Lawrence Simanowitz advises on copyright, freedom of information and alternative financing. Rupert Earle handles media litigation. In addition to its commercial work, the firm also has expertise in the subsidised and charity sectors.

Bray & Krais, Solicitors has a team of ‘genuine experts with great knowledge and experience’. Music lawyer Richard Bray is ‘at the top of his game’ in terms of the representation of performers, and the ‘clear, concise and approachable’ Mark Krais advises on live events. Simon Dixon’s ‘clear, straightforward’ advice is ‘hugely appreciated’. Highlights included advising on the Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Tour and the Stone Roses Reunion Tour, while new clients include Ed Sheeran and Quest Management.

Clintons provides ‘the right balance of scale and personal service’ to songwriters, artists and producers. The ‘enthusiastic, direct’ John Cohen and James Jones, who is commended for his ‘brilliant, lucid drafting’, are advising Sir Tim Rice and David Ian Productions on From Here to Eternity, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Bodyguard. New clients include Act Productions and BeckmanUnicorn. Music lawyers Peter Button and Andrew Myers advise Muse and The Who. Nicky Stein represents new acts Gotye and Haim. Digital licensing specialist Tom Frederikse advises Mind Candy and Virgin Media. Philip Stinson’s clients include writer and director Scott Walker. Litigator Andrew Sharland acts for Syco, and Roddy Chisolm Batten has been representing various celebrities in phone-hacking cases. ‘Highly skilled litigator’ David Griffiths, who represents Peter Andre, shows ‘attention to detail’ and provides good client service.

Chris Hanson heads DLA Piper UK LLP’s team, which combines ‘exceptional technical ability with commercial acumen’. Clients include major studios Paramount Pictures and Universal, and producers Clerkenwell Films, Abbottvision and Fremantlemedia. TV and broadcasting specialist Michael Ridley acts for Lionsgate. Nicholas West and Nick Fitzpatrick advise the FA Premier League, the Football League and Manchester City FC on broadcasting rights and sponsorship arrangements, and Fitzpatrick advised ESPN on the sale of its UK business and arrangements with BT. The ‘quick, commercial, solution-focused’ Duncan Calow advises Pan, Random House, Palgrave and Orion on traditional and electronic publishing. Lee McGuirk was promoted to the partnership. Online gambling specialist Stephen Ketteley is highly regarded, and litigator Simon Levine is ‘responsive to commercial imperatives’.

Clients appreciate Davenport Lyons’ ‘good service and industry knowledge’. Kevin Bays’ publishing team acts for MGN, with Robin Shaw advising Private Eye. ‘Outstanding’ music lawyer Michelle Brown, who provides ‘thoughtful, well-reasoned advice’, acted for BMG Music Rights on post-acquisition reorganisations of Chrysalis Group and Bug Music Group. Nigel Davies advised The Third Company on the Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Tour. Film and TV work includes advising Aardman Animations on production and financing. Richard Moxon, Sam Tatton-Brown and Paul Mustafa advised Scott Free Films on Japan in a Day; Dearheart Productions on The Last Hurrah; and new client Blue Zoo Productions on CBeebies series Q Pootle 5. Adam Glass joined Lewis Silkin LLP.

Farrer & Co enjoys an ‘excellent reputation’. Peter Wienand recently advised the British Library on e-publishing regulation, and Newsfax on its printing contract with Associated Newspapers; Henry Sainty defended the state-owned Macedonian national broadcaster against a High Court claim; and Julian Pike advises Bauer Consumer Media on pre-publication matters. Anthony Misquitta is recommended for copyright and IP advice.

Clients praise the ‘efficiency and creative problem-solving’ of Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP’s cross-departmental team. Practice head Tim Johnson, who is ‘a great out-of-the-box thinker’, and the ‘knowledgeable, thorough and fast’ Kami Naghdi are advising Rocket Pictures and Exclusive Media/Hammer; and Johnson and David Naylor are advising Lionsgate on a video-on-demand project. Christine Phillips advises Viacom, MTV and Nickelodeon. Digital media expert Phil Lee’s clients include Nintendo, and corporate media partner Andrew Blankfield advises BBC Worldwide. Derek Hill, Nick Rose and Barry Smith are also recommended.

At media litigation boutique Forbes Anderson Free, ‘fantastic litigator’ Andrew Forbes recently assisted the BPI in obtaining orders requiring ISPs to block websites which facilitate copyright infringement. Other clients include Universal Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and performers such as Jessie J. Dominic Free represents EMI Records, Warner/Chappell Music and MCPS-PRS, and advises Macmillan Publishers on copyright issues. Martyn Bailey recently acted for Ministry of Sound Recordings and Beggars Banquet Records. The team’s film and television clients include film producers Alki David, Samantha Tromans and George Festing represents Turner Broadcasting Europe, advertising agency Adam&EveDDB and Babyshambles. Dominic Bray joined from K&L Gates LLP.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s film and TV practice is ‘excellent at closing multi-party contracts’, and Jonathan Berger is an ‘incisive negotiator’. Practice head Medwyn Jones advised Neal Street Productions on Call the Midwife, The Hollow Crown and a series of films of Shakespeare’s history plays. Peter Armstrong advised Universal on Snow White and the Huntsman and Fast and Furious 6. ‘Excellent’ theatre lawyer Neil Adleman is advising Warner Bros Theatre Ventures on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Playful Productions on The Audience and the National Theatre on War Horse. ‘Able, creative and personable’ music practice head Chloe Wright advises Universal Music Group. Paul Jones and Adam Mitton combine ‘legal knowledge and commercial understanding’, and represent clients including Omnifone. Other clients include Jamie Cullum and Conor Maynard. E-commerce and technology head Mark Phillips advises Take Two and Geomerics. The ‘exceptionally hardworkingAlan Moss advised Microsoft on digital entertainment service Zune, and Tony Ballard advises on cutting-edge broadcasting and digital media. Shireen Peermohamed heads the publishing team, with associate Alex Hardy noted for her ‘commercial experience’. The team acts for Oxford University Press, Penguin Books and new client Hachette. John Kelly joined from Schillings, while Paul Cairns has moved in-house.

Lee & Thompson LLP is recommended for its ‘expertise, response times and team strength’. The ‘inquisitive, proactiveLawrence Engel heads the music team, which acts for BMG Chrysalis, Universal Music and CMO Management, and advised the Spice Girls on the Olympics 2012 closing ceremony. Leading litigator Gordon Williams recently represented One Direction. ‘Calm, experienced’ managing partner Andrew Thompson also acts for recording artists and songwriters. Reno Antoniades, who leads an 18-lawyer film practice, ‘closes complicated deals with minimum fuss’, and recently advised Revolution Films on Rush. Richard Lever heads the television practice. Mark Ashelford and Mark Stafford advised Telefónica on digital content licensing, and attracted new clients including House of Beth and online cinema MUBI. The ‘connected and knowledgeableJeremy Gawade heads the talent team. ‘Wise, experienced adviserMalcolm Murray and ‘thoughtfully incisive’ litigator Mike Brookes are also recommended.

Michael Simkins LLP’s practice head Paddy Grafton Green wins praise for his ‘great brain and wonderful manner’. Jonathan Blair, who is recommended for his ‘industry knowledge and attentive service’, advised Red Box Films/Passion Productions on the Oscar and BAFTA winning documentary Searching For Sugar Man; and is also advising JK Rowling’s production company on the BBC TV adaptation of The Casual Vacancy. Ed Baden-Powell and managing partner Euan Lawson, who ‘exudes calm, capable common sense’, represented new client BMG on the Mute and Sanctuary music catalogue acquisitions. Lawson and ‘strong tactician’ Paddy Gardiner represented the Icebreaker Members Action Group against HMRC in relation to tax relief for music financing. On the talent side of the practice, clients include Iron Maiden and David Bowie. Well-respected litigator Gideon Benaim joined from Schillings.

Olswang LLP combines ‘immense sector knowledge with a practical approach’. Film and TV practice head Jacqueline Hurt advised Magnolia Mae Films and Baby Cow on the production and financing of independent British film Philomena. Media group head Mark Devereux and Selina Potter, who leads the broadcasting team, advise UK terrestrial broadcasters and multi-channel operators such as Viacom, AETN and Discovery. Stephen Hermer advised ITV on its acquisition of So Television. The publishing team advised Reed Business Information on the sale of Totaljobs Group. Mark Bertram advised Yattendon Group on the sale of Iliffe News and Media group to joint venture platform Local World. Guardian Media Group is another key client. Clive Gringras, who is ‘outstanding in all things technology’, advises clients such as Raspberry Pi. ‘Exceptionally practical and effective’ music group head John Enser advised ITV networks on music rights. Other key clients include Universal Music and Warner Music. Ross McKean joined from Baker & McKenzie LLP, while Tony Leifer has joined the Charity Commission.

Osborne Clarke’s ‘highly recommended’ practice is underpinned by the firm’s technology and advertising expertise. Marquee clients include Nintendo, Amazon and Virgin Media. Nick Johnson advises Facebook and Expedia on advertising, sponsorship and digital marketing. Mark Webber assisted with the launch of online film store EE Film. Head of interactive entertainment Paul Gardner and privacy expert Sue Gold advised new client Wargaming. Ray Berg’s publishing team advised UBM on its acquisition of a 50% stake in Canada Newswire JV. The digital media team was reinforced by the hire of John Davidson-Kelly from YouView.

Media litigator Keith Mathieson heads RPC’s 40-lawyer team, which provides ‘fast, efficient advice founded on rich experience’, and counts Bloomsbury, Faber & Faber and Random House among its roster of clients in newspaper and book publishing and digital media. Mathieson has been advising Associated Newspapers on the Leveson Inquiry, and successfully defended Google against a claim concerning ISPs’ liability for hosted material. The ‘sharp, perceptive and approachableDavid Hooper is advising CBS on a potential production order application by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Oliver Bray operates at the forefront of digital media, advising clients including Fox International. Sanjay Pritam, whose ‘understated style belies a steely approach to negotiation’, advises Harmsworth Printing. Paul Joseph was promoted to the partnership. Former practice head Jaron Lewis has joined the judiciary.

Reed Smith LLP has a ‘precise, responsive’ team. The ‘exceptionally conscientious and diligent’ Michael Maxtone-Smith and Richard Philipps advise on film financing and production, with Philipps recently acting for Potboiler Productions on the production of A Most Wanted Man. Askandar Samad joined from DLA Piper UK LLP. Stephen Edwards heads the broadcasting practice, which ‘delivers the highest-quality advice and support’. Nick Swimer has proved to be ‘a major addition to the team’ since joining from Channel Four. Edwards and Emma Lenthall represented the BBC in negotiations with the PRS and Eos, the new society representing Welsh composers. Edwards acted for RTÉ on carriage and rights clearance agreements for the transmission of its television channels to viewers in Northern Ireland on the Sky, Virgin Media and DTT platforms. Music lawyer and digital media expert Gregor Pryor, who wins praise for his ‘keen judgement and sensible, reliable advice’, advised Microsoft on the launch of Xbox Music, and Lovelive on the live streaming of Madonna’s MDNA show in Paris. The firm has been appointed to the ITV panel, and HBO and Vevo are also new clients.

Russells Solicitors’ ‘premier’ music practice represents clients such as Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, and Gavin Maude acts for Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, the Saturdays and Mika. Simon Esplen’s clients include Florence and the Machine, Ellie Goulding and Katy B. Senior partner Chris Organ represents George Michael, JK Rowling and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. Highly respected litigator Steven Tregear acts for record companies and publishers, and represents celebrity clients in privacy matters. Jo Brittain was promoted to the partnership.

Sheridans provides ‘consistently top-notch advice and service’. Jeremy Roberts and Robin Hilton, who ‘always goes the extra mile’ for clients, advise producers, financiers and distributors, including Group M Entertainment. Recent projects include Pitch Perfect, Before I Go to Sleep and Search Party. Roberts is also advising new client CBS on America’s Next Top Model. Head of film and TV Peter McInerney acts for clients including Carnival Film and TV (producers of Downton Abbey) and theatre clients including the Almeida. The ‘extremely thorough and quickClaire Lewis advised on Spice Girls musical Viva Forever!. The ‘smart, knowledgeableJames Kay’s clients include Sony Pictures Entertainment and Swarovski Entertainment. Managing partner and ‘excellent negotiatorHoward Jones represents Sir Paul McCartney and Robbie Williams. Music group head Russell Roberts advises music publishers, record companies and performers including Kate Bush and Diversity. James Sully acts for Professor Green and BMG Rights; Stephen Luckman and Michael Thomas advise Pet Shop Boys, Peter Gabriel, and Thin Lizzy; and Stephen Kempner represents Nero and Alex Metric. On the broadcasting side, Paul O’Dowd and Morris Bentata advised new client BT Vision on the £152m acquisition of media rights to Premiership and European club rugby. Computer games expert Alex Chapman advised Mojang and Notch Development, the developers of Minecraft. Alex Tutty advises Bossa Studios, Twisted Tree and FatPebble. Digital media specialist Lance Phillips advises in relation to music, software and computer games, and Tahir Basheer advises on digital media and convergence.

Strong tactical litigator’ Niri Shanmuganathan heads Taylor Wessing LLP’s practice, which was reinforced by the hire of Mike Turner from Osborne Clarke and Mark Owen from Harbottle & Lewis LLP. Shanmuganathan successfully defended Nature (an imprint of Macmillan) in a libel claim brought by the former editor-in-chief of another scientific journal. He is also acting for the PRS in High Court and Court of Appeal copyright infringement proceedings against B4U. The corporate team assisted News International on its disposal of BrandAlley. Other clients include Associated Newspapers, Spotify, Passion Pictures, ProSiebenSat and Telegraph Media. Highlights included advising on the Leveson Inquiry, phone hacking, social media, and content aggregation. Adam Rendle is ‘a good copyright lawyer’. The various team heads are Tony Ghee (broadcasting), Charles Lloyd (advertising), Graham Hann (gaming and gambling), and Timothy Pinto (publishing).

Gold-standard’ media firm Wiggin LLP has ‘the best media lawyers at a very fair rate’, and advises on film, television, music, computer games, digital media, and publishing. The ‘outstandingly capableSean James, Shaun Lowde and Jason Chess co-head the broadcasting and digital content team. James and Ross Sylvester assisted Liberty Global subsidiary UPC Ireland on consolidating Sky’s channel and content offering on the Irish cable network. Film and TV lawyers Charles Moore and Miles Ketley handle ‘high-level international production matters’ for 20th Century Fox. They advised HBO on A Game of Thrones, Aver Media on Diana, and Paramount Pictures on World War Z. Caroline Kean’s publishing team advises Cambridge University Press and Random House. Head of litigation Simon Baggs, who also leads the music practice, and ‘great diplomatAlexander Ross advise the MPA following Baggs’ High Court success in the Newzbin case. Ross also advised Fintage House on its acquisition of the Rights Agency. Other clients include Sony Computer Entertainment and BBC Worldwide. Nav Sunner heads the computer games practice. Guy Sheppard and Sarah Bing were promoted to the partnership.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s ‘approachable, practical’ team is supported by the firm’s global footprint. The practice is co-led by transactional lawyer Steve Holmes, who represents Virgin Media, Fremantle and Take 2 Interactive, and IP regulatory and disputes lawyer Ben Allgrove, who is representing Meltwater in its long-running Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) challenge, which has been referred to the ECJ. Allgrove advised Sovereign Films on Terence Malick’s Voyage of Time. Television work included advising HIT Entertainment on the Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine brands. Tom Cassels and Joanna Ludlam advise the BBC Trust, and Duncan Reid-Thomas advises Arqiva on commercial broadcasting contracts. Charlotte Harrington deals admirably with ‘complexities and convoluted contracts’.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s Adam Rose assisted Financial Times with its printing arrangements, and The Guardian with technology and web-related contracts. Rose, Simon Clark and Toby Headdon are representing the NLA in its dispute with Meltwater. Simon Harper advised Peel Media’s Salford subsidiary, dock10, on ITV’s move to the city.

Bird & Bird LLP’s ‘outstanding’ international media team is headed by Matt Dennis, who shows ‘great insight and leadership’. The ‘efficient, commercial’ Phil Sherrell and Patrick Charnley are representing the UK Media Monitoring Association in the Meltwater dispute. Felicity Reeve and Justin Walkey, who has since relocated to Hong Kong as chairman of the China practice, advised BT Vision on the £760m acquisition of broadcasting rights to Premier League matches. Howard Rubin’s computer games practice represents Zynga and Codemasters. David Bintliff joined from Wiggin LLP.

Charles Russell LLP has a ‘rich seam of capable lawyers’. Digital content specialist Vanessa Barnett heads the team, which advised Westfield on digital media initiatives and acted for Barclays Bank regarding the Hyde Park music festival. On the broadcasting side, ‘commercially focused competition lawyerPaul Stone advised ITV and YouView. Duncan Lamont has particular expertise in the television industry. Nick Armstrong handles litigation and pre-publication content clearance. Jason Saiban advised Nike on digital and social media campaigns relating to London 2012. Saiban and the ‘thorough, business-minded, diligent’ Jaclyn Wilkins advised MMORPG publisher NCsoft. Other clients include Channel 4, Nike, Paddy Power, and social media agency Made by Many.

Goodman Derrick LLP has ‘unrivalled expertise in film and video regulation’. Practice head Paul Herbert, whose clients include ATVOD and Clearcast, successfully represented Sky in challenging a PACE production order. Herbert and consultant Belinda Copland are ‘client focused, communicate well and are a pleasure to deal with’. Broadcasting clients include Channel 5, STV, UTV S4C and Digital 3+4. Film and TV production and financing clients include Coutts & Co. Tanya Shillingford recently advised the BBFC. Publishing clients include Random House and Informa Group. Stephen Hornsby, who joined from Davenport Lyons, handles regulatory and competition matters, and Edward Hoare specialises in corporate media. Keith Northrop is recommended for his ‘sector experience, knowledge and contacts’.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP gives ‘high-quality advice’, and has ‘great breadth of knowledge’ and ‘superior communication skills’. The team represented longstanding client BSkyB in a successful appeal against Ofcom’s decision over sport on pay TV, as well as in a Competition Commission investigation into movies. Practice head Nick Elverston and Hayley Brady, who are ‘exceptionally responsive’ and whose ‘advice is always on the money’, assisted STV Group with Channel 3 (ITV) networking arrangements. They also helped FilmFlex in renegotiating its Virgin Media arrangements, and advised new client Kobo on its e-reader devices. Alan Watts’ clients include Lord Sugar. The group advised new client Chello Zone (part of Liberty Global Group) on the expansion of its partnership with CBS Studios International. Other clients include TimeWarner, HIT Entertainment and Anschutz Entertainment Group.

Mark Stephens at HowardKennedyFsi continues to represent claimants in phone-hacking cases. Robert Lands advises The Society of Authors and the Writers Guild of Great Britain. The ‘wise, knowledgeable and enthusiasticBrian Eagles has ‘extensive, in-depth knowledge of the entertainment industry’, working across film and television, music, theatre, and publishing. He advised on the production and distribution of Wreckers, and acted for Peter Schaufuss Ballet Company on the Tchaikovsky Trilogy at the Coliseum. Other clients include Old Vic Productions, Springer Science & Business Media, and authors Roddy Doyle and Philippa Gregory. Keith Lassman is also recommended.

Kemp Little LLP has particular expertise in digital media, with computer games clients including Activision, Ubisoft, Mind Candy and online games site Practice head Calum Murray and IP partner Paul Garland represent LOVEFiLM and Spotify. Paul O’Hare recently advised digital media agency AKQA. Andy Moseby’s team advised Thomson Reuters on acquisitions and divestments.

At Lewis Silkin LLP, practice head Cliff Fluet is ‘extremely well connected’ and ‘understands the business and its challenges’, and recently advised Syco on its global entertainment channel. Other recent work includes advising Vevo and Deezer on multi-platform content rights, talent and events, notably the Electric Burma concert for Aung San Suu Kyi. Key clients include the Royal Albert Hall and Ministry of Sound. Simon Entwistle has ‘thorough knowledge of all things publishing’. IP and IT licensing expert Simon Morrissey advises Electronic Arts. Adam Glass joined from Davenport Lyons.

SSB’s eight-lawyer team advises artists, songwriters, independent record labels and music production companies. Sarah Stennett, Gary Mandel and Paul Spraggon act for Olly Murs, the Prodigy, Adele, Lana Del Rey and Rita Ora.

Simons Muirhead & Burton acted for Remark! on its first CBBC commission, and advised the Lacomp EIS fund on its investment in Soulmate and X-Breed. Simon Goldberg, Razwana Akram and James Greenslade co-head the film and TV team, whose clients include Universal Pictures, Box Television, Zig Zag Productions and Channel 4. Goldberg’s clients also include Dennis Publishing. Music lawyer Charles Law handles corporate transactions for music companies, and represents talent and managers, and Richard Baskind and Richard Day are also recommended on the music side. The well-respected Martin Soames advised Random House on the book which first published allegations against cyclist Lance Armstrong.

At media boutique Swan Turton, Julian Bentley advised Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac, and head of music and publishing Julian Turton advised Mike Oldfield and Madness on works being performed at the London Olympics 2012 opening and closing ceremonies. Bentley has a ‘first-rate understanding of the commercial and legal landscape of the music industry’. Catherine Fehler advised Jesta Digital in a dispute with the PRS/MCPS. Antony Gostyn focuses on film and television work, while in radio Charles Swan advises the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre. In publishing, Sebastian Faulks is a longstanding client.

IP boutique Briffa handles contentious and non-contentious media work. Margaret Briffa advised Crystal GC Entertainment, which supplied digital media services to the London Olympic Games; and represented Cayman Music and BSI regarding copyright and royalties claims relating to works by Bob Marley. She is also representing the owner of Celebrity Pictures in a copyright infringement claim against Express Newspapers and Eaglemoss Publications.

Bristows shows ‘broad knowledge and understanding of commercial issues’. Practice head Dr Myles Jelf, who is ‘technically excellent, responsive and insightful and a good litigator’, is representing Google in a High Court claim brought by UK price comparison website Foundem. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is a longstanding client. Mark Brown is advising Tumblr on cross-jurisdictional issues. Paul Walsh heads the publishing practice, which advises the Hearst Corporation. Paul Jordan has a wide-ranging practice, and acts for clients such as Guardian News & Media.

Dentons’ practice head Ingrid Silver is ‘particularly strong on regulatory issues, and has a well-developed commercial sense’. Silver is assisting EMI with a large-scale database project, and advised Scripps on a major international agreement with Passion Distribution. Together with Jeremy Cohen, she advised Sony Pictures Television on the acquisition of a majority stake in independent production company Left Bank Pictures. Clients appreciate the team’s ‘detailed sector knowledge’ and ‘pragmatic solutions’. Longstanding clients include Chellomedia, the England & Wales Cricket Board, and Al Jazeera. New clients include Essence Digital and Ludifi.

Neil Mohring and his ‘efficient, responsive’ team at Eversheds LLP represent clients such as Sprint Catalogue Holdings, The Beatles, and The Elton John Group. Amanda Partland advised Rhapsody on its acquisition of Napster’s European operations. Andrew Terry assisted Coca-Cola with artist agreements for Olympic Games events. Consultant Nick Valner moved to an in-house role.

Ben Spiers’ team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP handles big-ticket, cross-border media deals for clients including Reed Elsevier. Simon Marchant advised Pearson on its agreement with Bertelsmann to combine Penguin and Random House; Marchant and Spiers co-head the firm’s London M&A practice. Antitrust partner David Aitman is also recommended, as is IP litigator Justin Watts.

Laurence Gilmore and his team at Hamlins LLP advise on music, digital broadcast and film rights. Gilmore successfully represented TVCatchup in the High Court in a landmark broadcasting and live streaming copyright case, which has been referred to the European Court. Philip Herbert is advising Red Hot Chilli Peppers on branding and trade mark issues. Other clients include PPL, McDonald’s, Seven Arts Filmed Entertainment, and One Media Publishing. Notable lateral hires include Matthew Pryke and litigator Michael Clinch, who both joined from Wallace LLP.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘knowledgeable, responsive’ practice head Peter Watts handles ‘complex commercial matters’, and has been defending ITV plc and ITV Network in High Court proceedings brought by STV. The practice is experienced in multi-jurisdictional matters, where it can bring to bear the firm’s international resources, and notably advised Liberty Global on its £15bn acquisition of Virgin Media as well as Chellomedia on its acquisition of MGM Networks. Key clients include Warner Bros and Mars. Richard Welfare advised Nintendo of Europe on the launch of the Wii U console.

Linklaters LLP works closely with global media clients on multi-jurisdictional matters, and recently advised RTL Group on Bertelsmann Capital Holding’s sale of part of its shareholding as well as on its broadcasting joint venture with Reliance Broadcast Network in India. Client wins include Amazon and News International, for which work has included advising News Corporation’s independent Management and Standards Committee. Roger Barron heads the team, which also includes Marly Didizian.

Marriott Harrison LLP gives ‘the best advice, and excellent service’. Its film and TV group advised Carnaby Films on the Superbiker documentary series. Other clients include The Raindance Film Festival and Ridley Scott Associates. Music work included advising the Nike Foundation on the Girl Effect joint venture with the Girl Hub division of DFID, as well as representing artists including Don Broco and Pure Love. Practice head Tony Morris has ‘extensive contacts’ and ‘a wealth of experience in the music industry’. Jonathan Pearce handles television sector corporate transactions.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s cross-practice team gives ‘fast, relevant responses’. Practice head Sarah Byrt, who provides ‘useful, intelligent, well-presented advice’, advised Hachette on acquiring the Enid Blyton estate from Chorion and on online anti-piracy action relating to e-books. Other highlights included representing Entertainment One on its £147m acquisition of Alliance Films, distributor of the Twilight film franchise. Music lawyer Miles Robinson represents Virgin Media. Google is a new client of the UK practice, and other client wins include StudioCanal and Modern Times Group.

Susan Biddle heads Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘straight-talking, results-oriented’ practice, which advises Agence France Presse on joint ventures, content and copyright. Iain Connor, who has a ‘forward-looking, commercial approach to copyright litigation’, recently won a major victory for Interflora against Marks and Spencer plc in the Google AdWords case, and is acting for Livescore against Football DataCo. Ian Birdsey joined from media insurer Hiscox, and James Earl was promoted to the partnership. Former practice head Kim Walker is now with Bond Dickinson LLP.

Pitmans SK Sport and Entertainment LLP is the media practice of Pitmans LLP. Practice head Jeremy Summers* is advising Nullarbor Productions on Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and also acts for advertising agency Livity. The practice has substantial experience in high-profile events, advising clients such as Live Nation Entertainment. Sally Britton* advises the British Fashion Council on London Fashion Week, and represents music artists and bands in matters including disputes over names. New clients include Investec. *Sally Britton is now with Mishcon de Reya. *Jeremy Summers is now with Lewis Silkin.

Richard Brown and the team at Travers Smith LLP advised YouView on key contracts, and talkSPORT on radio broadcasting and syndication rights to FA Premier League, FA Cup and other matches worldwide. Brown also advised the Ambassador Theatre Group on digitisation and online arrangements. Head of commercial Tom Purton advised longstanding client Pinewood Shepperton studios on a major deal with Disney.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges has an ‘effective, efficient’ transaction-oriented practice in London, supported by colleagues in the US. Barry Fishley advised Mubadala Development Company PJSC as a member of a consortium which purchased EMI Group’s music publishing operations for $2.2bn. The team also advised new client So Television on its sale to ITV, and All3Media Group on several transactions. Apple is a key client. Former practice head Mark Soundy joined Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Allen & Overy LLP’s clients appreciate its ‘quick response times and attention to detail’ in handling high-end corporate transactions, regulatory work and disputes. Antonio Bavasso represented News Corporation and News International in relation to the Leveson Inquiry and Ofcom’s public consultation on media plurality. Recently promoted partner Simon Toms is recommended for his ability to ‘keep on top of different work streams’. Bavasso and litigator Neville Cordell represented BSkyB in the FA Premier League case concerning use of foreign decoder cards by UK commercial establishments. Cordell also represented eBay before the ECJ. Other clients include Twitter, Twentieth Century Fox, and Thomson Reuters.

Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP’s ‘customer-focused, knowledgeable’ team is led by Ian Kirby, whose longstanding clients include Random House and who is representing the Michael Jackson estate in disputes concerning unlicensed performances. A ‘class act’, Richard Dickinson is advising the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) on global rollout of the Ultra Violet digital content distribution system. The Walt Disney Company is a new client, and the firm is also now on ITV’s legal panel.

At media boutique Aslan Charles Kousetta LLP, practice head Hakan Kousetta advises on international film production and financing, notably including Welcome to the Punch and the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. Sue Charles advises film production companies and distributors.

Sole practitioner Bernard Nyman at B M Nyman & Co advises authors and publishers on libel reading; contracts for journals, books and films; and confidentiality, representation and distribution agreements.

Carter-Ruck marries ‘persistence and spot-on advice’. It represents major publishers such as Penguin Books, and handles agreements for television shows, where its clients include Syco. Practice head Guy Martin and Isabel Martorell also advise Incisive Media, and Cameron Doley represents Al Jazeera. Andrew Stephenson undertakes pre-publication review work; Ruth Collard handles contentious and non-contentious matters; and Claire Gill advises publishers and authors.

At Collins Long, Bollywood expert Simon Long advises composers, new bands and solo artists; A R Rahman is a longstanding client. James Collins handles media disputes, Angela Sadler advises record label Communion, and John Benedict advises Kobalt Music Group.

Litigator Steven Heffer heads Collyer Bristow LLP’s 16-lawyer team, and is pursuing compensation for victims of phone hacking by News International; Dominic Crossley represented more than 50 of the victims in relation to the Leveson Inquiry. Music lawyer Howard Ricklow advised composer David Arnold on the London Olympics opening and closing ceremonies.

Irving David at DWFM Beckman advises on media and entertainment contracts covering music, ballet, film and publishing.

Foot Anstey’s advice is ‘commercially focused, sound and detailed’. Practice head Chris Worrell advised longstanding client UBM on divesting its agriculture and general practitioner portfolios. Tony Jaffa advised Johnston Press on the Leveson Inquiry, and also assisted with the complex structuring of Local World, which combines Northcliffe Media and Iliffe News and Media. Martin Cuell advised Vampire Squid Production. Other clients include Which? and Odeon Cinema Holdings. Peter Singfield was promoted to the partnership.

Goldkorn Mathias Gentle Page’s David Gentle and Bob Page represent artists and record companies in contractual matters and disputes.

William Holder heads King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin’s practice, which handles big-ticket transactions, complex competition matters and IP disputes. Stephen Kon advised Universal Music Group on its £1.2bn acquisition of EMI’s recorded music division; David Rose is representing BSkyB in trade mark disputes; and Ray Black regularly advises Nintendo.

Lawrence Graham LLP’s practice head Jonathan Riley is a digital marketing and publishing expert who advises specialist technology companies, including post-production house Saddington Baynes.

At Lea & Company, consultant Stephen Lea advises recording artists and producers.

Magrath LLP’s Jeremy Hershkorn handles media litigation, and consultant Alexis Grower advises producers and recording artists including Calvin Harris and John Lydon.

Chris Coulter heads Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP’s team, which hired Justin Stock from O'Melveny & Myers LLP. Highlights included assisting Odeon & UCI Cinemas with digital conversion projects, and advising on the establishment of Local World. Coulter advises mobile broadcast technology business Motive TV.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, practice head Mike Knapper is ‘excellent at thinking around stalemate situations’. Among recent matters, Chris Pearson advised Trinity Mirror on its investment in Local World; Ian Lopez, who ‘makes deals happen’, advised Future and United Business Media; and Peter Scott advised Arqiva. IP litigator Jonathan Ball is also recommended. Neil O’May joined from Bindmans LLP.

Onside Law Limited’s Simon Thorp advised Engage Sports Media on the management buyout of Endemol’s UK sports media business. Celebrity clients include Clare Balding and Patrick Vieira. Chris Walsh, Oliver Hunt and practice head Jamie Singer, who represents Ladbrokes, are also recommended. The team recruited Tom Bullock from Allen & Overy LLP, and Kendrah Potts from LOCOG.

At IP and litigation boutique Redd, Simon Chalkley advises games developers and publishers Square Enix Europe and Taito Corporation. He also advises book publishers on contentious issues and media agencies on experiential advertising events.

Simmons & Simmons provides ‘excellent, timely service and advice’. ‘Outstanding, supportive’ practice head Andrew McMillan assisted NBCUniversal in acquiring a controlling interest in Kidsco, and continues to advise climate change project Cape Farewell. Litigator David Stone is representing Fox Entertainment in a High Court dispute with The Glee Club in Birmingham. Giles Dennison advised HMV on the £32m sale of the Hammersmith Apollo. Alexander Brown represents Virgin Media.

Smiths-Law LLP gives ‘industry-specific advice at a realistic price’. Liam McNeive, who has ‘exceptional knowledge of digital media’, and Andrew Lewis are assisting Universal Music Group following the acquisition of EMI. McNeive’s other clients include Photobox, Moonpig and Holiday Rentals/HomeAway.

Robert Horsfall and Sonia Diwan at Sound Advice (Legal) LLP have ‘enthusiasm, energy and expertise’. They represent recording artists, including Naughty Boy and Emily Barker, and managers such as Crown Talent & Media Group.

Speechly Bircham LLP’s practice head Alexander Carter-Silk handles high-profile copyright litigation, and acts for clients including Elle Macpherson. Michelle Lewiston advises broadcasters and publishers on production and content agreements. Robert Bond advises digital media and computer game companies. Nicholas Tall joined f.

Weightmans LLP’s John Schorah and Sean Crotty represent a number of computer game companies. Clients include Novarama Technology, Relentless Software and new clients Playrise Digital and Nellyvision.

At Bindmans LLP, practice head Tamsin Allen and Athalie Matthews are representing phone-hacking victims in the managed voicemail interception litigation and conducting the costs proceedings. They are also advising the National Union of Journalists in relation to the Leveson Inquiry, and assisting Ken Loach’s company Sixteen Films.

Litigator Elaine Heywood leads Blake Lapthorn’s ‘exceptionally responsive’ practice. Simon Stokes demonstrates ‘expert erudition and commercial good sense’. He and Joss Saunders advise academic publishers and societies, notably including the Royal Economic Society, on apps, web portals and e-books as well as traditional publishing matters.

Clifford Chance’s Daniel Sandelson advised Global Radio on its acquisition of Guardian Media Group’s radio business. Other work included advising on television and film production and distribution.

Covington & Burling LLP advised Rightster and CBS Interactive on online content and social media. Daniel Cooper has particular expertise in data compliance and internet monitoring, areas in which he advises Facebook, Hulu and Paramount. Louise Nash and IP and technology expert Lisa Peets lead the practice.

Solicitor advocate Dean Dunham at Debello Law advises record labels, bands, agents and celebrities, among them BlueBlack Hussar Records and Adam Ant. He recently advised on the production of the film Enfield Poltergeist.

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP handles trade mark and competition work for global media clients including Warner Bros and Nikon as well as content-related work for On the Fly Media and Phoenix Music International. Becket McGrath’s clients include Amazon, and Akash Sachdeva handles media-related litigation.

Fladgate LLP’s practice head Lawrence Abramson represented former Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi in high-profile libel actions. Eddie Powell is acting for Devilfish, and David Robinson advised Taylor and Francis Group on the acquisition of Hachette UK’s health, science and higher education portfolios.

Gateley’s ‘fast, effective, user-friendly’ three-partner media and entertainment practice advised on the Mike Figgis feature film Suspension of Disbelief. Other clients include The Elf Factory, the National Space Centre and Alaska TV. Practice head Lisa Logan is ‘calm and knowledgeable’.

HKH Kenwright & Cox’s senior partner Khurram Mian advises Artifice Media, Bean Media Consulting, 1883 Media, and X Events on contracts and commercial matters.

Tom Henson and David Hansel at IP and digital media boutique Hansel Henson LLP are recommended for their ‘can-do attitude and excellent negotiating skills’. Clients include Hooplo Media, International Data Group and Fin London.

Latham & WatkinsLaurence Cohen represented Orion Publishing in the High Court and Gail Crawford advised The Yucaipa Companies on acquiring a majority stake in the Soho House Group. Omar Shah advised MusicChoice and the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) on the CISAC case concerning alleged anti-competitive practices by music collecting societies.

M Law hired Robin Bynoe from Charles Russell LLP, who advised Grant Naylor Productions on Red Dwarf Series X. Practice head Peter Coles was production counsel to Generator for a new television series for Amber Entertainment. Oliver Fetiveau represented Novel in a High Court case against Orion Publishing. Matthew Higdon and Victoria Russell are also recommended.

At Macfarlanes LLP, Jeremy Courtenay-Stamp’s advertising-focused team advises Albion London, Nike and the Royal Parks Foundation. Commercial IP specialist Rupert Casey advised Casio on endorsement arrangements with actress Clare Danes.

Manches LLP’s litigation head Alex Fox advises the British Medical Association on its publications, and represented various celebrities in the News of the World phone-hacking case.

Mishcon de Reya’s Charlotte Harris represents a number of clients, including Skylet Andrew, in relation to phone hacking and the Leveson Inquiry. Peter Nunn represented Lady Gaga in a trade mark dispute. Nick Davis advised media production company DXH Media in its acquisition of the Cookie Jar Group. Lewis Cohen heads the team.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP’s Lisbeth Savill and Sarah Caughey worked with colleagues in the US to assist The Weinstein Co with the financing and production of Last Chance. Savill represented StudioCanal in litigation regarding the Working Title Films joint venture.

Rubinstein Phillips Lewis LLP’s John Rubinstein advises clients in music, publishing, cinema and art.

Jenny Afia heads Schillings’ talent team, which handles image rights, privacy and reputation matters for recording artists and celebrities. It has seen a number of departures; litigator John Kelly is now at Harbottle & Lewis LLP, Gideon Benaim joined Michael Simkins LLP, and Matt Himsworth left to establish Himsworths Legal.

Slaughter and May’s cross-practice team, led by Jeff Twentyman, advised Telegraph Media Group on the Leveson Inquiry; Bertelsmann on the combination of Random House and Penguin Group; and Nimax Theatres on acquiring the Palace Theatre.

Senior associate Nessa McGill at Squire Sanders LLP advises on film and TV productions, with recently examples including feature film Maria Mundi and the Midas Box and the television series Driven to Extremes. Practice head Robert Wegenek advises on branded content.

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in London for Media and entertainment

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Home Office announces extension of support service for SMEs

    An online support service for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) which need to recruit skilled overseas workers has been extended until 28 February 2014. The pilot was launched by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and provides a step by step guide to sponsoring an overseas worker. This service is available via the GLA website.
  • Penningtons Manches' immigration team considers new changes to the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance

    The Home Office has recently published new Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance, version 12/13. This guidance is to be used by all prospective and existing Tier 4 sponsors from 11 December 2013.
  • Finding the 
right words

    In the recent case of Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013], the defendant argued that an offer to settle proceedings was ‘in principle' only and that a binding contract could not be formed until further terms had been agreed and a formal contract had been signed. It supported this argument by referring to a statement, in the offer letter, that the settlement was to be ‘recorded in a suitably worded agreement'. 

  • Behind the corporate veil: is that all there is?

    That companies have an existence entirely separate to that of their shareholders and directors is a foundational principle of English law and commerce.

  • Playing fair with penalty clauses

    It is often difficult to predict what will be recoverable as damages for breach of contract. To provide some certainty, parties will often seek to agree the sum that will be payable in the event of specified breaches. 

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

  • The role of arbitrators in EU antitrust law

    In May 2014, it will be ten years since Regulation No 1/2003 entered into force. When the legislator of the European Union adopted this Regulation on 16 December 2002, its main objective was to decentralise the enforcement of the two main provisions of EU antitrust law, Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). Where do the arbitrators fit in this picture?

  • New Immigration Bill, October 2013: cause for concern or appeasing public sentiment?

    The year 2013 has seen a string of reforms to the immigration system by the current coalition government. On 10 October, the government published a Bill aimed at continuing its drive to reduce net migration figures. 

  • New Schengen EU Regulations: impact on short-stay visa visitors

    The publication on 26 June 2013 of the European Union Regulation EU 610/2013 modified the incumbent Regulation EU 562/2006 in relation to third country nationals (ie non-EU citizens) and those travelling on a short-stay visitor visa, as well as those who do not require a visa to enter the Schengen area, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria. Exceptions include EU and EEA nationals travelling to other EU/EEA states within the Schengen area together with foreign nationals holding either long-stay or residence permits for their destination Schengen countries.

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

Press Releases in the UK

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to