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Burness Paull LLP is a respected player in the market, assisting a large number of key industry players such as BBC Scotland and Sky with a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Chairman Philip Rodney continues to advise BBC Scotland on a variety of media law matters such as reporting restrictions, freedom of information matters and litigation. Phonographic Performance (PPL) instructed the team to assist with its enforcement campaign in Scotland, which involved multiple interdict actions at the Court of Session. The practice also continues to manage Sky’s enforcement programme across Scotland, while Grant Stevenson advised television production company Solus Productions on the preparation and negotiation of a licence and distribution agreement for the documentary McQueen of Scots, and assisted with the composer contract and synchronisation licence for the accompanying soundtrack. Other highlights included assisting Standard Life Investment with its sponsorship renewal and global partnership with the Ryder Cup in 2018.

Bannatyne Kirkwood France & Co regularly handles matters at the intersection of media and IP law, with an emphasis on defamation and reputation management matters for claimants and defendants. The team’s client roster includes several national newspaper companies and broadcasters alongside politicians, sport professionals and stage and television personalities. The team recently acted for Alastair Cameron, director of Scotland in Union, in court proceedings for defamation raised against Natalie McGarry MP, and represented another individual in proceedings raised at Glasgow Sheriff Court for defamation against the Scottish Sun for publishing an article, which wrongly indicated that the client was the girlfriend of a gangster. The team also represented professional Premier league footballer Allan McGregor in two separate actions raised against the Scottish Sun at Glasgow Sheriff Court: the first concerned false allegations of road traffic offences while the second concerned false and defamatory allegations concerning a former relationship. In other work, Friel Kean Films instructed the practice to advise on production and broadcasting matters. Campbell Deane heads the practice.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘strong’ team provides ‘very good advice’ with a significant emphasis on film and television investment projects. It also handles contentious work such as defamation and privacy issues. Yvonne Dunn advised Creative Scotland on feature film investments and television investments, which involved verifying the chain of title for the project, drafting the investment documentation and negotiating the deal documentation to protect the client’s interests. Working in close conjunction with the firm’s technology practice, the practice also handles a range of IT and IP-related work.

Thorntons Law LLP provides clients from the television, digital publishing, online gaming and live music industries with a broad contentious and non-contentious offering. On the contentious side, the team acted for DF Concerts in third party brand infringement matters. In other work, Liam McMonagle assisted Postcode Lottery – operators of the People’s Postcode Lottery – with a range of media, sponsorship and marketing matters, including advice on supply and outsourcing agreements and gambling legislation changes and its implications. He also advised the producers of Jackie the Musical on matters pertaining to the national tour of the musical including agreements with writers and the choreographer, as well as brand and IP licensing work. A newspaper archive site instructed the team to advise on content acquisition matters, including acquisitions from Johnston Press and Independent London News, and on regulatory and online defamation issues. Lesley Larg is also recommended.

Anderson Strathern is well equipped to advise clients on copyright and infringement matters, and also handles reputation and defamation management issues. Simon Brown, who regularly advises on publishing issues, assisted independent publisher Birlinn with pre-publication matters including defamation, privacy, IP infringement and journalistic protection issues. He also advised the client on an option agreement with Calamity Films with regards to film and television rights for the book Man on the Run by Tom Doyle. In a separate matter, the team advised the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) on a contract with STV regarding the filming of a documentary with live broadcasting aspects about the birth of polar bear cubs at the client’s Highland Wildlife Park.

BTO Solicitors LLP acts for individuals and organisations in defamation and reputation matters pertaining to social and traditional media publications. Team head Paul Motion advised Trump International Golf Links Scotland on material published on Facebook and in several UK national newspapers, while also representing the client in court proceedings for damages under the Data Protection Act 1998. The team also advised politician Mohammad Sarwar on reputation issues following Scottish media reports over allegations made by a former business associate who claimed that certain parts of the client’s autobiography were fabricated and selective. Other key mandates included advising former SNP councillor Julie McAnulty on defamatory issues, and acting for Mactaggart & Mickel Homes in interdict actions against an individual who had started a campaign of criticism against the client on social media. Tony Jones is also recommended.

Brodies LLP handles a variety of IP and commercial matters including licensing, copyright and sponsorship issues. In 2016, the team advised 77 Management on sponsorship, venue and broadcasting agreements pertaining to the Andy Murray Live tennis event held in Glasgow in September 2016. Key contact Christine O’Neill continues to advise BBC Scotland’s newsroom editors, producers and journalists on regulatory matters, including defamation, privacy or contempt of court issues. It also advises the same client on general media law and copyright issues. Robert Buchan is part of a team acting for a number of social media and online businesses in copyright infringement and other IP disputes. Associate Andy Nolan ‘gives professional and concise advice in a timely manner’.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s broad practice handles a range of IP and IT-related work, defamation claims and reputation management. Ross Nicol assisted STV with a range of IT-related issues pertaining to its main website including the addition of software for online quizzes and polls. Arthur McKay – a major electrical contracting firm – instructed the team to advise on reputation management issues following a former employee who sought to use various channels to dissuade prospective employees against taking up employment with the client. Main contact Ewan Easton advised BBC Scotland on a defamation claim pertaining to the coverage of the financial collapse of Rangers Football Club, and assisted a Scotland-based film production company on a dispute with the Financial Times over promotional material commissioned by the newspaper.

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