Media and entertainment in Australia


Clients laud Allens for its depth and accessibility, even at partner level. The team provides corporate, commercial, and regulatory media and broadcasting law advice to a wide range of clients, who praise the team for its ‘wisdom born of experience, and the capacity to explain issues and strategies in a commercial, clear and uncluttered way.’ Key names to note include Sydney-based practice chair Gavin Smith, a key port of call for numerous international entities seeking assistance with complex digital acceleration matters, and Valeska Bloch, an expert in technology-led innovation.  At the associate level, Elyse Adams in Melbourne has a broad practice, from telecoms procurement and outsourcings, cyber security, and data protection to transactional work. All named lawyers are based in Sydney unless noted otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Gavin Smith

Other key lawyers:

Elyse Adams; Valeska Bloch


‘Gavin Smith takes the time to learn and understand the business and commercial context within which we operate so that he can help us work out the practical way in which we can achieve our business goals within the legal parameters he has advised on.’

‘Wisdom born of experience, and the capacity to explain issues and strategies in a commercial, clear and uncluttered way, and to do all this so promptly.’

‘Partner-level access makes them stand out.’

‘Gavin Smith goes above and beyond in providing legal services to our business. He uses his international network to ensure he stays current on the industry in its broadest sense.’

Key clients

Fox Sports

Greyhound Racing Victoria


The Walt Disney Company

News Corp Australia

Work highlights

  • Advised News Corp Australia on a range of strategic acquisitions and privacy matters.
  • Assisted the Walt Disney Company with establishing an international ecommerce platform across Asia Pacific for the online purchase and delivery of various Disney physical products.
  • Allens advised Fox Sports on the 6 year, $1.2bn media rights arrangements with Cricket Australia and the Seven Network in 2018 for all domestic cricket in Australia.


Ashurst is renowned for acting in both high-profile litigious proceedings, as well as complex non-contentious matters. The 'practical, timely and efficient' Anita Cade - who serves as the global and Australian head of the intellectual property and media team - regularly works on media sports rights deals for high-profile content distributors.  On the contentious side, Robert Todd is particularly recommended; regarded by clients as ‘very experienced, and willing to take on challenging litigation.’ Lisa Ritson has a diverse, blue-chip clientele that includes some of the world's leading media and publishing conglomerates. All lawyers mentioned are located in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Anita Cade

Other key lawyers:

Ted Talas; Robert Todd; Lisa Ritson; Peter Armitage


‘Key strengths – they take the time to understand your business very well, and the team has supported us well on issues that arise from all parts of the business, from content licensing and distribution to original development, marketing, product feature reviews and other matters.’

‘Anita Cade is a standout and she is knowledgeable about our business, responsive to our needs and provides practical, timely and efficient advice. She, Ted Talas and her associates have been great to work with.’

‘Solid service provider on media issues, both contentious and non-contentious. Small number of partners/senior lawyers we work with. Good for complex litigation.’

‘Robert Todd is very experienced, and willing to take on challenging litigation. Anita Cade has good media industry experience in non-contentious and contentious matters’

‘Very responsive, sensible and grounded advice.’

Key clients

Re.Group Pty Ltd and Naveen David Singh

Google LLC

ITV Granada Media

Discovery Communications

News Life Media

Conde Nast Publications

Commercial Radio Australia, the Australian commercial radio industry body

Racing Victoria Limited

New South Wales Government


Work highlights

  • Acted for Nationwide News Pty Limited, publisher of The Daily Telegraph, in relation to defamation proceedings brought against it and a columnist, Miranda Devine, by Master Quaden Bayles (by his tutor Yarraka Bayles) and Ms Bayles in the Federal Court of Australia.
  • Acting for Google in various defamation matters concerning the liability of internet search engines for defamatory search results published to search engine users.
  • Represented Discovery for many years in a variety of IP advice, trade mark portfolio management, licensing issues and trade mark and copyright enforcement matters.

Baker McKenzie

The multidisciplinary group at Baker McKenzie assists clients with the gamut of media matters, ranging from high-profile litigious proceedings and corporate transactions to cutting-edge regulatory reviews. Practice head Andrew Stewart is noted for his expertise in copyright, defamation, and media regulation matters, frequently representing major domestic networks in business-critical tribunals. Another key name to note is Adrian Lawrence, whose routine engagements include product launches and partnerships, the acquisition and distribution of digital content, and innovative uses of data assets. Allison Manvell in Brisbane and Nicholas Kraegen are also key names to note. All named lawyers are based in Sydney unless mentioned.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Stewart

Other key lawyers:

Andrea Kennedy; Adrian Lawrence; Allison Manvell; Nicholas Kraegen


‘Andrea Kennedy has provided a legal backbone to this business since 2016. Commercial and corporate compliance is assured.’

Key clients

Network Ten All Access Pty Limited

Paramount Plus

Fox Sports Australia Pty Limited

Peter Dutton

Work highlights

  • Representing Network Ten All Access Pty Limited in seeking to have the Copyright Tribunal determine a fair licence scheme following APRA AMCOS’ proposal of a new industry licence.
  • Acting for Fox Sports Australia (FSA) in defending a claim brought by individuals claiming to have been defamed by a broadcast which they say conveys that they had engaged in racial vilification of NRL player Brent Naden, who has Indigenous heritage.
  • Advising and representing Fox Sports Australia Pty Limited in a highly publicised matter in the District Court involving a defamation claim by Josh Massoud, a high-profile former Channel 7 NRL reporter, against five media companies.

Bird & Bird

Sophie Dawson co-chairs the ‘brilliantly broad’ group at Bird & Bird, alongside communications and media lawyer Shane Barber; a group which has expanded with the arrival of Julie Cheeseman from Ashurst in March 2022. Cheeseman is praised by clients for possessing a ‘breadth of understanding on the framework of law and regulation impacting the media industry.’ Dawson utilises her ‘great experience, insights, and wisdom in the area of Australian defamation law’, to assist a variety of major media companies, including in relation to strategic and regulatory matters as well as in disputes. All named lawyers are based in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Sophie Dawson; Shane Barber

Other key lawyers:

Rich Hawkins; Julie Cheeseman


‘Sophie Dawson brings great experience, insights and wisdom in the area of Australian defamation law.’

‘Very experienced partners in the media space, across contentious and non contentious matters. The team has grown in the last 12 months, to allow better partner availability which is a plus.’

‘Sophie Dawson and Julie Cheeseman are both experienced media advisers whose expertise we value. They are efficient, pragmatic, and highly knowledgeable in a technical area of the law. They are also both a pleasure to work with. Joel Parsons is excellent beyond his years – very much trust him with our work.’

‘The Bird & Bird team, expertly led by Sophie Dawson and Julie Cheeseman, has an impressive depth and breadth of understanding on the framework of law and regulation impacting the media industry. They are approachable, accessible and lead a strong team.’

‘Sophie Dawson and  Julie Cheeseman are each incredibly responsive and adaptable to our industry, priorities and pressures. Sophie Dawson’s knowledge of media regulation and law reform is encyclopedic and at the highest level.’

‘The Bird & Bird team has a brilliantly broad reach, both intellectually and across borders. Their area of specialty requires an constantly-evolving understanding of developments locally as well as in other territories.’

‘Julie Cheeseman is another great credit to the Bird & Bird team. She is a pleasure to deal with and is able quickly to distil complexity into a manageable and practical way forward. Her experience in and passion for the industry is clear immediately and it is put to excellent use for her clients’ benefit.’

‘Rich Hawkins is trustworthy, friendly. His ability to break down complex problems, describe them in plain language and solve those issues is a huge plus.’

Key clients

Nine Entertainment Co.

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc; RockStar Games, Inc

Epic Games, Inc

Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)

Australian Police Journal

Fiji Rugby Union

Work highlights

  • Advising Nine Entertainment in relation to a variety of defamation, privacy, regulatory and other matters.
  • Successfully obtaining orders and relief for copyright infringement for Take-Two Interactive Software Inc (RockStar Games Inc) in proceedings concerning unauthorised mods written for the Grand Theft Auto V game.
  • Acting for Epic Games Inc in relation to the unauthorised online sale of items relating to its popular Fortnite game.

Clayton Utz

Led by the Sydney-based Bruce Lloyd, the ‘commercial and practical’ team at Clayton Utz advises on the full gamut of issues affecting the TMT sector. Singled out for his ‘very good understanding of the industry and the law‘, experienced practitioner Tim Webb specialises most keenly in dispute resolution, with recent engagements seeing him advising multinational media monitoring organisations in Copyright Tribunal proceedings. Walid Sukari notably handles media rights work, particularly for clients operating within the sports sector. The pair are ably supported by senior associate Akmal Chunara, who focuses on sports-media rights exploitation issues and the negotiation of sports rights agreements.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Lloyd

Other key lawyers:

Tim Webb; Walid Sukari; Akmal Chunara


‘The uniqueness of the practice is in the commercial and practical application of the law. It is not legal advice for advice’s sake. It is what will make the difference in the business and business decisions that flow from that advice.’

‘Timothy Webb has a very good understanding of the industry and the law and is clever and strategic in his application of it. This makes his advice commercial and operational not just legal. I use him increasingly as a partner in my decision making and informing executive team of strategy and risks around the strategy.’

Substantial knowledge, professionalism, and exceptional partners.’

Very effective and easy to collaborate.’

Key clients

Isentia Pty Limited

Seven Network

Meta Platforms, Inc. (formerly known as Facebook, Inc.) and its subsidiaries

NOVA Entertainment Pty Ltd

Free TV Australia Ltd


National Rugby League

Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation S.A.

Work highlights

  • Acting for Isentia in Copyright Tribunal of Australia and Federal Court of Australia proceedings with respect to the licence terms offered by Copyright Agency Ltd, the copyright collecting society for press/online media articles.
  • Advised Seven Network on its major media rights agreements including with Cricket Australia, Australian Football League, V8 Supercars, All England Club (Wimbledon), PGA of Australia, Swimming Australia, Racing Victoria and the International Olympic Committee.
  • Acting for Free TV Australia (peak industry body for Australia’s commercial free-to-air broadcasters) in relation to its role in the Government’s “PacificAus TV” initiative.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Corrs Chambers Westgarth has been instructed by some of the market’s leading media and entertainment conglomerates for many years. The Sydney-based James North, who leads the team, advises widely on contentious and non-contentious matters, including high-value corporate transactions, regulatory frameworks, and product launches – particularly in the streaming space. Sydney-based Adam Foreman advises major sector players on a host of regulatory issues, while on the contentious side, the Sydney-based special counsel Jim Micallef  is described as ‘one of the country’s most experienced defamation lawyers.’

Practice head(s):

James North

Other key lawyers:

Jim Micallef; Richard Leder; Adam Foreman


‘First class expertise and demonstrated leaders in the field of media and entertainment law, with the results to prove it.’

‘Jim Micallef in particular is one of the country’s most experienced defamation lawyers. His knowledge is unrivalled. He also has a personality that clients warm to and respect.’

‘Top quality legal support and advice is both strategic and tactical.’

‘Richard Leder has experience and knowledge of our business sector, and service orientation. He anticipates our needs, knows our risk appetite, our brand and values – alongside his legal expertise this make Richard a key valued and trusted strategic legal advisor.’

Key clients


ViacomCBS (now Paramount)


Southern Cross Media and Southern Cross Austereo

Seven Network

New Aim

REA Group Limited

Network 10

Carsome Group

Work highlights

  • Assisted Digital Industry Group Inc (DIGI) which represents large and scale-up digital companies including Google, Meta, Apple, eBay and Twitter, with its formal submissions regarding the Social Media (Anti-Trolling) Bill 2022.
  • Assisting Southern Cross Media on reviewing strategic options in relation to their regional television business, which may include a sale of that business.
  • Advising eBay on its approach to social media and potential liability for comments on its platform following the High Court’s decision in Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v. Voller; Nationwide News Pty Limited v. Voller; Australian News Channel Pty Ltd v. Voller (Voller).

Gilbert + Tobin

A number of large media and entertainment companies, digital platforms, and gaming companies turn to the team at Gilbert + Tobin, particularly for the depth of its IP capabilities. The group practice leader is Michael Williams, a key figure for complex media and entertainment disputes. Rebecca Dunn is experienced in defamation proceedings and, like Williams, boasts a significant contentious pedigree - particularly in the area of IP infringement proceedings. Recent highlights for Williams include defending well-known songwriters in precedent-setting copyright infringement cases. All named lawyers are based in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Michael Williams

Other key lawyers:

Siabon Seet; Rebecca Dunn

Key clients


Motion Picture Association, Motion Picture Association of America, Australia New Zealand Screen Association and the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment

Universal Music Group

Opera Australia

State Street Global Advisors


Quadrant Private Equity

Ebay / Gumtree AU

‘Glass Candy’ band

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

Tolga Kumova

Work highlights

  • Advising businessman Tolga Kumova in Federal Court defamation proceedings against the operator of the social media account “@stockswami”.
  • Acting in defence of the songwriters John Padgett and Lori Monahan in Boomerang v Paggett and Ors, a case on musical work copyright infringement, testing the limits of copyright over short musical phrases.
  • Advising Microsoft on the Digital Platform Services Inquiry, the Digital Advertising Services Inquiry and the News Media & Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code.

Johnson Winter Slattery

The team at Johnson Winter Slattery count a number of  major domestic publishers, market-leading media conglomerates, and blue-chip tech companies among its stellar client base. Lauded as ‘a leader in the media and entertainment field’, Sydney-based practice head Kevin Lynch ‘provides excellent, commercially astute advice’ across the gamut of sector-specific work, particularly with regard to defamation law matters – including reform initiatives. Other key names to note include the Adelaide-based Eve Thomson, a highly experienced disputes practitioner, who was promoted to partner in July 2022.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Lynch

Other key lawyers:

Eve Thomson


‘Highly commercial and practical approach. Very client-focussed.’

‘Kevin Lynch is a leader in the media and entertainment field. He provides excellent, commercially astute advice.’

‘Kevin Lynch is extremely approachable, knowledgeable and effective.’

‘Kevin Lynch has unparalleled technical knowledge, combined with a thoroughly practical and strategic approach.’

‘The team has excellent commercial awareness and understands the need for practical advice which aligns with the client’s business approach.’

‘Kevin Lynch has tremendous experience and acumen in his field and consistently provides a compelling level of service.’

‘Kevin Lynch is very experienced, practical, commercial in approach and cost effective. He is a great communicator. Kevin advises on complex issues relating to search engine liability in respect of defamation law and is trusted strategic advisor in relation to disputes.’

Key clients

Google LLC

Google Australia Pty Ltd

YouTube, LLC Australia Pty Ltd

Seven Network (Operations) Ltd

Are Media Group

Verizon Inc and Oath Inc. (prior to sale of Yahoo on 1 September 2021)

Yahoo Australia Pty Limited

Microsoft Australia Pty Limited

Microsoft Corporation

Endemol Shine Australia Pty Ltd

Turn It Up Media Pty Ltd

Eveshore Pty Ltd

Chanel Contos (pro-bono)

Desert Pea Media Inc (pro-bono)

Moorambilla Voices (pro-bono)

Spotify AB

Work highlights

  • Acting for Google LLC in two separate proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria for defamation arising from publication of search engine results, image search results and the underlying third party webpages.
  • Defending Federal Court of Australia defamation proceedings on behalf of Yahoo in relation to an article published to the Yahoo News Australia website.
  • Defending Supreme Court of Victoria defamation proceedings brought by Ola Hassan Mohamed Ouda and others against the AFP and one of its then commanders, Todd Hunter.

Minter Ellison

Drawing on its 'unrivalled depth of experience' across all manner of content and communications matters, Minter Ellison works on high-profile, high-risk defamation cases, regularly appearing before the various courts. The deep bench at includes practice head and 'living legend' Peter Bartlett, who draws superlative praise from clients for running, ‘some of the most complex and important defamation defences in recent memory.’ Other key names to note include the experienced media litigator David Poulton and the 'exceptional talent' Dean Levitan.

Practice head(s):

Peter Bartlett

Other key lawyers:

Dean Levitan; Andrew Short; David Poulton; John Fairbairn;


‘The incredible depth of experience of Andrew Short and Peter Bartlett. Few rival that experience. Both Andrew and Peter are very practical, efficient, and incredibly knowledgeable.’

‘Minter Ellison’s media practice has some very experienced partners, and they take on very complex litigation. non-litigation work is done sensibly and they’ve built good relationships with our commercial people so are well trusted.’

‘Peter Bartlett and Dean Levitan are both very dedicated, hard working and effective lawyers. Good communication with us on our matters.’

‘This practice has a depth of experience that is unrivalled.’

‘Peter Bartlett is a living legend in the media law community and has run some of the most complex and important defamation defences in recent memory.’

‘Dean Levitan is an exceptional talent, with drive and determination to see through some extremely demanding cases and provide unwavering support to his clients throughout that exhausting process.’

Key clients

Copyright Agency

Nine Entertainment Co.


Walkley Foundation for Journalism

Advertiser Newspapers Pty Ltd

The International Bar Association Human Rights Institute

Advertiser Newspapers Pty Ltd

News Limited

Crikey/Private Media

Work highlights

  • Acting in defamation proceedings brought by Ben Roberts-Smith, in relation to three articles published by Fairfax Media mastheads in 2018 that implicate the plaintiff in serious misconduct amounting to murder, war crimes, and domestic violence.
  • Acting in defamation proceedings issued by Schiff (an American stock broker, financial commentator and radio personality of considerable wealth), representing Nine and The Age.
  • Acting for the Copyright Agency in proceedings brought by media monitoring organisations Meltwater, Isentia and Streem, in the Copyright Tribunal, in relation to the licence fees payable for their use of newspaper, magazine and journal content as part of their media monitoring activities.

McCullough Robertson

The ‘excellent and commercially astute' practitioners at McCullough Robertson regularly advise on defamation and contempt issues. Alex Hutchens, Belinda Breakspear, and Rebecca Lindhout lead the team out of Brisbane, with the latter notably continuing to advise market-leading domestic broadcasters on its cutting-edge live sport production models. The group also continues to assist clients who are working on media and technology advancements, including NFTs and blockchain issues, as well as working on fingerprinting technology matters.

Practice head(s):

Alex Hutchens; Belinda Breakspear; Rebecca Lindhout

Other key lawyers:

Jeremy Perrier


‘Alex Hutchens and Jeremy Perrier are excellent. They are approachable, incredibly easy to work with, incredibly knowledgeable and always efficient. They always provide commercially focused advice. They take a pragmatic approach that protects commercial interests whilst facilitating outcomes. They are excellent at managing and working within budgets. They are calm, personable and very easy to work with.’

‘They are absolutely trusted advisors. They are excellent lawyers and commercially astute. They provide excellent advice that focuses on the key issues, and the advice is presented in a way that is digestible by both in-house legal and commercial clients. They know how to provide usable, effective and targeted advice – a skill that can be difficult for external counsel to master.’

Banki Haddock Fiora

Located in Sydney, boutique IP firm Banki Haddock Fiora's media and entertainment teams specialise in defamation and pre-publication work; praised by clients for its ‘incredible depth of knowledge in the area’. The team is jointly headed up by Leanne Norman , described as 'one of the most experienced lawyers in the field' and Bruce Burke, who is known for his work in defamation, contempt, and other associated areas. Former practice head Peter Banki has left the firm, and now practices as a mediator.

Practice head(s):

Leanne Norman; Bruce Burke

Other key lawyers:

Marina Olsen; Alessandra Steele


‘Incredible depth of knowledge in the area. Highly skilled at making sound forensic decisions.’

‘Leanne Norman is one of the most experienced lawyers in the field. Her judgement is second to me none. Marina Olsen is an energetic new partner and works indefatigably for her clients.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd (now Nine Publishing) and actor Christie Whelan Browne in long-running and high-stakes defamation proceedings brought by actor Craig McLachlan, which resulted in McLachlan withdrawing his claim mid-trial and agreeing to pay costs.
  • Acted for HarperCollins Australia and HarperCollins UK in proceedings brought by Russian oligarch and former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich over a book published by HarperCollins, Putin’s People.
  • Advised multiple clients including Australian Community Media, Nine Publishing, podcast platform Casefile Presents and another large media organisation, on pre-publication matters.

Hall & Wilcox

The sports and entertainment practice group at the Melbourne-based Hall & Wilcox is praised for its ‘up to date and well informed’ approach across the breadth of media and broadcasting matters. The ‘approachable and pragmatic’, Martin Ross heads a team which assists major sports and events sector clients in major transactions and litigious proceedings , as well as with respect to governance assistance and strategic advice. Key names to note include special counsel Mark Lebbon , who frequently advises several sports government bodies on new media rights and commercial contracts.

Practice head(s):

Martin Ross

Other key lawyers:

James Deady; Mark Lebbon


‘Extremely professional. Strong subject matter expertise. Very collaborative in their approach with clients.’

‘Martin Ross. I can’t speak more highly of Martin’s service, professionalism and expertise. I have absolute trust in Martin’s advice. Mark Lebbon is extremely impressive and I have solid trust in his advice.’

‘The media and entertainment practice are up to date and well informed across media and broadcasting agreements. In our view, the practice group are leading experts in these matters and provide comfort to our company in executing and entering into these kinds of agreements. The practice group is approachable and pragmatic in advice, meaning fees generated are closely aligned to value of contract.’

‘Martin Ross is a stand out – he is fully engaged and provides clear time for his clients. He is approachable, pragmatic and well informed. He has built the capabilities within his team to support the practice, which gives comfort that we are always able to access clear and timely legal advice.’

Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills' TMT team handles content and media related matters for various high-profile arts and culture organisations, including publication agreements, content agreements, co-production agreements and music performance agreements. Perth-based Tony Joyner co-chairs the team alongside Kristin Stammer in Sydney, whose practice focuses on the licensing and distribution of content, brands, and data in a range of media transactions. Other key names to note on the transactional side include Rebecca Maslen-Stannage, who advises on a range of high-profile deals and negotiations.

Practice head(s):

Tony Joyner; Kristin Stammer

Other key lawyers:

Linda Evans; Rebecca Maslen-Stannage

Key clients

Seven West Media

BMG Rights Management GmbH

Tabcorp Holdings Limited

WPP AUNZ Limited

Dentsu Aegis Network

Sky News Australia (Australian News Channel)

TX Australia Pty Limited (TXA)

Bloomberg LLP

JCDeaux SA

The Australian Ballet

Art Gallery of NSW

Orchestra Victoria

Bytedance / Tiktok


Sydney Worldpride

Access Intelligence plc

Work highlights


    Working across its offices in Melbourne and Sydney, Kennedys‘ practice focuses on defamation - often against large media companies - counting a number of corporations, insurers, and professional practices among its client roster. Leading the team is Patrick George who specialises in complex dispute resolution and reputational risk matters. Other key names to note include commercial lawyer Nathan Buck , who plays a central role on some of group's most high-profile defamation instructions.

    Practice head(s):

    Patrick George

    Other key lawyers:

    Nathan Buck; Emily Schneider

    Key clients

    The Honourable Paul Keating, Former Prime Minister

    The Honourable Kevin Rudd, Former Prime Minister

    Peter Schiff

    Erin Molan

    Arthur & Co Pet Concierge

    Lotus Dining Group and Michael Jiang

    Dr David Kirwan

    Dr Adam Skidmore

    Dr. Evette Markos

    Australian Sheepadoodles Australia

    Work highlights

    • Acting for Peter Schiff in defamation proceedings against the Nine Network, the Age and various journalists in relation to a lead story aired on 60 Minutes and an article published in the Age.
    • Acted for Dr David Kirwan, an orthopaedic surgeon defendant in defamation proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
    • Acted for TV presenter Erin Molan who brought Federal Court defamation proceedings against the Daily Mail and certain journalists for publishing an article and tweets in June 2020 about comments she made during a radio broadcast.

    Simpsons Solicitors

    Drawing praise for its ‘pragmatic, very hands-on, creative and business-minded’ approach, the media law practice group at Simpsons Solicitors advises a number of clients across the focuses on film, television, music, publishing, and games sectors. The Sydney-based team. is co-headed by Adam Simpson, Jules Munro, and Mark Bamford. Elsewhere in the team, IP expert Clare Young is praised as an ‘impressive litigator with very valuable expertise in media and entertainment‘, while Janine Lapworth has a strong track record of representing international studios as well as Australian production companies and creative professionals.

    Practice head(s):

    Adam Simpson; Jules Munro; Mark Bamford

    Other key lawyers:

    Janine Lapworth;  Clare Young


    ‘The lawyers representing us remain the same and there is no over-lawyering and no inefficiency due to too many lawyers being involved. The team is very pragmatic, very hands-on, creative and business-minded. The partner in charge is very hands-on and available and managing the presentation efficiently.’

    ‘Adam Simpson has impressive expertise and experience in the media and entertainment area and also a very valuable sense for the related business aspects. His advice is pragmatic and to the point. He is able to think creatively and outside of the box.’

    ‘Clare Young is an impressive litigator with very valuable expertise in media and entertainment and a great attention to detail and organisation. Her communication over multiple time zones is efficient, structured, concise and very client-friendly. Her approach is pragmatic and business-oriented.’

    Key clients

    Netflix, Inc

    Fulcrum Media Finance Pty Ltd

    Screen Australia

    Hachette Publishing Group

    Elevate Production Finance

    Universal Music Publishing and Songs of Universal, Inc

    Riot Games Inc

    Kennedy Miller Mitchell Films

    Work highlights

    • Successfully represented Universal Music Publishing and Songs of Universal in a copyright infringement claim against Clive Palmer, in relation to his unauthorised use of the Twisted Sister hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It” for his 2019 election campaign.
    • Advising Fulcrum Media Finance in its involvement in approximately 85% of all film & TV deals in Australia and New Zealand.
    • Representing Netflix Inc in Copyright Tribunal proceedings in relation to a licence scheme for the use of music in streaming services operating in Australia.

    Thomson Geer

    Thomson Geer fields a ‘dedicated, lateral thinking, and quick moving‘ team whose workload often consists of major disputes, as well as intellectual property, privacy, and commercial-based instructions. The group is jointly led by the Sydney-based Justin Quill, a media law specialist who advises all of the national commercial television networks; John-Paul Cashen, praised for his ‘exceptional knowledge and experience of media law’ (also based in Sydney); and Marlia Saunders, who joined the Melbourne team from News Corp in July 2021.

    Practice head(s):

    Justin Quill; John-Paul Cashen; Marlia Saunders

    Other key lawyers:

    Samantha McGeoch


    ‘Incredible talent across all levels, great client network, depth of experience.’

    ‘Thomson Geer are extremely knowledgeable, reliable and trustworthy advisors in the Media and Entertainment space. They have an unmatched proficiency in the technical aspects of media law as well as understanding broader commercial considerations. They have an excellent team culture.’

    ‘John-Paul Cashen, Justin Quill, and Marlia Saunders have outstanding technical knowledge of media law and they are able to provide clear, concise, and commercially practical advice often on very tight timeframes. Their team and support staff are also very reliable, trustworthy and attentive, thus providing clients with a strong sense of depth and expertise in their team.’

    ‘Thomson Geer have a unique depth of understanding regarding the environment within each of the key organisations in the Australian media landscape. John-Paul Cashen, Justin Quill and Marlia Saunders have a unique combined skill set that means we can have absolute trust that they will manage any media-related matter in the way that best reflects our business needs.’

    ‘John-Paul Cashen has exceptional knowledge and experience of media law and is a trusted advisor to almost every large media organisation in the country.’

    ‘Extremely dedicated, lateral thinking and quick moving team.’

    ‘John-Paul Cashen is an outstanding lawyer who wants to fight for his clients and excels under pressure. A clutch player. He makes the right calls and understands his client’s needs. I also know silks who view him highly.’

    ‘Closely knit media team who understand the vagaries of the Victorian media laws and have an understanding of how media outlets operate.’

    Key clients

    ViacomCBS – Network 10

    News Corp Australia

    Seven West Media Limited – Channel Seven

    Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd – Channel Nine

    Twitter Inc

    Australian Broadcasting Corporation

    Special Broadcasting Service

    Southern Cross Austereo Pty Ltd

    The Age Company Pty Ltd and Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd (Nine newspapers)

    Nationwide News Pty Ltd

    Australian Associated Press

    Rebel News

    Work highlights

    • Acted for a substantial number of media organisations and individuals charged with contempt of court and breach of a suppression order in relation to their reports about Cardinal George Pell’s conviction on child sex offences (which was subsequently overturned on appeal).
    • Acted for Channel Nine, Channel Seven, Australian Broadcasting Corporation in a case involving an unprecedented attempt by police to ground a media helicopter which was filming footage of police and civilians during widespread lockdown protests across Melbourne.
    • Acted for Nationwide News Pty Ltd and Brenden Hills in a defamation matter that involved the development of a significant legal precedent – namely that the imputations pleaded were not conveyed.

    Kay and Hughes

    The Sydney-based group at Kay and Hughes is praised for providing ‘careful and detailed advice‘, as well as for its ‘sound knowledge of all relevant legislation‘ in the media landscape. Managing partner and firm founder Ben Kay is an ‘exceptional leader‘ who works with a number of creative industry players on both contentious and non-contentious matters. Other key names to note include the ‘solutions orientatedTom Lynch, whose diverse clientele include artists, producers, live performance companies, managers, and publishers.

    Practice head(s):

    Ben Kay

    Other key lawyers:

    Ruthanna Klawansky; Tom Lynch


    ‘Very careful and detailed advice and quick response. Highly responsible and reliable.’

    ‘The team at Kay & Hughes are exceptional. They have sound knowledge of all relevant legislation. They are personable, reliable, and incredibly easy to work with. They simplify complex legal jargon, and give direct and easy to understand advice. They are able to work quickly and efficiently, and to tight deadlines and turn arounds. They are superb at problem solving and always look to find solutions when giving advice.’

    ‘Tom Lynch is consistently going beyond what is needed to meet deadlines and requirements. He wholly understands my business needs, is timely and responsive, and is always solutions orientated.’

    ‘Ruthanna Klawansky is an incredibly experienced and proficient legal partner to my business. She is superb at problem solving and always look to find solutions when giving advice. She takes the time to understand our bespoke needs.’

    ‘Ben Kay is an exceptional leader, and works diligently to ensure all workstreams are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner.’

    ‘Our dealings with Kay & Hughes were wonderful from beginning to end. We have never engaged a legal practice before in the early days of our business. It was extremely comforting for us working with the team who took considerable time to ensure we were supported.’

    ‘We both appreciated that from the outset you feel like they have your best interests at heart. They were patient beyond words, clear & spent a lot of time explaining key concepts to us that were of particular interest to us. They are personable, approachable, genuine & wonderful people.’

    ‘Ruthanna Klawansky made the experience so incredible easy to understand and follow. Being a creative, sometimes the legal jargon can confuse the process but not when Ruth took time to explain, helps and always strive to make the work she provided the best she possibly could.’

    Key clients

    Special Group Australia

    Belvoir Theatre Company

    Sydney Writers Festival

    Sydney Dance Company

    National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA)

    Live Performance Australia

    Chadwick Models

    Olsen Gallery and John Olsen

    Work highlights

    • Advised Special Group Australia Pty Ltd in regard to Special Group’s award-winning “Tonight I’ll be Eating” advertising campaigns for Uber Eats Australia featuring talent including Paris Hilton, the Irwin Family and Australia Zoo.
    • Acting for Giant Dwarf Pty Ltd and The Checkout Pty Ltd in their Supreme Court of NSW claims against Cordell Jigsaw Productions Pty Ltd.