Media and entertainment (including art and cultural property) in London Bar

The ‘excellent arts team’ at 5 Stone Buildings provide ‘very impressive, expeditious advice’. Henry Legge QC and Luke Harris recently successfully represented the owner of £5m Islamic rock crystal jar in establishing title in interpleader proceedings against Sotheby’s.

Highlighted as an ‘outstanding set’, Essex Court Chambers has ‘a top reputation’ in the arts and cultural property sector. As well as being ‘very commercial on fees’, the set offers ‘quick responses and great strength in depth’. Work highlights include Joe Smouha QC’s continued instruction to defend an art dealer in a criminal complaint filed in the principality of Monaco, and Emily Wood’s representation of Sotheby’s in several matters, including a $10m claim relating to alleged forgery of work by the Golden Age painter, Frans Hals.

Blackstone Chambers is ‘the first port of call for media, entertainment, and sports sector work’ boasting ‘some excellent juniors and industry leading QCs’. The group is known for its trade mark and copyright expertise across the industries. In recent case highlights, Ian Mill QC represented Ed Sheeran, and the co-writers and publishers of the song ‘Shape of You’, in seeking a declaration that the song did not infringe any copyrights of the defendant; while Robert Howe QC and James Segan were instructed to act for the Performing Right Society (PRS) and the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) against the BBC in a case to decide how much the broadcaster must pay annually for its blanket licence to use music in television programmes. Tom Hickman QC took silk in 2019 and Pushpinder Saini QC will join the High Court in October 2019.

Hogarth Chambers ‘is cost effective and provides a fantastic standard of work’ with ‘good availability and huge depth of experience’ in media and entertainment matters, with expertise spanning the music, publishing, film and television, and gaming industries. Michael Hicks is representing Blizzard Entertainment in litigation against Bossland relating to the prevention of cheat and ‘bot’ programmes, while Gwilym Harbottle acted for Phonographic Performance Ltd in the Court of Appeal in a dispute relating to additional damages arising from breaches of an order restraining unlicensed performance of sound recordings at a night club.

Matrix Chambers ‘is an increasing force in the new media law landscape where the focus is on privacy and data protection’ and benefits from ‘excellent barristers’ who ‘offer a high level of expertise delivered in a practical and pragmatic manner’. In an example of a case straddling the entertainment sector and privacy, Antony White QC and Hugh Tomlinson QC acted for the defendant and claimant respectively in a high-profile privacy claim relating to a Channel 5 series which showed enforcement officers during evictions and repossession of belongings.

11 SOUTH SQUARE offers ‘excellent client service levels’ and has ‘an excellent reputation for intellectual property matters’ including in the media and entertainment sectors. Michael Silverleaf QC, leading Tom Alkin, were instructed by The Church of Scientology in a dispute with Sky over the broadcasting of a documentary about the organisation. In another case highlight, Hugo Cuddigan QC is acting for the defendant in a claim for a non-infringement declaration brought by Ed Sheeran relating to the song ‘Shape of You’, as well as in his client’s counterclaim for copyright infringement.

A leading set for media and reputational matters’, 5RB ‘have huge strength in depth’ and are known for defamation and privacy matters. In a recent highlight Justin Charles Neil Rushbrooke QC successfully represented Sir Cliff Richard in an invasion of privacy claim against the BBC and South Yorkshire Police, in which Aidan Eardley, who recently joined 5RB from One Brick Court, was instructed on the opposing side. Other changes to the set include the arrival of Andrew Caldecott QC also from One Brick Court and Christina Michalos QC’s appointment to silk.

8 New Square is 'full of talent' and offers 'quality that is invariably fantastic'. The set is known for being 'strong on all aspects of IP' and has a breadth of experience in television, film, print and online media, broadcasting, advertising, and gaming. In recent work highlights, Jonathan Hill defended the film companies that produced the film Florence Foster Jenkins against a claim for infringement of copyright and moral rights, while Jessie Bowhill acted for Bob Geldof in a copyright infringement claim relating to the song "I Don’t Like Mondays".