Media and entertainment in Ireland
Arthur Cox's diverse media and entertainment practice spans sports, publishing, advertising, video games and print media. Colin Kavanagh leads on non-contentious work, including licensing, regulatory, and IP matters, while Gavin Woods focuses on contentious work and is particularly active in defamation cases, both in traditional print media and online. The team is also involved in advising on advertising, both assisting firms with compliance with advertising regulations and representing clients in contentious false advertising matters.
Colin Kavanagh; Gavin Woods
Facebook Ireland Limited
IAC Search & Media
The Chester Beatty Library
Trinity College Dublin
Wireless Group plc
6 Nations Rugby
- Advised National Broadband Ireland on its winning bid for equity raise to fund and implementation of the €3bn National Broadband Plan.
- Representing Facebook in Irish High Court proceedings brought by leading Irish media personality, Miriam O’Callaghan for defamation arising from allegedly false advertisements placed online by third parties.
- Representing Coolmore in two sets of defamation proceedings that have analysed the innocent publication defence under Irish defamation law.
Mason Hayes & Curran LLP stands out for its work advising clients in burgeoning areas of media and entertainment. It is sought out by social media companies to assist with issues including the obligations of companies towards content posted on their platforms. The team also advises a number of clients on EU regulations, such as the impact of the transposition of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive into Irish law. Michael Madden leads the practice, and has broad experience in this area. The team also frequently collaborates with the firm's technology, corporate, commercial and dispute resolution practices to service clients.
Raidió Teilifís Éireann (national broadcaster)
Verizon Media (formerly Yahoo)
Sports Information Services (SIS)
- Representing Virgin Media in seeking an injunction to restrain the defendant, Eircom Limited, trading as eir, from infringing Virgin Media’s copyright by broadcasting, displaying, or disseminating the client’s television channels on the defendant’s Apple TV product, known as eir TV.
- Acted for Facebook Ireland in high-profile High Court proceedings brought against it by the Director of Public Prosecutions seeking orders that Facebook acted in contempt of prior orders made by the Central Criminal Court during the criminal trial of two boys for the murder of a teenager in May 2018.
- Acted for Twitter in high-profile High Court proceedings brought against it by the Director of Public Prosecutions seeking orders that Twitter acted in contempt of prior orders made by the Central Criminal Court during the criminal trial of two boys for the murder of a teenager in May 2018.
Matheson stands out in the Irish market for its expertise in film and television production. The team advises on the financing of productions, including on accessing Irish state funding, as well as assisting with contractual matters related to talent and content distribution. The practice also has a focus on advising Irish media companies on regulatory issues including competition law and particularly merger control. Ruth Hunter, who predominantly handles film and television work, and Michael Byrne, who is known for his work on defamation cases, are the practice heads.
Ruth Hunter; Michael Byrne
‘They have far-reaching oversight of the industry in Ireland, ranging from government to individual creatives and also have the broadest experience of any practice, making it the most effective across a range of all operations in media and entertainment.’
‘Ruth Hunter is very impressive. Calm, balanced, and incisive.’
Port Pictures Limited
Treasure Entertainment Limited
Irish Music Rights Organisation
Daily Mail and General Trust plc
Independent News and Media
- Advising on the production in Ireland of the drama film Wild Mountain Thyme; the film was one of the first to avail of the regional uplift available under the Irish tax credit for films shot primarily outside the Dublin/Wicklow/ Cork regions.
- Acting as counsel in Ireland for the production of six-part TV drama series Smother.
- Advised on the episodic television drama The Vikings, including assisting with co-production and financing and distribution arrangements as well as local production counsel services.
McCann FitzGerald's media and entertainment practice handles a broad range of matters in this area, with a particular focus on media defence. The practice acts for both traditional and new media clients in defending against defamation claims. Practice head Karyn Harty leads on many of these matters. The team also has a particular focus on advising gambling companies on regulatory matters, an area of work led by Alan Heuston.
Other key lawyers:
‘McCann FitzGerald’s media and entertainment team is long established and benefits from the strength in depth this brings. But they are also one of the few larger Irish firms that has actual expertise in media defence work and taking cases to trial. They are led very capably by Karyn Harty, whose knowledge and experience is preeminent. She is more than ably supported by the members of her team including media defence specialists such as senior associates like Lesley Caplin, Jaime Flattery and Ciara FitzGerald as well the more junior members of the team such as Harry Oulton.’
‘Karyn Harty is always around when needed but also allows her team to get on with things. When it comes to the senior associates Lesley Caplin, Jaime Flattery and Ciara FitzGerald as well the more junior Harry Oulton, I can’t sing their praises highly enough. They all work tirelessly and offer insight and commercial expertise on many difficult media litigation issues. ’
‘Reliable, available at all times and sound commercial sense’
‘Alan Heuston and Rory O’Malley are very thorough and are interchangeably available when we need them to address any queries or turn around work quickly. They are very fair and reasonable on how they bill for their work output.’
Channel 4 television
Guardian News & Media
Independent News & Media plc
Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO)
British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM)
Penguin Random House
- Advised Fairload Limited (trading as LV Bet) on its application to the Irish Revenue Commissioners for a remote bookmaker’s licence in Ireland, in addition to the payment of the appropriate betting duties in Ireland following commencement of trading. This application also involved obtaining certain clearances from the Irish Department of Justice and Equality.
- Advising BBC on the renegotiation of the shareholder agreements in the YouView joint venture, including assisting with the application of merger control and Irish media merger rules to the renegotiation of shareholder agreements.
- Defending defamation claims by self-help ‘guru’ Tony Robbins against BuzzFeed, and separatelyTwitter, arising from a series of articles by BuzzFeed News reporting allegations made against Robbins.
'A highly experienced, top-tier media and entertainment team', Philip Lee is very active in advising on film and television production in Ireland. The team acts for some of the largest multinational studios and production companies on financing and production. Brian Gormley leads the team, which includes Jonathan Kelly, who is a stand-out name for production matters. Senior associate Jessica Gorman and associate Aoife McBennett provide additional support.
Other key lawyers:
Jessica Gorman; Jonathan Kelly; Aoife McBennett
‘They are specialists in their field with experience of a range of productions.’
‘Jonathan Kelly is vastly experienced but approachable and available. Aoife McBennett is an extremely capable associate.’
‘Philip Lee have the top media and entertainment practice in Ireland with Jonathan Kelly and Brian Gormley. They have years of experience and are extremely personable to deal with. The firm really value their clients and as our media business has grown we have worked with various lawyers across property, tax, employment and litigation. Despite their impressive growth over the last while they have not lost touch with clients’ needs.’
‘Jonathan Kelly is without question the pre-eminent film and television lawyer in Ireland. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge of the industry and has been our go to production lawyer for a long time. We have engaged Jonathan not just on local productions but international co-productions and UK productions. He has huge respect from international lawyers and not least is a very loyal and decent guy.’
‘They have a highly experienced, top-tier media and entertainment team. They are easy to talk to. They are across a large amount of the projects in the territory across all levels and as such have a great depth of experience.’
‘Jonathan Kelly is highly experienced and has great problem solving capabilities. Brian Gormley is highly experienced, particularly in the animation sector, and is extremely organised and knowledgeable. Senior associate Jessica Gorman is a very experienced associate, easy to talk to and very reliable. Associate Aoife McBennett an up and coming associate, with good experience, is calm and reliable.’
Wild Atlantic Pictures
Magic Light Pictures
Ingenious Media Finance
Brown Bag Films
- Advising Wild Atlantic Pictures on the production of Foundation for Skydance and Apple TV+.
- Acting for Magic Light Pictures in relation to the production in Ireland of animated special Zog and the Flying Doctors.
- Advised VFX company Screen Scene on the financing and production of the Irish VFX work for the final season of Game of Thrones.
William Fry's media and entertainment practice specialises in defamation and privacy law. The team acts for newspapers, news websites and other media organisations in defence of defamation claims, where it also works with litigators from the firm's disputes team. It also advises on novel privacy issues, including the right to erasure introduced in the General Data Protection Regulation. Fiona Barry leads the team and has extensive experience defending prominent clients from defamation charges. Sinéad Keavey is another key contact in the team.
Other key lawyers:
Horse Racing Ireland (HRI)
EHM Productions (TMZ)
Irish Rugby Football Union
Smurfit Kappa Group plc
The Irish Times
- Acting for the BBC in relation to a defamation claim by a solicitor in respect of news reporting around a prominent criminal trial.
- Advising EHM Productions Limited (TMZ Entertainment) on a potential claim on behalf of two claimants concerning defamation, privacy and breach of GDPR in relation to the publication of a video of Conor McGregor, that featured the two claimants in the background.
- Advising the CEO of Horse Racing Ireland on an ongoing series of articles published in The Irish Times, in relation to horse racing continuing in light of Covid-19.
A&L Goodbody LLP s media and entertainment practice forms part of the firm's broader commercial and technology team, and the team is particularly active in matters that involve both media and technology, such as data protection issues. John Whelan, John Cahir, and David Widger lead the practice.
John Whelan; John Cahir; David Widger
The Stars Group
eStar Gaming Ltd
Ezetop Unlimited Company
PicMonkey International Ltd
Future Ticketing Ltd
Comcast Cable Communications, LLC
CVC Capital Partners
- Advised The Stars Group on all Irish law aspects of its €11bn merger with Flutter Entertainment plc to create a global leader in sports betting and gaming.
- Advised Comcast Cable Communications, LLC on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Irish global technology provider, BlueFace Ltd.
- Acted for Future Ticketing Ltd in High Court proceedings against Trinity College Dublin challenging the award of a contract for the provision of a visitor attraction management system.
'Intimately familiar with the particular demands of the news media sector', Dillon Eustace's media and entertainment practice acts for a number of the most prominent newspapers in Ireland, defending against allegations of defamation, breaches of privacy and contempt of court. Practice head John Doyle also provides pre-publication and day-to-day advice to newspapers, and is praised for his 'excellent tactical sense'. David Kavanagh is active in defamation matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is very good with clients. In stressful circumstances, they remain calm and offer clear advice.’
‘John Doyle has excellent tactical sense. He knows what will work, and how to bring about a sensible commercial solution. David Kavanagh is personable, responsive and calm. He has a very good knowledge of the field, and brings practical good sense to bear on difficult problems.’
‘The Dillon Eustace team with whom we engage is intimately familiar with the particular demands of the news media sector and gives immediate, accurate and practical advice tailored to the peculiarities of the issue at hand. The firm has a wealth of experience in this field acquired over decades of acting for national media clients.’
‘David Kavanagh stands out because of his enthusiasm for the work involved, his knowledge of the law and understanding of the issues. He is hard-working, diligent and incisive. His clear-sighted approach to finding effective and practical solutions reduces costs and unnecessary demands on resources.’
Post Publications Limited (The Sunday Business Post)
- Acted for the Sunday Business Post in a lengthy high-profile case against billionaire Denis O’Brien.
- Acted for the Irish Mirror in a successful defence of defamation action and opposing the application for an extension of the limitation period by the claimant.
- Acting in the defence of American Airlines in High Court proceedings in an allegation that airline staff defamed a passenger during her transit through Dublin airport.
Flynn O'Driscoll merged with boutique media law firm Fanning & Kelly in November 2019, and the combined team is now led by Kieran Kelly. The practice specialises in pre-publication work, acting for a considerable number of Ireland's largest newspapers as well as handling matters in the publishing and TV industries. The firm also represents clients in contentious matters.
‘Kieran Kelly is Ireland’s most experienced media lawyer.’
‘My experience working with Flynn O’Driscoll has been exceptional. What makes the firm unique is the efficiency in how they company deals with their clients.’
‘My working relationship with Flynn O’Driscoll (especially Kieran Kelly) is one I value beyond anything. There was a trust built very quickly and the level of professionalism provided from the firm was second to none. The communication knowledge and advice given was exceptional. Kieran and the team’s services was consistently at the top level of excellence and professionalism. ’
Irish Daily Star
Iconic Newspaper Group
Empire Elite Production
Virgin Media TV
- Assisted Empire Elite Productions and Virgin Media Television with a pre-broadcast review of the fly-on-the-wall documentary series The Guards-Inside the K on Virgin Media.
- Provided pre-publication legal advice to Gill Books on an autobiography by Richie Sadlie.
- Provided pre-publication advice to Hachette Books on the book Overcoming by Vicky Phelan.
Hayes Solicitors LLP' broad media and entertainment practice handles matters including assistance with advertising and marketing, the negotiation of contracts for entertainment talent, and image rights. The team is also well-known for the services it provides to The Irish Times, including handling pre-publication work, representing the client in court proceedings related to defamation claims, and complaints to the Press Council of Ireland. David Phelan heads the practice and Joseph O’Malley is a key name for contentious work.
Other key lawyers:
‘The depth of expertise of the team is what makes them stand out in the media arena together with a very commercial and collaborative approach.’
‘David Phelan is a stand out. He is commercial and easy to work with while having a breadth of legal knowledge. He is able to get transactions over the line.’
‘Attention to detail, thoroughness on the law, integrity, promptness of service.’
‘David Phelan and Joe O’Malley both demonstrate legal competence, breadth of knowledge, speed of advice, and attention to detail.’
The Irish Times
Association of Promotional Marketing Consultants (AMPC)
Noel Kelly Management
Institute of Promotional Marketing in the UK
Integrated Marketing Communications Council of Europe
Lewis Silken LLP
- Providing a full pre-publication advisory service to The Irish Times covering all aspects of media law.
- Advising Noel Kelly Management and its celebrity talents on matters including agreements with TV and radio broadcasters and various sponsors and representing the talent in relation to any issues arising during the currency of the agreements.
- Providing ongoing marketing and advertising advice to IAPI, the representative body of advertisers in Ireland.
Ronan Daly Jermyn acts for a range of Irish newspapers and media outlets in contentious litigation. The group has expertise defending against allegations of defamation, and also representing clients in judicial reviews of reporting restrictions. The team also handles corporate transactions and GDPR compliance in the media and entertainment space. Darryl Broderick and Diarmaid Gavin lead the team, with Broderick focused on litigation and Gavin handling non-contentious matters.
Darryl Broderick; Diarmaid Gavin
Wireless Plc Group
WKW FM Limited (Beat 102-103)
Wissam Al Mana
- Acting for seven different media outlets in the defence of seven sets of connected Circuit Court defamation proceedings.
- Representing Wissam Al Mana, a Qatari businessman, in High Court proceedings against Facebook Ireland in respect to a series of fake advertisements on the social media platform for cryptocurrency featuring his image and purported endorsement.
Simon McAleese Solicitors
ByrneWallace LLP's media and entertainment practice acts for corporate entities, state bodies and private individuals in defamation claims against media organisations and social media companies. The team also acts for state bodies seeking injunctions against the media. Mark O’Shaughnessy leads the team.
‘The team are very strong technically and provide a high quality service and value for money. The customer service in unrivalled. They tailor solutions to complex legal challenges for our business.’
‘We are involved in a number of cases to protect the the business and to manage reputational risk. These are being litigated in the High Court currently. We are using the services of Mark O’Shaughnessy, who has an excellent legal mind and who is highly responsive to client needs in the area of defamation. This is a new area of litigation for the business and Mark is very strong at ensuring complex legal matters are explained in clear and concise language so that the business can make informed decisions in terms of strategy and tactics.’
‘The partners and solicitors working within the Media and Entertainment department of Byrne Wallace are all highly specialised and leaders in their field. They are extremely knowledgeable in this area of law and can be relied upon to provide expert guidance and advice in a very prompt and timely manner.’
‘I have also worked with Mark O’Shaughnessy who is top-class in the area of copyright law.’
Parcel Connect Limited t/a Fastway
Transdev Ireland (operators of the Luas Light railway system)
- Acted for Parcel Connect Limited t/a Fastway in obtaining a Norwich Pharmacal Order against Twitter and arranging for an anonymous Twitter account to be shut down.
- Acted for the Courts Service in Irish High Court injunction proceedings against Google Ireland Ltd and Facebook Ireland Ltd securing Norwich Pharmacal orders to ascertain the identities of posters of material that was posted on the internet in breach of Court Orders.
- Acting for Fatfish Marketing in the resolution of three separate High Court proceedings between FatFish Marketing and ORH Marketing. The central issues in these proceedings related to defamatory statements and reputational issues arising from the granting of share options in a Canadian-listed company.
Eugene F. Collins acts for a range of media companies on contentious and non-contentious matters, including compliance with data protection regulations, defending against defamation claims, and the protection of trade marks in this area. Rachel Shanley heads the practice.
Other key lawyers:
‘We value their extent of knowledge and breadth of ability; they are very approachable and very commercial.’
‘Rachel Shanley is a brilliant lawyer and a really shrewd advisor. ’
FCR Media Limited
Sky Ireland Limited (Formerly BskyB)
Red Flag Consulting Limited
- Acting for Sky on enforcing the copyright in their commercial sports broadcasts in Ireland and in certain circumstances in the UK.
- Representing Gavin O’Reilly and Karl Brophy, who are respectively the former Chief Executive Officer and the Director of Corporate Affairs of Independent News and Media plc (‘INM’), in proceedings taken against their former employer (INM) in connection with a significant data breach.
- Acting on behalf of Red Flag in respect of defamation proceedings brought against it by businessman Denis O’Brien.