Firms To Watch: Media and entertainment

The group at Addisons aptly handles a wide spread of media matters, working with creatives, journalists and advertising agencies on content, marketing and branding related issues. Justine Munsie oversees the work from Sydney.

Media and entertainment in Australia


With extensive experience across domestic and multi-jurisdictional media matters spanning media disputes, rights deals, production issues, transactions and defamation litigation, Ashurst enjoys a first-rate reputation which attracts high-profile media players from across Australia. ‘Stand-out partnerAnita Cade brings over 20 years’ experience in contentious and non-contentious intellectual property to the table, while Robert Todd has ‘significant expertise‘ in technology and copyright defamation claims and litigation. The team is bolstered by Lisa Ritson, who specialises in IP and marketing, consumer protection and counterfeiting issues, as well as Peter Armitage, who handles client defence work and merger clearances.

Practice head(s):

Anita Cade

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Ritson; Robert Todd; Peter Armitage; Imogen Loxton


‘The team has strong knowledge and experience of media and entertainment industries; excellent case management.’

‘Robert Todd is a long-standing partner with significant expertise, good at difficult/strategic matters.’

‘Stand-out partner – Anita Cade- smart, excellent people skills, a good understanding of clients’ best interests and how to advance them.’

Key clients

Re.Group Pty Ltd

Google LLC

ITV Granada Media

Discovery Communications

News Life Media

Conde Nast Publications

Commercial Radio Australia

Racing Victoria Limited

New South Wales Government


Work highlights

  • Acting for a consortium of media companies in the Voller proceedings in relation to third party liability for Facebook posts and successful special leave application, and current appeal to the High Court of Australia.
  • Acting for ASIC and one of its officers in defamation and injurious falsehood proceedings in the New South Wales Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, with ASIC successful in defending the claim.

Baker McKenzie

The media and content team at Baker McKenzie is renowned for its wide coverage of work which range from high-profile contentious proceedings and corporate transactions to regulatory reviews on an international and national basis. The group is led by Andrew Stewart, who is highly regarded for his expertise in digital content acquisitions, defamation issues, copyright enforcements and media regulations. The deep bench also includes Adrian Lawrence, who handles digital content and the related security and privacy issues; Allison Manvell, who acts for clients encompassing advertising agencies, sporting organisations and software vendors and consumers; and Nicholas Kraegen, whose speciality is copyright law.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Stewart

Other key lawyers:

Adrian Lawrence; Allison Manvell; Nicholas Kraegen

Key clients

Network Ten All Access Pty Limited

Paramount Plus

Fox Sports Australia Pty Limited

Meltwater Australia Pty Ltd

Motion Picture Association (MPA)

Work highlights

  • Representing a global streaming giant 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 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.
  • Representing Fox Sports Australia Pty Limited in a highly publicised matter in the District Court involving a defamation claim by a high-profile former Channel 7 NRL reporter against five media companies.


Allens draws upon a team of specialists, who are qualified across a broad spectrum of disciplines to advise its clientele on a variety of media and broadcasting matters. Gavin Smith stands at the helm in Sydney, advising on media rights agreements and issues surrounding cybersecurity. Other key names to note are Kylie Brown, who has know-how of corporate and commercial law and advises on key M&A transactions within the media space; and Jacqueline Downes, who is known for her work on domestic and international mergers as well as her engagement with competition and consumer law cases.

Practice head(s):

Gavin Smith

Other key lawyers:

Kylie Brown; Jacqueline Downes


‘Industry knowledge, sophisticated analysis but plain English explanations, whip smart and there whenever I need.’

Key clients

News Corp


NBC Universal and Matchbox Pictures


Sony Music Entertainment Australia

Sony Music Publishing

The Walt Disney Company

Rugby Australia

Nationwide News

Melbourne Racing Club

Racing Australia

The Arts Law Centre

Work highlights

  • Advised Foxtel on key aspects of its broadcasting rights agreement with the AFL for the 2025-2031 seasons.
  • Advised NBC Universal and Matchbox Pictures on the arrangements for the build, operation, use and commercialisation of the largest LED Volume television and film production studio in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Advised TAB New Zealand on a 25-year strategic partnering arrangement with an international wagering operator which will enhance TAB NZ’s betting, broadcasting and gaming operations in New Zealand.

Bird & Bird

With its expert knowledge of the industry, coupled with a capacity for ‘lateral and strategic thought’, the team at Bird & Bird attracts a broad spectrum of global and domestic clients. While it is well-equipped to deal with traditional media matters, the group particularly leverages its strong presence in the computer games industry and knowledge of sports media rights sales and acquisitions, the latter of which has been further cemented following the recent addition of sports law expert Brianna Quinn. The team is co-headed by Sophie Dawson, who has extensive experience in privacy, copyright and defamation law; and media lawyer Shane Barber, who is highly sought after by gaming businesses seeking regulatory aid.

Practice head(s):

Sophie Dawson; Shane Barber

Other key lawyers:

Rich Hawkins; Brianna Quinn; Hamish Fraser


‘Great team builders.’

‘Lateral and strategic thought.’

‘Rich Hawkins is sensible, doesn’t over or under service, and is attentive to client needs. His former experience as a general counsel has clearly given him an excellent idea of what in-house counsel want and need.’

‘Understood who we were, provided a practical response to resolve commercially.’

Key clients

Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd, TCN Channel Nine Pty Ltd

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc, RockStar Games, Inc

Epic Games, Inc

CJZ Pty Ltd

Australian Police Journal

Clarity Global

Counter Ruck Fiji Pte Ltd (trading as the Fijian Drua)

Pilgrim Media Group

IMG Arena

Riot Games

Work highlights

  • Advised global communications and digital marketing agency, Clarity Global, on its acquisition of Australian public relations and strategic communications group, Sefiani Communications.
  • Acting for Nine, and one of its journalists, in the defence of defamation proceedings concerning two broadcasts on A Current Affair, its flagship prime time current affairs programme.
  • Advised a high-profile and multinational media company, in relation to its compliance with applicable privacy and data protection regulations in various jurisdictions including Australia.

Clayton Utz

Led by Bruce Lloyd, the TMT group at Clayton Utz frequently acts on a range of international, high-profile industry matters. The team is home to litigator Timothy Webb as well as Walid Sukari and Akmal Chunara, who both specialise in sports media rights. The firm has been bolstered by the recent arrival of Joel Parsons from Bird & Bird, who brings with him expertise in defamation claims, statutory restrictions and licensing disputes.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Lloyd

Other key lawyers:

Walid Sukari; Akmal Chunara; Timothy Webb; Joel Parsons


‘Commercial and business relevant legal advice. Tim Webb’s experience as a litigator means he brings a different risk lens to the table to the standard commercial contracts adviser.’

‘Timothy Webb is always accessible and responsive. He will always fit to the purpose.’

‘Immediate, accurate and professional provision of services. Excellent knowledge and expertise.’

Key clients

Seven Network

Isentia Group

Free TV Australia (Free TV)

Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation S.A.

NOVA Entertainment Pty Ltd

SANZAAR Unions (Rugby Australia, New Zealand Rugby Union, South African Rugby Union and Union Argentina de Rugby)

The Honourable Mark McGowan, Premier of Western Australia


Sportsbet Pty Ltd / Racing Victoria

Work highlights

  • 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.
  • Acted for Isentia in successful 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.
  • Acted for Free TV Australia in relation to its role in the Government’s “PacificAus TV” initiative.

Gilbert + Tobin

Gilbert + Tobin is highly sought after by high-profile media clients seeking advice on data privacy issues, media regulations and, due to its marked strength in IP, content licensing mandates. Michael Williams has experience handling defamation issues in the advertising space, while Rebecca Dunn excels in media litigation, with a focus on social media law. Both are based in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Michael Williams

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Dunn

Key clients


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

BCI Media Group


Tolga Kumova

Universal Music Group

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

Opera Australia

State Street Global Advisers

Quadrant Private Equity

Work highlights

  • Acted for businessman and mining entrepreneur Tolga Kumova in Federal Court defamation proceedings.
  • Acted for major motion picture studios (and Netflix) on key copyright enforcement and lobbying activity.
  • Advising Microsoft on the Australian competition aspects, including ACCC approval, of Microsoft’s proposed A$96bn ($68.7bn) acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Johnson Winter Slattery

Johnson Winter Slattery is renowned for its work handling high-profile defamation defence cases and offering ‘commercial and pragmatic’ advice on cases up to High Court appellate level. ‘Exceptional media lawyer’ Kevin Lynch heads up the practice from the Sydney office, where he advises market-leading tech companies and media conglomerates in relation to defamation, privacy, brand protection and copyright issues. Eve Thomson is based in the Adelaide office; she is a key point of contact for publishing clients.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Lynch

Other key lawyers:

Eve Thomson


‘Kevin Lynch leads a strong media team that is commercial and pragmatic.’

‘The team has an intimate understanding of our business, built up over a long period of time. They are always responsive, pragmatic and highly skilled.’

‘Kevin Lynch is an exceptional media lawyer with extensive experience and a sensible, pragmatic approach to resolving issues quickly.’

Key clients

Google LLC

Google Australia Pty Ltd

YouTube, LLC

Seven Network (Operations) Ltd Australia Pty Ltd

Are Media Group

Yahoo Australia Pty Limited

Microsoft Australia Pty Limited

Microsoft Corporation

Australian Federal Police

Endemol Shine Australia Pty Ltd

Spotify AB

Chanel Contos

Moorambilla Voices

Success Publishing Pty Ltd (Forbes Australia)

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Gartner-Rose Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted in High Court for Google and won after a long-fought and significant battle in a defamation claim concerning search engine results.
  • Acted in the Supreme Court in defamation proceedings brought by several individuals against the Commonwealth of Australia via its agency AFP and one of its then commanders.

Minter Ellison

With eight offices across Australia, Minter Ellison offers clients national expertise alongside an international reach. The team is well versed in advising across the gamut of content and communication issues and, drawing upon its ‘decades of experience’, specialises in high-profile, high-risk defamation cases. Peter Bartlett has substantial experience in the field and advises on privacy issues, breaches of confidence and super injunctions. The team is also home to ‘outstanding practitioner’ Dean Levitan, who is well known for acting for key media companies in the federal and state supreme courts; media litigator David Poulton, who expertly handles defamation cases; and Patrick Considine, who was recently promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Peter Bartlett


‘Excellent technical knowledge of the law and a deep understanding of the media industry. Particularly good at identifying and nurturing smart young lawyers.’

‘Peter Bartlett has a depth of knowledge, a deep understanding of the industry and business context and is a strategic and pragmatic litigator. Patrick Considine and Dean Levitan in particular have a knack for understanding and analysing highly specialised and detailed issues quickly and thoroughly, and listening to and managing the client’s priorities. They are all excellent communicators and a pleasure to deal with.’

‘The team has decades of experience in this area, and for big complex litigation has the depth of team required.’

‘Peter Bartlett is pre-eminent and puts his all into matters for his clients. Patrick Considine, a new partner, is smart, hard working and keen to impress.’

‘The team’s core strength is technical brilliance rendered useful with an understanding of what is practical.’

‘Dean Levitan is an outstanding practitioner – accessible, strategic and with a deep understanding of the law and the industry. Dean is my go-to for any media law issue, particularly defamation. A legal powerhouse, and the total package, what any client could wish for. Peter Bartlett leads the practice and already has a well-earned, great reputation as a leader in the field.’

Key clients

Copyright Agency

Nine Entertainment Co. (The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Financial Review)

The New York Times Company


Walkley Foundation for Journalism


The International Bar Association Human Rights Institute

Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC)

Australian Securities and Investment Commission

Al Jazeera

RMIT University

Work highlights

  • Acting in defamation proceedings brought by 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.
  • Advised the Nine Network in relation to defamation proceedings by the former President of Melbourne FC.
  • Acted for Al Jazeera in a high-stakes defamation claim commenced by the nephew of the Prime Minister of Cambodia. The claim relates to an in-depth documentary investigation published by Al Jazeera in August 2022.

McCullough Robertson

McCullough Robertson advises a range of clients, from start-ups to governmental bodies, on media and entertainment law, namely with regard to defamation and contempt issues. The trio of Alex Hutchens, Belinda Breakspear and Rebecca Lindhout jointly lead the team; Hutchens heads up the data privacy offering, while Breakspear handles the team’s IP and licensing work, and Lindhout deals with media rights, advertising and regulatory matters. The group is also actively working to expand its national coverage with the recent addition of senior associate Jacob Bartels to the team, who continues to strengthen the firm's offering in Brisbane.

Practice head(s):

Alex Hutchens; Belinda Breakspear; Rebecca Lindhout

Other key lawyers:

Jacob Bartels

Key clients

Fox Sports Australia (Foxtel Group)

Beach 26 Pty Ltd (trading as Live Learn Survive)

Key Assets The Children’s Services Provider (Australia) Ltd

Asia Pacific Screen Award

Brisbane Marketing/Brisbane Economic Development Agency

Telstra Corporation Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted Fox Sports Australia with its outside broadcast arrangements, which result in the production of live broadcast coverage of NRL, AFL, Cricket, Netball and other sports, including for HD and 4K coverage.
  • Advised Maxi The Lifeguard – Beach 26 on brand protection and copyright issues in relation to branding and his book series for children based on the ‘Maxi the Lifeguard’ character.
  • Negotiated the publishing agreement for Key Asset’s partnership with renowned author, Tess Rowley in the production of their children’s book, ‘Odd Socks’.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth

The team at Corrs Chambers Westgarth advises on a spread of high-value corporate transactions and regulatory matters within the TMT space. James North leads the team from the Sydney office, where he handles disputes, privacy issues and reform law mandates, particularly in the online streaming space. Also in Sydney, Adam Foreman acts for clients in the broadcasting and radio sectors. Jim Micallef is noted for being ‘exceptional’.

Practice head(s):

James North

Other key lawyers:

Adam Foreman; Mark Wilks; Jim Micallef


‘Jim Micallef is exceptional.’

Key clients


Paramount+ (formerly ViacomCBS)


Southern Cross Media and Southern Cross Austereo

Seven Network

New Aim

REA Group Limited

Network 10

Carsome Group

Work highlights

  • Prepared Digital Industry Group Inc (DIGI), whose members include Google, Meta, Apple, eBay and Twitter, with its formal submissions for the Stage 2 Review of the Model Defamation Provisions.
  • Representing Meta (Facebook) in its defence of class action claim brought on behalf of members of the cryptocurrency industry alleging that Meta and Google engaged in cartel conduct.
  • Advising REA, a digital real estate search platform, on a range of privacy and data related matters associated with the operation and growth of the REA platform and its core product offerings, including in the context of data enrichment, and advertising.

Hall & Wilcox

The team at Hall & Wilcox ‘offers commercial, agile and sound advice and support’ across the breadth of media and broadcasting matters. The practice is led by Martin Ross, who assists key sports and media clients. Other practitioners to note are James Deady, who is experienced in sports licensing work and media rights transactions; and Mark Lebbon, who is ‘reliable, personable and great at his craft’.

Practice head(s):

Martin Ross

Other key lawyers:

James Deady; Mark Lebbon


‘H&W handle many aspects of our business from a legal perspective and do so with aplomb.’

‘Martin Ross is our main point of call, as he understands our business intimately after many years.’

‘The team are absolute experts in their area. They have exceptional turnaround times and allow the client to help guide the legal process.’

‘Martin Ross is knowledgeable across so many sports rights deals that there is nothing that he hasn’t experienced before and can’t apply to the matter at hand!’

‘The team offers commercial, agile and sound advice and support.’

‘A bespoke package with expertise offered at different levels within the firm.’

‘Mark Lebbon – if you want something done to perfection with fast turnaround, Mark is your guy. For high-risk, high-value transactions, my mind is at ease when I know Mark is involved. He is reliable, personable and great at his craft.’

Herbert Smith Freehills

Known for its ability to navigate high-profile deals, disputes and regulatory issues in the media space, the TMT team at Herbert Smith Freehills specialises in broadcasting rights, intellectual property issues and publishing agreements. Kristin Stammer oversees the work, managing content licensing, distribution and IP rights, both nationally and internationally, while Kwok Tang handles corporate media transactions; his expertise also extends to privacy and data security transactions. Both are based in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Kristin Stammer

Other key lawyers:

Kwok Tang

Key clients

Seven West Media

BMG Rights Management GmbH

Free TV Australia

Tabcorp Holdings Limited

WPP AUNZ Limited


Sky News Australia (Australian News Channel)

TX Australia Pty Limited (TXA)

Bloomberg LLP

JCDeaux SA

Bytedance / TikTok


The Australian Ballet

Art Gallery of NSW

Orchestra Victoria

Sydney Worldpride

Access Intelligence plc

Sky Racing

Work highlights

  • Acted for SWP, the company behind Sydney World Pride 2023, on with the full suite of its legal requirements relating to the event, including negotiating a broadcast rights agreement with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and providing drafting support and advice in relation to SWP’s commercial contracts and procurement arrangements, including, sponsorship, artist performance, ticketing, merchandise, government funding, venue hire and other third-party service arrangements.
  • Advised Seven on strategic brand protection advice; prosecution and coordination of its worldwide trade mark portfolio; settlement and coexistence negotiations; and initiating and defending numerous trade mark opposition and non-use actions before Trade Marks Offices.
  • Acted for Seven in Federal Court proceedings relating to Seven’s appeal from a decision of a Delegate of the Registrar of Trade Marks, in which the Registrar upheld 7-Eleven’s application to remove Seven’s 7NOW trade mark for non-use.

Simpsons Solicitors

Sought out by publishers, agents and artists, Simpsons Solicitors specialises in copyright litigation, dispute resolution and defamation claims as well as contractual agreements, sponsorships and merchandising issues. Leadership is shared between Adam Simpson, who has notable expertise in the arts sector; Jules Munro, who specialises in intellectual property law and leads the firm’s music industry group; and Mark Bamford, who has particular expertise in financial law and leads film and television practice. Other names to note are Janine Lapworth and Clare Young, who both have substantial experience in IP law.

Practice head(s):

Adam Simpson; Jules Munro; Mark Bamford

Other key lawyers:

Janine Lapworth; Clare Young


‘Simpsons are the pre-eminent law firm in Australia for media banking and finance.’

‘Mark Bamford is the most knowledgeable media banking and financing solicitor in Australia. Mark’s depth of knowledge is excellent and he applies practical solutions to issues.’

‘They have a very good reputation for IP and media work and have a unique depth of knowledge in the publishing industry. We continue to give Simpson’s our work because of the long-established working relationship and their quality delivery. They deliver high quality work and with a great depth of expertise. They are responsive and know our industry like no other.’

Key clients

Netflix, Inc

Screen Australia

Allen & Unwin Publishers

Macmillan Publishers

Fulcrum Media Finance

Beach Road Pictures

SLR Productions

Hachette Publishing

Universal Music Publishing and Songs of Universal, Inc

Hopscotch Features

Simon & Schuster

National Gallery of Australia

The Wiggles

Work highlights

  • Representing Netflix Inc., in Copyright Tribunal proceedings in relation to the licence scheme for the use of music in streaming services operating in Australia.
  • Representing Screen Australia in several proceedings in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
  • Advising Fulcrum Media Finance in relation to its loans to Australian and New Zealand film & TV producers.

Thomson Geer

The team at Thomson Geer is singled out by clients for its ‘breadth and depth in the media and entertainment space’. Leadership is shared between Justin Quill, who specialises in defamation and litigation work; John-Paul Cashen, who is known for his sound pre-publication advice; and Marlia Saunders, who has extensive knowledge of intellectual property and privacy law. Other key practitioners include Samantha McGeoch, Zander Croft and Conor O’Beirne.

Practice head(s):

Justin Quill; John-Paul Cashen; Marlia Saunders

Other key lawyers:

Samantha McGeoch; Zander Croft; Conor O’Beirne


‘The team is very dynamic. They can move fast and can provide considered detailed strategy and advice when required. The team has a good mix of junior lawyers and experienced practitioners to properly service different cases.’

‘Justin Quill and John-Paul Cashen are both excellent media lawyers and litigators with a deep understanding of the media industry and an appreciation for the context in which their clients operate. They are supported by a highly skilled team of lawyers, and good at identifying talent in juniors. Marlia Saunders is an excellent technical lawyer with a good breadth of skills.’

‘The team have expert subject matter knowledge, they are reliable for advice with short lead times, and they are extremely personable. They are a pleasure to work with.’

‘The team have a breadth and depth in the media and entertainment space that is without peer in Australia. They operate seamlessly across all Australian jurisdictions, and have exceptional industry and technical legal knowledge. They understand the pressures faced by media organisations, and in-house media lawyers, better than any other firm in the market.’

‘John-Paul Cashen is the first person I would call in a crisis. He is accessible and responsive, and is capable of managing media content disputes of any size and complexity. Justin Quill knows the Australian media landscape as well as anyone. He handles difficult matters with clear and commercial strategy, and backs up those skills with faultless technical legal advice. Also, a special mention to the associates in the Thomson Geer team – if they want to be, all of them are future Partners in the area.’

‘TG Law has a very talented and stable media law team who know our business intimately and provide solutions to pre-publication and litigation issues, not simply roadblocks.’

‘For media law, hard to think of any private practice team that has depth of knowledge/experience at all levels, and in all litigious and pre-publication areas.’

‘Justin Quill and John-Paul Cashen are our two “go to” media lawyers and we trust them explicitly to handle our defamation/suppression and other media law issues.’

Key clients

ViacomCBS – Network Ten

Nine Network Australia Pty Limited – Channel Nine

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

Nationwide News Pty Ltd – The Australian and The Daily Telegraph

The Herald and Weekly Times Pty Ltd – Herald Sun

Leader Associated Newspapers Pty Ltd

The Geelong Advertiser Pty Ltd

HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd

Seven Network (Operations) Limited – Channel Seven

Southern Cross Austereo Pty Ltd

Twitter Inc

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Special Broadcasting Service

Thryv Australia Pty Limited

GNM Australia Pty Ltd – Guardian Australia

Rebel News Pty Ltd

Macquarie Media Limited

Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom

Work highlights

  • Acting for Network Ten in defamation proceedings commenced by former Liberal Party staffer Bruce Lehrmann in the Federal Court of Australia in relation to allegations he raped a colleague, Brittany Higgins, in a minister’s office made in an interview with Lisa Wilkinson on The Project in February 2021.
  • Acted for HarperCollins and author Aaron Patrick in defamation proceedings commenced by Senator Linda Reynolds in the WA Supreme Court in relation to a book entitled ‘Ego: Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party’s Civil War’.