Media and entertainment in Australia

Allens’ ‘full practice service’ is hailed for its ‘good market knowledge’ and ‘industry expertise’. Gavin Smith and his team are particularly renowned for their broadcasting rights expertise and recently advised Fox Sports Australia on its six-year agreement with Cricket Australia. The creation, exploitation, management, protection and enforcement of IP rights are also a major strength, as are regulatory, M&A and privacy matters. Partner Valeska Bloch operates in Sydney alongside Smith. She is ‘extremely quick to pick up the real issues’ and is knowledgeable of cross-media ownership compliance, online content regulation and joint ventures.

Practice head(s):

Gavin Smith

Other key lawyers:

Valeska Bloch; Ian McGill; Kylie Brown;

Testimonials

‘Good market knowledge.A mix of full practice service with industry expertise.’

‘Kylie Brown is very engaged with a good understanding of the market and what might be acceptable positions to ensure that deals can get done as quickly and efficiently as possible’.

‘The team is very engaging and quick to pick up the industry jargon and industry-specific risks unique to the client’.

‘Valeska Bloch is extremely quick to pick up the real issues and is on the ball throughout the entire matter.’

Key clients

Twenty First Century Fox

Fox Sports

Prime Media

Australian News Channel Pty Ltd (broadcaster of Sky News Australia)

Hyundai Home Shopping Network Corp

APN Outdoor Group

News Pty Limited

Vodafone

Playground XYZ

Work highlights

  • Advised on the Australian aspects of Walt Disney’s acquisition of Twenty First Century Fox.
  • Assisted Prime Media with their renegotiation of their affiliation agreement with Seven West Media Limited.
  • Preparing an internal handbook for, and delivering training to, Australia News Channel, outlining its obligations under the free to air and subscription television codes of practice, ahead of ANC simulcasting a channel on free to air and subscription television.
  • Advised APN on its acquisition by global advertising giant JCDecaux for $1.1bn.
  • Regulatory issues concerning Vodafone’s decision (together with Telstra and Optus) to voluntarily block access to websites that were hosting or distributing footage of the Christchurch terror attack.

The full service media offering at Ashurst supports clients with transactional work, litigation, branding and advertising, classification, licensing and regulatory matters, in addition to pre and post-publication advice. Lisa Ritson, a trade mark and copyright expert, heads the practice and is regularly instructed to draft and negotiate content, talent release and sponsorship agreements. Another key member of the practice is Robert Todd who is based in Sydney alongside Ritson and is a leading name in the defamation space. He is currently representing Google in two separate proceedings where the respective plaintiffs assert that the client constitutes the publisher of specific search and autocomplete results.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Ritson

Other key lawyers:

Robert Todd; Anita Cade;

Testimonials

‘Robert Todd and Tim Brookes show their client commitment on a daily basis. Their advice is strategic, practical and reflects their genuine understanding of client commercial objectives.’

‘Anita Cade is one of the best operators in the country in this space – for her analytical ability, her managerial skills, her innate understanding of clients’ needs and interests and her sheer hard work.’

Key clients

Commercial Radio Australia

Conde Nast Publications

Crown Resorts

Discovery Communications

Endemol Shine

Eurosport

Expedia

Foxtel

Google LLC

HP Inc

Microsoft

Monsido

Mood Media Australia

Nationwide News

Nbn co limited

New York Public Radio

News Corporation Limited

News Life Media

Nine Entertainment

OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) Inc

Perform Group

Quintus

Random House

RightShip Pty Ltd

Samsung Electronics

Sony Computer Entertainment

The Narrative Investments Pty Limited

The Newspaper Works

Tourism Australia

Tourism Fiji

Trusted Media Brands

Virgin Media

Work highlights

  • Proceedings in the Australian Federal Court on behalf of Re.Group Pty Ltd and Naveen David Singh who sought an urgent interlocutory injunction on the basis that the respondent’s publications constituted a copyright infringement and contained injurious falsehoods.  
  • Acted for Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings Limited in relation to its acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital in Fairfax Media Limited by way of Scheme of Arrangement.
  • Defended the directors of Quintis in the Supreme Court of Western Australia in relation to a defamation action brought by founder and former managing director Frank Wilson against the directors.
  • Continuing to advise The Readership Works on various contractual matters.
  • Managing the broad brand portfolio for Discovery Communications in Australia and advising on various other copyright, trade mark and intellectual property matters.

Baker McKenzie’s notably broad offering encompasses media-related litigation, defamation, transactions, pre-publication work, regulatory issues, M&A work and content distribution. Sydney-based Andrew Stewart is a star name in the field and represents a number of clients in the free to air, subscription, IPTV and radio broadcasting industries with extensive experience in handling IP, publication and regulatory matters. He heads the practice which is well regarded in the developing arena of online copyright and was appointed by the Motion Picture Association of America and Village Roadshow to act on first of its kind litigation against various ISPs, the intent of which is to block access to numerous copyright infringing websites.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Stewart

Other key lawyers:

Adrian Lawrence; Peter Ickeringill; Andrea Kennedy;

Testimonials

‘A great understanding of media market forces, both past and present’.

‘Andrea Kennedy provides excellent strategic advice and her clear drafting of documents and quick turnaround ensured the closing of the transaction in short time frames’.

Key clients

Motion Picture Association of America

Meltwater

The Guardian Australia

Euromoney

Macquarie Media Limited

Network Ten

HT&E (formerly APN News and Media)

Fox Sports Australia

Daily Mail

Work highlights

  • Acting on an ongoing basis for Dailymail Online Australia, the Australian subsidiary of Daily Mail & General Trust in relation to a broad range of corporate, commercial and regulatory matters.
  • Acted for Yahoo! on the Australian aspects of its acquisition by Verizon, including the implications for the Yahoo!7 joint venture with Seven West Media Investments Pty Limited.
  • Hong Kong-based Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) engaged the group to commence proceedings in respect of seven Android-based television set top boxes which make unauthorised copies TVB’s content available to users in Australia.
  • Engaged to defend GNM Australia Pty Ltd and its journalist employee Michael Slezak in defamation proceedings brought by Peter Noble, owner and operator of the Bluesfest Music Festival.
  • Acting for Meltwater who commenced proceedings in the Copyright Tribunal to determine a fair licensing scheme for the media monitoring industry.

Michael Williams heads the media and entertainment practice at Gilbert + Tobin, providing expertise in trade mark and copyright matters within the sector. His team is engaged on a wide array of matters such as regulation, content and licensing, advertising clearance and defamation. A further key strength is M&A work with the group advising Telstra on the high-profile merger of Foxtel and Fox Sports. Newly promoted partner Rebecca Dunn undertakes the full array of relevant matters with a particular interest in new media. Named lawyers are located in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Michael Williams

Other key lawyers:

Siabon Seet; Tim Gole; Rebecca Dunn;

Key clients

Telstra

Sellers of Essential Media & Entertainment Group

Nine Entertainment Group & Fairfax Media

Phonographic Performance Company of Australia

Glass Candy songwriters Johnny Padgett and Lori Monahan

Cathy O’Toole MP

Take-Two Interactive, Inc

Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd

State Street Global Advisers

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

Work highlights

  • Advised Telstra on the merger of Foxtel and Fox Sports.
  • Advised the shareholders of the Essential Media & Entertainment Group (EME) on the reorganisation and sale of their stake in EME to Kew Media Group Inc.
  • Represented Nine Entertainment Group in relation to its corporate financing arrangements, including the refinancing of its corporate IPO debt facilities under a common terms structure in February 2018.
  • Acting for the PPCA in proceedings commenced in the Copyright Tribunal of Australia.
  • Acting for Glass Candy songwriters Johnny Padgett and Lori Monahan in the leading copyright decision currently before the courts that will likely result in a landmark judgment in the area of music copyright.

Clayton Utz fields a team with ‘great depth of knowledge and industry experience’. The ‘outstandingKate Jordan is an industry expert with key strengths in corporate, commercial and regulatory matters in the media sector. She operates from Sydney and is notably acting for Sanzaar in relation to the global sale and ongoing management of media rights for the 2021 to 2025 rugby seasons. Additional areas of expertise for the broader team include strategic arrangements, transactions, broadcasting deals, advertising clearance, litigation, defamation, media ownership and reputation management.  Clients single out special counsel Walid Sukari for his ‘excellent technical knowledge’.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Lloyd

Other key lawyers:

Tim Webb; Chris McLeod; Walid Sukari; Kate Jordan;

Testimonials

‘The team has a great depth of knowledge and industry experience. In addition, they make the effort to understand our business so they are in a position to provide efficient and practical commercial advice.’

‘Kate Jorden is outstanding. She has a deep knowledge of the sector. She is quick to grasp issues and understand the concerns and objectives’.

‘Ken Surenjen is also an excellent lawyer. He is able to distil complicated issues simply to provide commercial solutions.’

‘Walid Sukari is very good. He has excellent technical knowledge’

Key clients

Facebook, Inc

Seven Network

NOVA Entertainment

Isentia

Australian Rugby League Commission and National Rugby League

Racing.com Pty Ltd

SANZAR

TV Australia

Publicis Australia

Work highlights

  • Acting for Nova in an opposition to registration by the Chinese telecoms company, Huawei Technology, who sought to register NOVA for a broad range of goods in class 9.
  • Acting for Racing.com in securing various media rights to the most successful and high- profile race meetings in Australia, the four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
  • Acting for ASX-listed Isentia in Copyright Tribunal of Australia proceedings with respect to the licensing arrangements offered by the Copyright Agency Limited.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth is particularly reputed for its defamation expertise though also undertakes a comprehensive range of work involving corporate transactions, digital streaming launches, regulatory issues and high-stakes litigation. James North oversees the practice with his leading expertise in joint ventures, acquisitions, outsourcing, disputes and product rollouts. A recent standout instruction saw him act for CBS in relation to the successful launch of its streaming service in Australia. Special counsel Jennifer Dean acts for a number of new media clients while at partner level, Adam Foreman is an ‘excellent operator’ whose specialist areas include governance advice, reputation management and capital raisings. Named lawyers are based in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

James North

Other key lawyers:

Adam Foreman; Richard Leder; Jennifer Dean;

Testimonials

‘Adam Foreman is an excellent operator with a good sense of what’s urgent / important and is precise and easy to work with.’

Key clients

CBS

Comcast

Network

Southern Cross Austereo

CBS and parent company National Amusements

REA Group Limited

News Limited No

Google Yes

Channel 7 Melbourne

Rebel Wilson

Richard Di Natale (Leader of the Australian Greens)

Bail Justice

The Wagner Brothers

Work highlights

  • Acted for multinational telecoms and media conglomerate Comcast on all Australian law aspects of its proposed bid to acquire 21st Century Fox for $65bn.
  • Advised Network Ten on a dispute relating to its joint venture with two other major free to air broadcasters (Seven and Nine networks) and its ongoing access to broadcast transmission services.
  • Advised Southern Cross Austereo on the acquisition of playout centre services, including, drafting and negotiating the terms of the outsourcing agreement with the joint venture parties in a joint venture to offer playout services.
  • Advised CBS and its parent company National Amusements on the new laws requiring disclosure of foreign stakeholders in Australian media businesses and which introduced a new register of foreign interests.
  • Advised REA Group Limited on all aspects of its acquisition of Hometrack Australia Pty Ltd from ZPG Plc.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ team of ‘top commercial lawyers’ are distinguished through their ‘dedication and responsiveness’. The practice is famed for its handling of high-profile media deals and disputes with wider specialisation in IP, M&A, tax, regulation, competition, employment, privacy and data protection matters. Rebecca Maslen-Stannage heads the practice alongside Perth-based Tony Joyner and recently advised JCDecaux on its acquisition of APN Outdoor Group, the largest Australian transaction of its kind within the outdoor advertising sector. Another name to note is Kristin Stammer who is well-versed in advising on the IP and tech aspects of acquisitions, sales and joint ventures. Kwok Tang recently made partner and tailors his practice towards technical convergence and its impact on media companies. Named lawyers are based in Sydney unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Tony Joyner; Rebecca Maslen-Stannage

Other key lawyers:

Kristin Stammer; Kwok Tang; Malika Chandrasegaran;

Testimonials

‘Top commercial lawyers who provide dedication and responsiveness’.

Key clients

BMG Rights Management GmbH

Seven West Media Limited

Dentsu Aegis Network

Domain Group

IVE Group Limited

Tabcorp Holdings Limited

Pacific Magazines Pty Limited

Sky News Australia

Bloomberg LLP

JCDecaux SA

Work highlights

  • Advised JCDecaux on the acquisition of APN Outdoor Group by scheme of arrangement.
  • Serving as the strategic advisers to Sky Channel Pty Limited in relation to its vision agreements and arrangements.
  • Acted for Dentsu X Australia Pty Limited in its defence (and cross-claim) in a proceeding commenced in the Supreme Court of New South Wales by a former sub-contractor, Adcorp Australia Limited.
  • Acted for BMG Rights Management in relation to its acquisition of an Australian based music production company, Big Bang & Fuzz.
  • Acted for Seven on its recent exit from the long standing joint venture with Yahoo!7, through the sale of its 50% interest in Yahoo!7 to Verizon media.

Clients of HWL Ebsworth include film, music, theatre and digital entertainment companies along with sports teams, celebrities and multimedia providers, among others. Luke Dale’s track record consists of music licensing and social media advice as well as the establishment of online businesses. He heads the department from Adelaide together with Peter Campbell who pays particular focus to disputes as well as domestic and international distribution deals. In a recent caseload highlight, the team acted for Geoffrey Rush in defamation proceedings against Nationwide News pertaining to The Daily Telegraph’s allegations of inappropriate behaviour during a stage production of King Lear. Other work undertaken includes pre and post-publication advice, suppression orders, contempt issues, IP, advertising, media ownership and regulatory matters. Recommended associate Caitlin Surman is active in the media litigation space.

Practice head(s):

Luke Dale; Peter Campbell

Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Pullen; Caitlin Surman;

Key clients

News Limited (including Sunday Mail, The Advertiser and Messenger Newspapers)

Seven Network

Free TV

Melbourne University Publishing

Solstice Media/Motion Publishing

Nine Network and WIN Corporation

Network Ten

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Penguin Random House

Bauer Media

Five Mile Press

Hardie Grant Publishing

The Australian Jewish News (Polaris Media Pty Ltd)

SA Film Corporation

Adelaide Film Festival

McPherson Media Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for Fox Sports as it launched Australia’s first 4K channel and acquired extensive cricket media rights.
  • Copyright infringement and moral rights breach proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia involving allegations that music used in the global advertising campaign for client Air France (France is in the Air) is an unauthorised use of the song “Love is in the Air” by George Young and Harry Vanda.
  • Pre-publication work for Melbourne University Publishing Limited in relation to the publication of the book Cardinal. The Rise and Fall of James Pell.
  • Submissions to and liaison with the SA Government and Opposition on behalf of Free TV regarding legislative reform.
  • Acting for Channel Seven Sydney and Channel Seven Perth in defamation proceedings regarding a Today Tonight report about a Centrelink prosecution and a High Court judgment.

At Johnson Winter & Slattery, ‘partners are personally involved and deliver a high quality’ service. The practice assists its clients with editorial integrity, reputation, competitive advantage and business strategy concerns, acting on matters such as defamation, contempt, copyright, trade practices and litigation. Representation was provided to Bauer Media in the highly publicised claim brought against it by Rebel Wilson with the High Court refusing special leave on the matter. Clients include a range of high-profile television broadcasters, magazine publishers, newspapers, IT companies, multimedia providers and film companies. Sydney-based department head Kevin Lynch is ‘a very sharp operator’ who provides defamation and prepublication advice to leading names such as Microsoft, Seven Network and Verizon Media.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Lynch; Sam Johnson

Testimonials

‘Johnson Winter & Slattery’s Media and entertainment team are approachable, practical and add value to the matters in which they act. Their education and seminars are proactive in keeping clients up to date on developing areas of practice.’

‘Kevin Lynch is a valued adviser, bringing exceptional experience, grounded assessment of claims and commercially-based advice across a range of specialised areas. Kevin understands the issues and outcomes that are important to his client, keeps matters within a contained envelope and has achieved a track record of considerable success.’

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

‘A trusted pair of hands. Partners are personally involved, and deliver a high quality product with small and very capable teams.’

‘Kevin Lynch is a delight to work with, and a very sharp operator.’

Key clients

Seven Network (Operations) Ltd

Bauer Media Group

Verizon Inc

Verizon Media Australia Pty Limited formerly Yahoo!7 Pty Limited)

Microsoft Australia Pty Limited

Microsoft Corporation

Australian National University (defamation)

Karting (New South Wales) Limited (defamation defendant)

Endemol Shine Australia Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for Verizon Media Australia Pty Limited in defending defamation proceedings brought by Dr Janice Duffy.
  • Acting for Oath Inc (US) in defending defamation proceedings brought by Goran Nikolic and his private corporation.
  • Retained to provide prepublication services to the newly launched online news service of the Seven Network.
  • Acting for Microsoft Corporation in defending defamation proceedings brought by frequent defamation Plaintiff, Milorad Trkulja.
  • Acted for a global internet company in securing an early discontinuance, with costs, against a corporation that had earlier defamed it and served an ex parte injunction.

Recent highlights for King & Wood Mallesons’ media and entertainment team notably include assisting The Walt Disney Company in obtaining regulatory clearances in Australia for its acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox. The team provides counsel on new media, content, sponsorship and licensing deals in addition to a wide range of competition law, tax, brand protection, domain name disputes, advertising and marketing, privacy and date protection matters. Sydney-based Katrina Rathie and Melbourne-based Renae Lattey jointly head the practice which counts film studios, publishers, licensors and licensees, content developers and advertisers among its client roster.

Practice head(s):

Katrina Rathie; Renae Lattey

Other key lawyers:

Sharon Henrick; John Swinson; Caroline Coops;

Key clients

Fairfarx

The Walt Disney Company

Facebook, Inc.

Telstra Corporation Ltd

Trivago

The Star Entertainment Group

Match.com (Tinder)

LG Electronics Australia

QMS Media

Procter & Gamble

Work highlights

  • Acting for Facebook in the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry as it navigates the very wide range of issues raised in the ACCC’s Issues Paper, Preliminary Report and mandatory notices.
  • Advised Temenos on the acquisition of Australian-founded customer on-boarding platform, Avoka Technologies for $245m.
  • Secured urgent interlocutory injunctions in the Federal Court requiring Carlton & United Breweries to withdraw a major national point of sale campaign targeting State of Origin on the basis that the advertising was misleading and infringed on Lion’s official status as sponsor of both the NSW Blues and Queensland Maroons State of Origin teams.
  • Regularly advising Colgate on its multiple sponsorship and talent agreements for sports, teams, events and celebrities, including sponsorship of the Australian Turf Club for Colgate Optic White Stakes Day, the City to Surf, Jennifer Hawkins, Napoleon Perdis, South Sydney Rabbitohs and various social media influencers involved in promoting Colgate’s campaigns.
  • Advising trivago N.V. in relation to proceedings brought by the ACCC in the Federal Court for alleged false, misleading or deceptive representations.

Minter Ellison advises on all forms of content and communications including print, broadcast, online media, social media and other new media formats. Its broad caseload consists of content regulation, cross-media ownership, defamation, copyright, licensing, employment, privacy, M&A and corporate transaction work. Noteworthy for its disputes work, the group recently represented Foxtel in Federal Court proceedings which resulted in the nationwide blocking of The Pirate Bay and several other pirate websites. Seasoned practice head Peter Bartlett, an expert in publication risk defence, is based in Melbourne and is supported associate senior associate Sam White who advises several government clients on media and privacy matters.

Practice head(s):

Peter Bartlett

Other key lawyers:

David Poulton; Andrew Short; John Fairbairn; Sam White;

Testimonials

‘Exemplary service, devotion to client needs, expertise and energy.’

‘The senior partners David Poulton and Peter Bartlett also provide invaluable input and guidance on  editorial processes and make the critical big calls about litigation and legally risky pieces. David and Peter are both tremendous senior partners.’

Key clients

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

Nine Entertainment Co.

Foxtel

Google

News Limited

Al Jazeera

oOh!media

BuzzFeed Australia

The New York Times

Work highlights

  • Acting on oOh!media’s A$570m acquisition of Adshel.
  • Acting on a misleading advertising claim by Realestate.com.au against Domain.com.au regarding market superiority.
  • Acted for Fairfax, The New York Times, CNN and Crikey on the defence of media rights regarding the prosecution of Cardinal Pell.
  • Acting in significant defamation proceedings brought by Ben Roberts-Smith, one of Australia’s most decorated war veterans, 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.
  • Providing Nine Entertainment Co., the Australian Broadcasting Company, News Limited, BuzzFeed Australia, Crikey and other Private Media publications with pre-publication and defamation advice, reporting restrictions, contempt and court appearances.

Banki Haddock Fiora is primarily geared towards defending claims of defamation though it also handles other contentious matters such as injunction proceedings and suppression order applications. Its non-contentious offering consists of pre-publication advice, specifically in relation to newspapers, television, book and radio publications and broadcasts. Leanne Norman is widely regarded as one of the go-to names for defamation work and leads the practice from Sydney alongside Bruce Burke.

Practice head(s):

Leanne Norman; Bruce Burke

Other key lawyers:

Phillip Beattie;

Key clients

Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited and John Garnaut (journalist)

Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited, Kate Lahey (journalist), Fairfax Printers Pty Limited, Fairfax Digital Australia & New Zealand Pty Limited and The Age Company Limited

HarperCollins Publishers Australia Pty Limited and Steve Cannane

Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited and Su-Lin Tan (journalist)

Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited and Michael Bachelard (journalist)

Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Christie Whelan Browne

Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited, The Age Company Limited, The Federal Capital Press of Australia Pty Limited and Kate McClymont (journalist)

Fairfax Media Publications Pty Limited, Nationwide News Pty Limited and Australian News Channel Pty Limited

Harbour Radio Pty Limited and Alan Jones (presenter)

Harbour Radio Pty Limited

Fairfax Med Publications Pty Limited, Nationwide News Pty Limited and Nine Network Pty Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting on the case of Chau Chak Wing v Fairfax Media where a Chinese-Australian billionaire Chau Chak Wing brought defamation proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia in relation to an article published on smh.com.au by journalist John Garnaut.
  • Acting on the case of Anthony Cummings v Fairfax Media where Anthony Cummings, a racehorse trainer, brought defamation proceedings in relation to articles published in Fairfax Media publications in 2010.
  • Acting on the case of Gill & Herron v HarperCollins Publishers Australia Pty Limited and Steve Cannane concerning a book chapter that details the use of deep sleep and electro-shock therapy treatment at Chelmsford Private Hospital during the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Acting on the case of Harry Triguboff v Fairfax Media where Australian property developer Harry Triguboff brought defamation proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia in respect of an article published in the Australian Financial Review and afr.com.au.
  • Acting for Fairfax Media on a claim brought in relation to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend lift-out magazine that detailed the cover up of child sexual abuse in a Christian sect known as the Exclusive Brethren.

Recommended for its ‘responsive and creative’ approach, Bird & Bird’s media and entertainment department consists of lawyers with transactional, regulatory and litigation expertise. The caseload includes a broad spread of work including sports, broadcasting rights, defamation proceedings, copyright and advertising matters. Shane Barber specialises in advising clients from the global advertising industry on the establishment and control of their businesses in Australia; he heads the practice from Sydney alongside Sophie Dawson whose strengths include the Broadcasting Service Act, privacy advice and publication law.

Practice head(s):

Shane Barber; Sophie Dawson

Other key lawyers:

Rich Hawkins; Lynne Lewis; Hamish Fraser;

Testimonials

‘The team is  accessible, flexible and strong’.

‘Lawyers are responsive, creative and sensitive to nuances’.

Key clients

Nine Entertainment Co Limited

GlaxoSmithKline

Novartis Consumer Healthcare

Microsoft

Expedia

Consolidated Press Holdings/James Packer

Kew Media

City of Sydney

Rugby Australia

Georgie Gardiner

NSW Government

Take-Two Interactive Software/Rockstar Games, Inc

Australian Police Journal

Sportsbet

Vodafone

Activision Blizzard

Work highlights

  • Advising Nine Entertainment in relation to a variety of privacy, regulatory and other matters.
  • Acting for Take-Two in proceedings concerning unauthorised mods written for its Grand Theft Auto V game.
  • Advised Toronto-listed KEW Media Group on its acquisition of Essential Quail Media Group (EQ Media), an independent television production company based in the USA and Australia.
  • Advised the City of Sydney on its 2-year deal with the ABC for the production and broadcast of the NYE fireworks, including drafting and negotiating the host broadcaster contract.
  • Advised Rugby Australia on its deal with IMG Media for worldwide licensing of archive rights to The Rugby Championship, Super Rugby, inbound Wallaby Test matches and the National Rugby Championship.

Distinguished through its focus on major transactions, governance assistance, strategic advice and litigation in the sports industry, clients recommend Hall & Wilcox for its ‘broad’ skill-set. ‘Outstanding’ practice head Martin Ross works from Melbourne and possesses ‘unequal experience’ in the sporting sector with a proven track record in handling rules and regulations, media rights and sponsorship agreements. Strengths of the overall team also include regulatory, IP, property, employment and public liability matters. Clients include domestic and overseas governing bodies, public and private corporations, athletes, sponsors, agencies and high-profile individuals.

Practice head(s):

Martin Ross

Other key lawyers:

Mark Lebbon; Matthew Bridges;

Testimonials

‘The team’s skills appear broad and well suited to the client’s requirements’.

‘Martin Ross is a high quality human and an outstanding lawyer’.

‘Martin is trusted by clients and is not just a source of legal advice, he’s also  commercially savvy.  He also has an interesting ability to lend out his trust to his associates to improve his leverage.’

‘Martin Ross provides unequalled experience in media and sport deals of all types (athletes, content rights, stadium lease agreements, etc). Also, he’s unusually well connected across the commercial and legal dimensions of global sport.’

The practice at Kennedys is geared towards plaintiff-led defamation and reputational risk management though it also handles broader matters such as sponsorship, broadcast and media rights, privacy protection and product licensing. Sydney-based Patrick George has extensive experience in highly-publicised media and defamation cases; he heads a department entrusted with such matters by corporations, insurers, media groups, politicians, celebrities and sporting bodies.

Practice head(s):

Patrick George

Other key lawyers:

Rebekah Giles;

Key clients

The Honourable Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia

The Honourable Paul Keating, former Prime Minister of Australia

Australian Olympic Committee and John Coates, AOC President

The Honourable Kristina Keneally, former Premier of NSW

Western Sydney Football Club (GWS Giants)

Anthony Shepherd AO

Ben Davies

Geoffrey Robertson QC

Magistrate Robert Stone

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young

Work highlights

  • Advising former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on proceedings in the Supreme Court, where he was subpoenaed with  regard to the proceedings in Victoria between various owners of home insulation businesses and the Commonwealth Government.
  • Representing the former Chief-of-Staff of Commonwealth Minister (Michaelia Cash) in highly publicised proceedings concerning the execution of search warrants by the Australian Federal Police on the Australian Workers Union.
  • Acting for Magistrate Robert Stone in defamation proceedings against the Minister for Justice.
  • Acting on behalf of former Prime Minister Paul Keating in defamation proceedings against The Sydney Morning Herald.
  • Acting for Senator Sarah Hanson-Young in defamation proceedings against former Senator David Leyonhjelm.

Simpsons Solicitors is well regarded for its media-related IP, specifically in relation to the protection, enforcement and commercialisation of trade marks and copyrights. The Sydney-based firm is also home to transactional and advisory knowledge and is particularly active in the music sector with a developing reputation in the film and TV arenas. Adam Simpson, Jules Munro and Mark Bamford head the practice which also has additional expertise in deal structuring, defamation and broadcast regulation.

Practice head(s):

Adam Simpson; Mark Bamford; Jules Munro

Other key lawyers:

Shane Simpson AM; Ian McDonald;

Testimonials

‘Great commercial and strategic advice and strong technical, drafting skills’.

‘Simpsons have been working on issues relating specifically to the Australian publishing industry for more than a decade. They are aware of the social and political situation the industry is facing’.

‘Simpsons excel not only at getting straight to the heart of a matter, but also in communicating simply and effectively.’

‘Simpsons are commercially minded IP and entertainment lawyers. They know the industry intimately, are well connected and well respected.’

‘Adam Simpson is an excellent copyright litigator. Very commercial, practical advice. Jules Munro is proactive, commercial and easy to get along with.’

Key clients

Allen & Unwin

Australian Publishers Association

De Bono Global Pty Ltd

Frost* Collective

Hachette Australia

Kobalt Music Publishing Pty Ltd

Macmillan Publishers (US)

Macmillan Publishers Australia

Manfredi Enterprises

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

Murdoch Books

Museums Australia (NSW)

National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

National Gallery of Australia

National Gallery of Victoria

Pearson

Riot Games, Inc

Simon & Schuster

Songs of Universal, Inc.

The Intermedia Group

The Wiggles

Universal Music Australia

Universal Music New Zealand

Verlagsgruppe Random House GmbH

Warner Chappell Music Australia

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented the publishers of Eminem’s music in a dispute with the National Party of New Zealand over the use of a soundalike track in a political advertisement.
  • Representing Kobalt Music (an international music publisher) in major music copyright litigation brought by the writers and publisher of John Paul Young’s hit 1977 song Love is in the Air.
  • Advised an Australian/New Zealand production company on the sale of a majority shareholding to Australia’s Seven West Media.
  • Representing Universal Music Publishing in Federal Court proceedings against businessman and politician Clive Palmer, in relation to the unauthorised use of Twisted Sister’s classic song We’re Not Gonna Take It in his party’s 2019 Australian election campaign.
  • Advised and represented the operators of the multinational children’s entertainment group “The Wiggles” in relation to a range of copyright and trade mark issues.

Kay & Hughes Entertainment Lawyers

Kay & Hughes Entertainment Lawyers' clients feel 'completely secure' in the care of Ben Kay and his team. Its clients range from individual artists to production companies and groups in the entertainment, media and arts industries, especially in the fields of theatre, talent and visual arts. Its work spans the negotiation of agreements with entities such as advertising agencies, events companies and theatres and it also handles the resolution of  disputes including those relating to IP. Considered 'an incredible asset' associate Ruthanna Klawansky is also a key team member.

Testimonials

The team at Kay & Hughes are incredibly responsive, thorough and caring. They are always across our industry issues and will go above and beyond to help us when necessary.’

‘As a regular client of Kay & Hughes, we feel completely secure in the knowledge that we can turn to them at any time with issues that we face, particularly with regard to copyright in the publishing industry. ‘

‘Ben Kay is a fantastic lawyer to have at our disposal. He cares very much for our business and will respond to any issues that we have promptly with much thought and consideration. I have had conversations with Ben after hours and on weekends when required. He is always trying to think outside the box, which is a necessary trait when dealing with an innovative business such as ours.’

‘Ruthanna Klawansky is also an incredible asset to the Kay & Hughes team. She has spent countless hours assisting us with any issues whether they be in relation to copyright, employment agreements, trade marks or any of the myriad issues that a small business comes up against. Like Ben, she is incredibly knowledgeable, caring and goes above and beyond.’

‘Kay & Hughes are the team for us!’

‘The firm has excellent knowledge of the theatre sector and contract law and practice in that context. Ben Kay and Ruth Klawansky provide reliable and solutions-focussed advice.’ 

 

Key clients

Sydney Writers Festival
Belvoir Theatre Company
Sydney Dance Company
National Institute of Dramatic Art

 

Work highlights

  • Provided a leading independent advertising agency advice in relation to securing talent for a high-profile advertising campaign for a multinational brand.
  • Representing a leading visual artist in a Federal Court dispute with a gallery regarding the recovery of the artist’s works and enforcement of their intellectual property.
  • Provided advice to a major commercial producer in relation to the staging of a prominent musical theatre adaptation of a film.

The three-partner practice at Mark O'Brien Legal is headed by the firm’s namesake, Mark O'Brien, a specialist in defamation, broadcasting issues, contempt, copyright and other IP matters. Paul Svilans is another key name, complementing O’Brien’s expertise with his knowledge of statutory restrictions and defamation insurance-related matters. The highly specialised firm is located in Sydney and uniquely offers a 24/7 publication service. It is predominantly active in the defamation space, representing both large media clients and individual plaintiffs.

Practice head(s):

Mark O’Brien

Key clients

Seven Network

Daily Mail Australia

Chris Gayle (international cricketer)

Dr Chau Chak Wing

Craig McLachlan

Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG

Crown Resorts Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Channel Seven Sydney in relation to defamation proceedings brought against it by Hassan Souied and Khalil Khalil in the District Court of New South Wales.
  • Represented Ben Roberts-Smith in relation to the defamation proceedings against Fairfax Media in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
  • Representing Chris Gayle in relation to his defamation proceedings brought against Fairfax Media in the New South Wales Supreme Court.
  • Representing Daily Mail Australia in relation to the defamation proceedings brought against it by Mick Gattoin in the Victorian Supreme Court.
  • Representing Dr Chau Chak Wing in relation to his defamation proceedings brought against the ABC in the Federal Court of Australia.