Specialist intellectual property set 11 South Square has expanded its service offering over the past few years to include media and entertainment disputes with an IP aspect such as copyright and trade mark infringement of music and song lyrics. Hugo Cuddigan QC, for instance, is currently instructed by defendants Iron Maiden in a copyright claim relating to six of the band's songs brought by the former manager of Lindisfarne, Barry McKay. Similarly, Tom Alkin successfully defended Dreamworks against a copyright infringement claim brought by Whittle over the 2015 Steven Spielberg film, Bridge of Spies.
Media and entertainment (including art and cultural property) in London Bar
11 South Square
In the arts and cultural property arena, 3 Verulam Buildings demonstrates a strong suit in ownership rights disputes and questions of attribution or dating of works of art. Members of the chambers, with the help of 'friendly, efficient and sensible clerking', act both for and against art dealers, auctioneers, buyer and sellers. Cleon Catsambis was instructed as the defendants' sole counsel in Astrid Cole v Sean Carpenter, Lauren Carpenter and David Carpenter, a rights of sale dispute over the 1932 Picasso painting 'The Rescue'.
The 'sharp and responsive' 5 Stone Buildings is a go-to set for art and cultural property disputes, acting for private individuals, estates and auction houses across a range of issues. Henry Legge QC primarily represents claimants in cases brought against auction houses, as exemplified by his recent instruction in a claim against Christie's for negligent handling of a sale of a $100m collection. In another highlight, Luke Harris acted for LLG PTE Ltd as co-owner of an artwork in a claim for conversion, breach of bailment, and breach of contract against Inigo Philbrick and his company of the same name.
The market leader in defamation and privacy, 5RB is also a 'go-to set for media litigation' and 'the leading chambers for other media risks'. Chambers also takes on pre-publication and pre-broadcast work as well as cases related to reporting restrictions and regulatory multimedia, broadcasting and telecommunications issues. David Sherborne is the set's leading junior in this area, while the set was strengthened following Christina Michalos QC's elevation to silk in 2019.
8 New Square combines intellectual property expertise with know-how of television, film, online media, broadcasting, gaming and VR. A particular focus lies on matters related to the broadcast of sporting events such as football and boxing: 2019 silk Lindsay Lane QC has handled various cases for the Football Association Premier League concerning copyright infringement of logos and films used in broadcasts of football matches. Jessie Bowhill is a go-to junior for musical copyright cases and her recent work highlights include representing Ed Sheeran and the remaining claimants in a dispute about the authorship of Sheeran's hit song 'Shape of You'.
Blackstone Chambers is praised repeatedly for 'the quality of its juniors' in media and music cases and fields a 'most responsive' clerking team 'with excellent soft skills'. The set acts for performers, directors and producers as well as publishers and collecting societies. Of recent note, Robert Howe QC and Mark Vinall acted for the applicants in UK Hospitality Industries and British Beer and Pub Association v Phonographic Performance Limited, a copyright tribunal case regarding a proposed tariff for playing music at special events. Market leader Ian Mill QC was instructed on the other side of the case together with James Segan QC, who took silk in 2020.
'Experts in their field', Essex Court Chambers has 'a top reputation and lives up to it' when it comes to arts and cultural property instructions. Joe Smouha QC shines in title, dealer commission, authenticity, and purchasing syndicate disputes, as demonstrated in a recent Commercial Court trial concerning the sale of an alleged counterfeit painting by Sotheby's. The Joint Head of Chambers recently acted for defendant Mark Weiss Ltd, leading art fraud and contractual breach expert Claudia Renton. Emily Wood, who also sits as an arbitrator on art-related matters, was instructed by the other side in this $10m claim against the Old Master dealer.
A 'go-to set for IP-related matters', Hogarth Chambers is particularly adept at handling copyright, merchandising rights, recording contracts and publishing agreements disputes arising out of the music, publishing, film and television industry. Chambers is praised particularly for its 'good range of counsel', which includes Andrew Norris QC who took silk in 2020 and acted for the BBC in Molavi v BBC, a High Court screenplay copyright claim initially brought against ITV. In another highlight, Jeremy Reed was instructed by Phil McIntyre Entertainment in two High Court claims brought by Faulty Towers in relation to the defendant's production of an interactive "Fawlty Towers" dining experience.
Drawing on cross-over expertise in privacy and defamation, data protection and sport, the 'really well run' Matrix Chambers represents high-profile individuals and media organisations in multidisciplinary cases. Praised for its 'excellence on online defamation issues and data protection in the context of media law cases', the set also caters to tech companies. Catrin Evans QC recently represented a transgender father as the applicant in relation to the broadcast of a documentary about him, while Edward Craven, led by Antony White QC, acted for Guardian News and Media (GNM) in a High Court claim against digital advertising infrastructure company Rubicon Project Inc concerning unaccounted ad revenue and advertising space fees.