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Burges Salmon LLP continues to make progress in the IP protection and enforcement space, advising clients from television, music, publishing and social media, including Sundog Pictures, Endemol Shine Group, AEG Live (UK) and Thomson Reuters. The ‘very proactive and experienced’ team also handles corporate transactions and assists with commercial arrangements, as well as employment and real estate issues. It recently represented Discovery Communications on the defence of two separate commercial disputes arising from the termination of a co-production agreement for a series of documentaries, and assisted a group of independent racecourses with their media right mandate with Arena Racing for the launch of a new TV channel. Jeremy Dickerson is ‘a very calm and expert lawyer’, and has ‘a sound commercial approach to IP litigation’. Helen Scott-Lawler has particular experience in advising clients on the exploitation of broadcasting rights, and senior associate Jennifer Gibson focuses on IP disputes and reputation management.

Foot Anstey continued to strengthen its media and entertainment team in 2016 with the hire of senior associates Alexandra Leonidou from Warner Bros. Entertainment and Jennifer Agate from Farrer & Co. Building on its strong client base in publishing, it has made significant process in the fields of film and television, marketing and music. Demonstrating this, it advised Silvergate Media on its investment from Los Angeles-based private equity firm Shamrock Capital Advisors and assisted Aardman Animations with exhibition agreement and website privacy issues. Main contacts include practice head Richard Neary, who acts for employers in the media sector on the enforcement of covenants, TUPE transfers and on employment liabilities in the context of corporate and commercial transactions; Tony Jaffa, acts for Mirror Online, The Independent and the Evening Standard on a broad range of pre-publication advice including issues related to libel, privacy, data protection, contempt and copyright; Neil Parkes, who is ‘commercial, pragmatic and sensible’ and specialises in media litigation, content protection and contentious IP matters; and Martin Cuell, whose clients include rights owners and licensees.

Osborne Clarke is, according to a client, ‘definitely a true specialist in online and digital media’. It is ‘extremely good at balancing sound legal advice with industry and commercial acumen’, ‘always tailoring its approach to best suit clients’ needs’. The practice’s expertise ranges from TV, digital, advertising and marketing to publishing, where it acts on a broad spectrum of matters. It is able to leverage the firm’s international footprint to act on sizeable cross-border mandates, including advising on competition issues. Yahoo! is a key client and the team advises it on internal policies relating to sensitive advertisement targeting and customer segmentation, and other privacy issues connected with its platforms and products. It also advises social media companies on consumer law issues and challengers and assisted Imagine Publishing with its £14m acquisition by Future. Associate director Tom Harding is ‘a first-rate media and e-commerce lawyer with great industry knowledge’. IP litigator Clare Robinson is another name to note.

Royds Withy King’s client roster features technology, media, retail and IP-rich businesses and individuals. In 2016, Jessica Bent advised a new independent indie label with its recording contracts with artists, acted for a charity on a filming and access agreement with a production company, and assisted a southwest-based conservation charity with its advertising contract with a media agency and related IP issues. IP litigator Philip Banks-Welsh has notable experience in trade mark infringement, passing off and internet-based defamation.

Steer & Co’s ‘highly knowledgeable and professional’ team recently assisted e3 on the protection of its intellectual property rights and employment matters. The group is ‘very responsive and flexible to the needs of clients’. Rebecca Steer has ‘a great attention to detail’, while senior associate Mailin Bala is ‘great, particularly in areas concerning EU data protection’.

At Thrings LLP , Graeme Fearon handled a sponsorship dispute, assisted with a film piracy claim and advised an author and editor on negotiations with Cambridge University Press for revisions to a series of study guides, including advising on copyright, moral rights and royalties. Other clients include Bristol Media, Pendennis Productions, Silver Bullet Entertainment and Bristol Film Festival. Mike Tomlin has particular experience in the publishing sector.

Battens Solicitors Limited’s media and entertainment group was established by Brian Levine, who joined from an in-house role and splits his time between Yeovil, London and Bath. The group is ‘in touch with the needs of its clients’ and is ‘technically strong’. Levine is ‘highly professional, knowledgeable and accessible’; his experience coupled with his specialist knowledge of intellectual property, particularly trade marks, makes him a popular choice for advising on a range of IP-related matters. In 2016, he assisted Mallinson Sadler Productions with all matters relating to the financing, production and broadcast of a documentary on broadcast and pay TV channels in the UK and abroad, and acted for a publishing company on copyright issues. Peter Livingstone handles contentious matters.

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Legal Developments in South West for Media and entertainment

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    On 3 December 2010, Ofcom published its final statement setting out its analysis of the state of competition in the wholesale broadband access (WBA) market and the measures it is taking to protect consumers in situations where competition alone is insufficient. 

    - SJ Berwin LLP

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