Media and entertainment (including media finance) in London
Bird & Bird LLP's media, entertainment and sport sector practice is 'exceptionally well attuned to know when to flex to make the commercial deal-making work'. The team fields a strong reputation for intellectual property and technology matters with impressive sector expertise. It also benefits from a strong international practice group, which is led by Phil Sherrell (who 'is a very knowledgeable expert in copyright and music licensing issues'.) Also in London, Felicity Reeve leads on sponsorship, advertising and marketing matters while Richard McMorris is a popular choice for TV and film industry clients and Howard Rubin specialises in the gaming sector. As head of the social media sector group, Bryony Hurst is a key name to note for contentious work, particularly for content-related disputes in the digital media space and data protection issues, and Simon Fielder leads on corporate transactional work in the media arena.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team led by Phil Sherrell is super-experienced in the copyright and licensing areas – both at analysing and advising on very technical commercial and legal issues, and also in strategising and leading us through complex disputes.’
‘Phil Sherrell is a very knowledgeable expert in copyright and music licensing issues. He is user-friendly and inspires confidence. Phil is a true innovator in the delivery of legal services, devising creative solutions to provide his clients with the service they require and with cost structures that provide certainty and value-for-money.‘
‘Tom Darvill, senior associate, is exceptionally bright and hard-working. He is across every detail of the hugely complex dispute we are currently using the team for, which is being resolved via a large international arbitration. Tom’s commercial acumen is superb, and he has quickly managed to get ‘under the bonnet’ of numerous complex licensing agreements to understand the operation and commercial effect of these. He is also a fantastic technical lawyer, with first-class knowledge and experience in IP matters and arbitration law and procedure.‘
‘Acts as a true partner, recognising my commercial needs and the question that needs to be answered. Exceptionally well attuned to know when to flex to make the commercial deal-making work, and when to raise a legal flag. Very responsive, and urbane people it is a pleasure to work with. Impeccable legal expertise. Drafting that is precise while also human. Honest about areas of expertise, and where there are gaps. Smart about fees: they know when they can charge more, and when we need to pay less.‘
‘Richard McMorris is exceptional to work with. He embodies the right blend of being a close partner to my business (almost an out-sourced GC) with arms-length independence of thought. He is very strong, leading advice in his areas, prioritising key points and managing risk appropriately to facilitate negotiations, finding ways to solve problems; a partner in deal-making, not just the legal adviser. An accomplished guide when needing expertise from others; not merely referring within the firm, but finding the right specific partner, and being clear when a 3rd party would be more relevant. Enjoyable to work with, thrives on the energy of business as well as the precision of law.‘
‘Rebecca Lewis and Claire Gamage are associates who have particularly impressed; could sometimes be mistaken for partners.‘
The Football Association, the Football Association of Wales, the Football Association of Ireland and the Irish Football Association
Steve Angello/Size Records
Radiant Media t/a Alight Brand Media
- Acted for TuneIn in its seminal digital copyright dispute with Sony Music and Warner Music, which is now on its way to the Court of Appeal.
- Advising the creators of Grand Theft Auto V on an ongoing global enforcement campaign against the creators of cheating software for use in the game. Successes to date include judgments in the UK, Scotland and Germany and successful search order applications in several EU countries.
- Advising HBO on all aspects of the creation of the Game of Thrones tourist attraction/studio tour.
For clients across the theatre industry, Clintons' 'impressive team' is a popular choice. It advises on a range of issues including rights acquisitions, financing issues and the licensing of shows to overseas producers and attracts praise for its 'amazing client service'. The practice is led by James Jones, who acts for established and emerging producers, while John Cohen tends to represent artists and creatives including set, lighting and costume designers, choreographers, musical directors and orchestrators. Aron Rollin (who has experience as a theatre producer) and former theatre publicist associate Stephen Pidcock provide impressive sector knowledge. Beyond theatre work, key contacts to note include head of the film and television practice Kami Naghdi, music sector experts Berkeley Edwards and Andrew Myers, litigators Andrew Sharland and David Griffiths, and Tom Frederikse, who focuses on digital media and technology. Fieldfisher's former practice head Tom Guida adds a breadth of experience in the development, finance, production, distribution and exploitation of rights across the film, TV and sport sectors, while Jennifer Parker is now a freelance legal consultant working with Level.
Other key lawyers:
‘Superb attention to detail. Personal care. Always attentive and always available. I have been a career-long client because they meet all my professional needs, on time and with care.’
‘Excellent team and fantastic to work with.‘
‘Amazing client service – friendly and professional and understand the client needs.‘
‘Kami Naghdi is an extraordinarily talented and knowledgeable practitioner with supremely effective legal and commercial nuance. He has built an impressive team at Clintons. The team is is ultra attentive and consistently goes beyond the call of duty to deliver results for the client.‘
‘John Cohen (senior partner at Clintons) has looked after my professional career for twenty-five years and he has done so with care above and beyond the useful legal input. His knowledge, contacts and negotiating skills are the best in the business and I have been the beneficiary of his talents. I could not imagine being elsewhere other than with John at Clintons.’
‘Excellent team and fantastic to work with.‘
‘James Jones is brilliant partner and wonderful to work with.‘
‘Amazing client service – friendly and professional and understand the client needs.‘
‘Really care about the clients best interests.’
Bat Out of Hell
Creative House Productions Limited
David Ian Productions Limited
Les Enfants Terribles
Little Angel Theatre
Michael Harrison Entertainment Limited
Mischief Worldwide Limited
NB Productions Limited
New Adventures Limited
Nimax Theatres Limited
Stage Entertainment Limited
Talent Artistic Group Limited
The Lowry Theatre
Jamie Wilson Productions Limited
The Lionel Bart Estate
George Stiles and Anthony Drewe
Bill Kenwright Limited
Ambassador Theatre Group
Chess Productions Limited
The Anthology Group
The Wider Earth
Covent Garden Productions
Tali Pelman Productions
Frederick Loewe Foundation
South Bank Centre
- Representing Jamie Wilson, the producer of Sister Act the Musical, on all legal aspects of the production including cast and creative team contracts (including stars Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Saunders), raising and documenting investment, theatre hire, and the licence to perform the show itself.
- Acting for Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss (the authors of Six the Musical) on all legal matters and also advised the producers on structuring the rights deals, allowing them to protect the rights and maximise overseas opportunities for them and the writers.
- Acting for the shareholders on the sale of a majority stake in David Ian Productions (one of the UK’s largest commercial theatre producers) to a JV controlled by US private equity firm Raven Capital Productions.
CMS' 'expertise across a wide international network is ideal for a global business'. It's multidisciplinary media practice fields experts in commercial, regulatory, corporate, tax, litigation and employment matters to advise its impressive client roster, which spans the film and television, advertising, sports, music and publishing as well as theatre and video games industries. Victoria Gaskell (who assists TV and film sector clients, as well as brands and advertisers, with commercial, regulatory and transactional matters) and corporate partner Paul Guite jointly lead the practice. Susan Barty, who handles advertising, marketing and technology disputes; John Enser, who has particular expertise in licensing music rights; head of broadcasting Selina Potter, media finance expert Charles Kerrigan and senior associate Alex Dixie, who leads the adtech group, are other names to note.
‘Expertise across a wide international network is ideal for a global business.‘
‘John Enser is plugged in technically, commercially and politically.‘
Viacom (Channel 5, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central)
Comcast / NBCUniversal
Warner Media (Turner, Warner Bros, HBO)
Liberty Global (owners of Virgin Media)
Elisabeth Murdoch, Sister and related entities
Jeremy Clarkson and related entities/productions
Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner (Working Title Films)
International Cricket Council
International Olympic Commission
Primo Productions (producers of Riviera)
Elysian (Danny Perkins)
Dentsu Aegis Networks
Shark Ninja/ Euro Pro Europe Limited
Deliveroo (Roofoods Ltd)
Bicester Village Outlet Store (Value Retail Ltd)
Jacobs Douwe Egberts
BSH Home Appliances
Global Radio (owners of Capital, Heart and Xfm)
Music and Entertainment Rights Licensing Independent Network (Merlin)
Immediate Media (owners of Radio Times and other TV related titles)
DC Thomson (owners of the Beano)
News UK (owners of The Times, Sunday Times and the Sun)
Microsoft / XBox
The Really Useful Group (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theatre company)
- Advised BBC Studios on several matters including its strategic partnership with ITV to launch BritBox (a new streaming service for UK audiences offering access to the best of British TV) and on an agreement with Discovery which included a takeover by BBC Studios of seven UKTV channels, a global content partnership to power a new global streaming service, and a bespoke development deal for the BBC’s iconic documentaries.
- Acted for Elisabeth Murdoch on forming Sister, an independent global content company, together with Jane Featherstone (the founder of Sister Pictures) and Stacey Snider (former Chairman and CEO of Twentieth Century Fox Film, and former Co-Chairman/CEO of Dreamworks Studios).
- Advised International Cricket Council on its latest digital media rights tender process, which saw Facebook become the exclusive digital content rights partner in the Indian sub-continent for all of the ICC global events for the next cycle.
DLA Piper acts for international media and entertainment companies on a breadth of transactional, regulatory and contentious issues from sponsorship agreements to M&A and intellectual property disputes. Practice head Nick Fitzpatrick counts copyright, digital broadcasting, television, sport, film and sponsorship matters among his areas of specialism, while Duncan Calow 'should be on your speed dial' for publishing-related matters. The group also has experience in advertising and marketing issues, for which John Wilks and Claire Sng are names to note. The multidisciplinary practice also includes intellectual property litigator Ruth Hoy and media rights lawyer John Cloke (who focuses on the sale and acquisition of sports rights, content distribution work and media technology issues). Senior associates Sam Churney and Oliver Kichenside are other key contacts for media rights exploitation issues following Patrick Mitchell's departure to Latham & Watkins.
Other key lawyers:
‘Breadth of expertise for the publishing sector.‘
‘Duncan Calow, he should be on your speed dial.’
BPI (British Recorded Music industry) Limited
TEAM (Television Event and Media Marketing) AG
Springer Nature Limited
The Football Association Premier League
Philip Morris International
- Advising major computer game developer Zenimax on the interaction of in-game prize promotions with loyalty programme and GDPR issues.
- Advising Philip Morris International on advertising and marketing regulatory matters across several jurisdictions.
- Assisting luxury Swiss watch brand Breitling with a ten country promotion review co-ordinated from London.
Farrer & Co's media, entertainment and technology team offers 'a reassuringly straightforward and professional approach'. It has impressive experience in the publishing sector where it acts for large newspaper and magazine groups such as Telegraph Media Group and Bauer Media as well as clients in specialist areas include music and academic publishing; Henry Sainty is particularly active in this space. Beyond publishing, the practice acts for international broadcast production and TV rights companies, sporting events rights holders and radio broadcasters, while Peter Wienand has particular experience acting for B2B data businesses. Paul Jones advises a range of media sector clients on digitisation projects and leads the group, which fields the expertise of corporate partner Richard Lane, employment law expert Jonathan Eley and litigator Ian De Freitas, who is strong for intellectual property and data protection disputes and compliance issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘They have a reassuringly straightforward and professional approach. They are knowledgeable and unshowy. Richard Lane typifies the above-described approach.‘
‘I have found that the team respond quickly and with detailed but practical advice. They are extremely nice to deal with and their fees are very reasonable and transparent.’
‘Tom Rudkin is extremely able, articulate and easy to deal with.‘
‘They are all always super responsive, and very smart. They grasp issues quickly and are happy to get on with things leading with our editorial colleagues, or me in the legal team, switching seamlessly and always providing appropriate advice.‘
‘Peter Wienand is great, always happy to take a quick view no matter how short notice my query is, and delves into the detail when we need more help from his wider team.’
‘The practice has a very good, detailed and thought-through understanding of our business and its needs and values. This is brought to bear very well by staff at all levels.‘
‘All staff have a very strong understanding of our business, its needs and values, and that comes through in their approach to work for us. I work most closely with two partners: Henry Sainty and Richard Lane, though I have worked with others. Henry has an excellent grasp of our values and our aims and brings a subtle but powerful intelligence and creativity to all matters. Richard is excellent for our M&A work: thorough, intelligent, robust and focused on getting the right outcome for us.‘
The Economist Group
Telegraph Media Group
Yell (formerly Hibu)
Sage Publications (leading international STM/academic publisher)
PA Media (formerly The Press Association)
BMJ Publishing Group (the publishing and digital arm of the British Medical Association, and publishers of The British Medical Journal)
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (the exam body for graded music exams and also a leading music publisher)
Lonely Planet Publications Limited
- Advising Lonely Planet Global on the use of personal data in its publications, as well as broader GDPR and data protection compliance issues such as data governance, international data transfers, adtech and cookies, and data subject rights, including the right to be forgotten and subject access.
- Acting for Economist Group on a range of intellectual property, commercial and reputation management matters.
Harbottle & Lewis LLP's media and entertainment practice is 'highly knowledgable and connected in the industry' and fields a cross-departmental team to ensure that all aspects of cases are 'handled seamlessly'. It has a strong reputation across the creative industries (including film, TV, theatre, publishing and music) as well as in advertising and marketing, where it advises brands, agencies and talent, particularly in the influencer marketing and adtech space. Michael Lister and Sacha Wilson jointly lead the advertising practice; Jonathan Berger heads up the film and TV group, and Kieran Jay, who joined from Lee & Thompson LLP, leads the music sector practice. Other names to note include Mark Phillips and Alan Moss for video game matters, media finance expert Abigail Payne and Neil Adleman, who is an expert in all aspects of theatre and live performances. Intellectual property specialist Shireen Peermohamed is a key name to note for publishing matters following Alex Hardy's departure to Hachette UK, and Sarah Lazarides handles the development, production, distribution and exploitation of rights in the film, TV and theatre industries.
‘Highly knowledgeable and connected in the industry.‘
‘Exceptionally responsive to client requests. The team displays an ability to work through complex issues and explain them to business teams in a pragmatic and clear way. Matters are run efficiently with a clear focus on fee transparency.‘
‘Sarah Lazarides – a pragmatic negotiator with an obviously deep insight into the market. Displays an ability to determine what’s important to her client and to focus on these issues.’
‘Clare Zucker (associate) – A pleasure to work with. Fantastic attention to detail and very responsive to client requests. Runs matters efficiently and inspires confidence in her clients.‘
‘The media and entertainment team have great knowledge and wisdom, wide experience, excellent breadth of contacts, yet remain highly approachable with their feet on the ground.‘
‘Jonathan Berger continues to be an outstanding partner who is excellent at resolving issues and making things happen. And fun!‘
‘Strong knowledge of all areas of the Theatre and Entertainment sector. No nonsense practical approach with sensible consideration of time and cost.‘
‘Neil Adleman – in-depth knowledge and contacts across the sector with good topline overview as well as detailed understanding.‘
‘The team is knowledgeable, commercially-astute, and very approachable; making working with them, individually and collectively, a real pleasure. We work predominantly with the team on film production and film finance matters but with a broad cross-disciplinary practice, we always feel that we are in safe hands as issues in other areas will be handled seamlessly by other teams.‘
Interpublic (including agencies such as McCann Erickson)
De Beers Group
Mr President (award-winning independent ad agency)
The Ozone Project
Take-Two Interactive/Rockstar Games
The Pokémon Company International
UKIE (UK’s video games trade body)
Fourth State Games
- Advised David Beckham on a number of major strategic global endorsement and brand ambassador arrangements.
- Acted for Netflix Studio as production counsel on Rebecca, a film based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier starring Armie Hammer, Lily James and Kristin Scott Thomas.
- Advised Quiddity Films on the financing of the feature film Supernova starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, financed the BFI, BBC Films and The Bureau.
Praised for its 'cutting-edge knowledge of the sector', Lee & Thompson LLP handles contentious and non-contentious issues spanning the advertising, TV and film, and music spaces. Dominic Bray leads the advertising and marketing practice, which includes Huw Morris and digital & tech head Julian Ward, who is also experienced in video games and social media-related matters. Nicki Parfitt leads the TV and film group, which includes managing partner Reno Antoniades and count content creators, producers, sales agents, distributors and financiers among its clients; Sam Tatton-Brown frequently assists the latter. Film head Christos Michaels continues to advise an impressive roster of producers, film financiers, distributors and sales agents; while TV group head Richard Lever is praised for his 'masterful expertise and strategic sensibilities'. In the music sector, Bray and Gordon Williams are names to note for disputes following the departure of Andrew Forbes and Simon Goodbody who now lead Bray & Krais, Solicitors' media litigation practice. Lawrence Engel leads the non-contentious music sector practice; Lizzie Payne-James is a contact to note for emerging artists following the departure of non-contentious music expert Kieran Jay (who joined Harbottle & Lewis LLP). Antony Swiatek is a key name for independent film and TV producers, and legal director Tim Fowler is a member of the music group, while on the contentious side, Martyn Bailey is a go-to name for music litigation.
Other key lawyers:
‘Lee & Thompson’s team of television solicitors are uniquely capable of handling cutting-edge television deals. They have a wealth of knowledge about the players in the UK television space, which helps immensely with adding colour to each deal. Moreover, they have great institutional knowledge as to how development works in the UK and how to structure complex deals. We recently entered the UK film & TV landscape and the firm has been a fantastic partner in helping us navigate and gain a foothold in the industry.‘
‘We work primarily with Richard Lever and Carrie Finlay. Carrie is fantastic. Richard has a unique combination of masterful expertise and strategic sensibilities, especially in an ever-changing industry. Carrie is a diligent, thoughtful and responsive associate who handles the day-to-day for us in a way that we have come to know and trust.‘
‘We work with Christos Michaels and Antony Swiatek. Both have excellent communications skills and can present situations very clearly.’
‘This is a diverse team that covers all areas of the film and television space with individuals that have extensive experience from both private practice and industry. The size of the practice gives it a unique insight into all areas of the industry that makes them part of shaping the the evolution of this section rather than just keeping pace.‘
‘Nicki Parfitt has a great breadth of experience and pragmatic approach to problem-solving. She very effectively runs teams with an ideal balance of partner and associate time.‘
‘Gordon Williams is experienced and knowledgeable. Advice is always objective.‘
‘The fact they have such a large proportion of their business in the film industry means they know most of the agreements and parties likely to be dealt with.‘
‘One of the few remaining specialised firms, and they greatly benefit from it. Cutting-edge knowledge of the sector and all the appropriate skills and experience we need. Very nice people, good atmosphere, quick enough for our needs.‘
‘Richard Lever is the doyenne of the sector and has guided many independent producers in establishing, building and selling their production companies. The fact that distributors and networks have great respect for him is testament to his deal-closing abilities, his ability to remain calm and charming even in difficult situations, and his technical knowledge.’
‘Marek George is a rising star associate. Very quick and technically knowledgeable, but a real deal closer and positive force.‘
Red Production Company
Media Finance Capital
Because Experiential Marketing
World Wrestling Entertainment
Guardian News and Media
Marketing Agencies Action Group
Steve Jones and Paul Cook (Sex Pistols)
- Advised Harry Styles on all contractual matters around the release including arrangements with his record company, Columbia Records US, and the music producers and songwriters who worked with him on the album.
- Advised McDonald’s UK on all of its influencer marketing campaigns featuring music artists, actors, reality TV stars and social media influencers.
- Assisted Media Finance Capital with the financing of a new Tina Turner documentary being produced for HBO in the US and Universal worldwide.
Lewis Silkin LLP combines a strong reputation in traditional media and entertainment industries with experts in digital media, technology and new challenges facing the sector. Jeremy Summers heads up the practice and focuses on contentious music and theatre sector work, while Simon Entwistle is a key contact for publishing sector clients. Cliff Fluet, whose practice spans the music and broadcast industries, has particular expertise in new technologies, for which counsel David Deakin, who focuses on digital media and technology transactions, is another name to note. The group also has a strong advertising and marketing offering; Brinsley Dresden leads the advertising and marketing sector focus group, working with deputy head Geraint Lloyd-Taylor and head of brands and IP Jo Farmer. The team also leverages the firm's full-service capabilities to provide seamless advice on employment, real estate and tax issues. Managing associate Alan Hunt focuses on commercial and technology contracts and IP issues.
Other key lawyers:
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Media Arts Lab
- Advising Suzuki on campaign ideas including sponsorship of GoggleBox, brand endorsement deal with Take That, sponsorship of Take That’s live show and TV advertising campaigns.
- Advised a well-known advertising agency on the advertising and marketing clearance for a lead global sponsor of the FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign.
- Assisting with all aspects of the international exploitation of Jean-Paul Gaultier’s Fashion Freak Show, including shows in Paris, Milan and London.
Osborne Clarke LLP's technology, media and communications practice's 'steadfast output is exceptional '. The group acts for leading clients across the broadcasting, sports, advertising and gaming industries and has particular experience in the digital content space, where it assists with commercial, regulatory and contentious matters. For the latter, practice head and media litigator Ashley Hurst and Robert Guthrie, who focuses on contentious IP work, are key contacts. On the transactional side of the practice, advertising, marketing and sponsorship law specialist Nick Johnson and corporate partners Tim Birt, Kenneth Wilkinson and Mathias Loertscher are highlighted. John Davidson-Kelly is recommended for his knowledge of digital regulations.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team at OC are a rarity – incredibly available, whilst also absolutely reliable in terms of delivery. This combination of always on service with steadfast output is exceptional and was hugely reassuring.‘
‘Ken Wilkinson was always available, and provided a brilliant level of customer service. Mathias Loertscher was the font of knowledge and experience who provided perfect arm’s length oversight to our deal.
Bandai Namco Entertainment
Jellyfish Group Limited
Shareholders of Barcroft Studios Limited
AEG Presents Limited
EMAP Publishing Limited
Tenzing Private Equity
- Advised multinational gaming client Bandai Namco and its group of companies on various commercial, regulatory and IP matters, from advertising and marketing to regulatory compliance checks to virtual currencies to games development and content and rights licensing.
- Assisted the Jellyfish Group and its shareholders with its innovative investment from French group Fimalac. The transaction included data-driven specialist Tradelab (part of Fimalac Group), a leading programmatic buyer in Europe and a web analytics and optimisation expert, being integrated into Jellyfish.
- Advised Facebook and Instagram on multiple commercial and regulatory matters from gambling advertising regulatory compliance checks to partnering deals, to broadcast and content regulatory work and rights licensing.
Reed Smith LLP
The entertainment and media industry group at Reed Smith LLP excels in commercial matters across the film and TV, music, gaming and social media sectors and also advises global brands on advertising and marketing issues. It 'works effectively across disciplines' to provide seamless transactional, regulatory and contentious expertise to its impressive roster of media clients. It also leverages the expertise of its venture capital and private equity teams in advising emerging and start-up companies, including in the gaming and music space. It also benefits from the ability to utilise the firm's international network in cross-border issues. The group is jointly led by Gregor Pryor, who has a broad commercial practice across the digital media space, and music industry expert Stephen Sessa. For TV and film financing matters, Michael Maxtone-Smith, who acts for borrowers and financiers, is a key contact, while Ingrid Silver combines commercial and regulatory experience, Stephen Edwards specialises in copyright issues in the broadcasting space, and Elle Todd focuses on digital and data issues.
‘The Reed Smith team is highly connected to the entertainment sector and engage in it actively.’
‘They can offer advice on best practice on issues, rather than just legal advice. They have also been incredibly useful over Brexit and the new licences required in the EU.‘
‘The team also works effectively across disciplines; we have been able to access through the media and entertainment practice – advice on insolvency which was mission-critical when dealing with a vendor.‘
‘Ingrid Silver is the best external counsel I have worked with, in more than 30 years in TMT. Her advice on legal issues is concise and direct. She is also excellent at understanding tactically how to steer through a complex situation where factors are still emerging.‘
With an 'excellent depth of knowledge', RPC's media practice is noted for its impressive experience across the publishing, advertising and digital and interactive content industries. Publishing sector expert Keith Mathieson (who is noted by one client as 'second to none when it comes to knowledge of libel and privacy') advises on a range of issues including regulatory developments, while Oliver Bray attracts praise for providing 'very pragmatic solutions to navigate thorny issues' in the marketing and advertising space, where he acts for prominent clients including Facebook and Google. The group also has a strong reputation in the gaming and esports industries, in which Paul Joseph assists clients with contentious and non-contentious copyright matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘I work with Oliver Bray on marketing legal matters. He is market-leading in his advice, providing up to date guidance and very pragmatic solutions to navigate thorny issues. Victoria Noto, an associate in his team, has been an invaluable point of contact on marketing asset reviews.‘
‘The team is extremely friendly and approachable, a pleasure to work with. They provide very pragmatic and commercial advice – really taking the time to understand the client’s business which is so important. Advice is usually needed quickly, and the team is accessible and is always happy to help.’
‘I have worked a number of times with Oliver Bray on marketing and advertising – he is a very knowledgeable in this field and it really shows in his advice. He is approachable and always takes the times to discuss issues and potential solutions. I have found his advice and guidance to be incredibly helpful.‘
‘We instruct RPC on libel, privacy, data protection and IP matters. They have excellent depth of knowledge and offer practical advice.‘
‘Keith Mathieson is second to none when it comes to knowledge of libel and privacy.‘
Hachette UK Limited
Google and YouTube
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp
Techtonic Industries (Vax and Milwaukee)
Paddy Power Betfair
- Assisting Google and YouTube with advertising and marketing matters, including in relation to launch campaigns for hardware products, clearance advice, influencer marketing and brand partnerships.
- Acting for Facebook on its global advertising and marketing initiatives, including high-profile campaigns and collaborations.
- Advising Hachette UK Limited on issues relating to the pre-publication of books relating to potential libel, privacy, data protection or copyright exposure for our client.
As 'a boutique music and entertainment firm which has city-level quality of technical skills', Russells Solicitors is a top choice for clients in the music sector. From record companies, publishers and producers to established and up-and-coming musicians, the group has the ability to assist clients with the full range of commercial and contentious matters. Managing partner Simon Esplen (who leads the practice) and senior partner Chris Organ both have an impressive breadth of expertise in this space; Gavin Maude acts for a range of artists and Jo Brittain regularly assists emerging talent with contractual matters. For corporate and transactional matters, Chris Gossage and Ryan Vince are noted. The group has also continued to bolster its litigation practice (within which Steven Tregear and John Reid are key contacts) with the addition of senior associate Jay Joshi from Judge Sykes Frixou.
Other key lawyers:
‘Jo Brittain is exceptional at his job, super efficient and always on hand if I have any queries.‘
‘A boutique music and entertainment firm which has city level quality of technical skills.‘
George Michael’s Estate
Florence and the Machine
Universal Music Group
Amy Winehouse’s Estate
- Acting for Universal Music in a dispute relating to the ownership of the sound recordings produced for ‘Live from Abbey Road’ – a series of 48 one-hour documentaries, filmed between 2006 and 2011, featuring many of the leading acts of the period, which was broadcast on Channel 4 and licensed for broadcast in 27 countries.
- Acting for highly successful songwriter and producer, Jamie Scott (who has written a number of platinum-selling singles), on the multimillion pound sale of his catalogue to Hipgnosis Songs Fund, a Guernsey-based music investment and song-management company – one of the highest profile catalogue sales of the year.
- Representing long-established heavy metal band, Bullet for my Valentine, in a complicated partnership dispute with two former members: bassist Jason James and drummer Michael Thomas, who left in 2014 and 2017 respectively – the complex dispute, which focuses on ownership of the band’s name and partnership accounting, is ongoing with a trial likely in 2021.
Media and technology specialist firm Sheridans 'seamlessly combines superb industry-specific legal advice and commercial savvy to deliver a fantastic end-to-end service'. It offers full-service capabilities to its impressive roster of leading companies and talent across the sector. The group includes lawyers with specialist industry knowledge; for film and TV sector clients, Peter McInerney is the key contact and Nick Mahara is a 'star in the making', while Nigel Jones and managing partner Howard Jones are names to note for matters in the music and theatre industries respectively. In the interactive space, Alex Chapman has particular expertise in computer games and digital media matters, and senior associate Tim Davies regularly acts for independent game developers. The group also fields a strong intellectual property and branding practice, which is jointly lead by Tahir Basheer, Colin Sawdy and Christiana Loizides, and has notable media financing expertise, for which James Kay is highlighted.
‘My impression is of a boutique firm that has excellence and know-how in our specific sector, and is yet sufficiently big enough to call in in-house expertise from a variety of areas if needed. There is no significant rotation of staff/lawyers that I note as well which is helpful.‘
‘Sheridans are best in class for media and entertainment. The team seamlessly combines superb industry-specific legal advice and commercial savvy to deliver a fantastic end to end service. No job is too big or too small for the team and they always go the extra mile at very competitive rates.‘
‘James Kay is the stand-out; he’s in a league of his own. James is invariably the smartest lawyer on a deal, not that he would ever let you know. Humility, gravitas and fierce grace are his stock-in-trade. His unique blend of superior brainpower, easy charm and closing chops are unsurpassed in the UK and leave every other client in the room wishing James was acting for them. James’ protege Nick Mahara, is another star in the making.‘
‘This practice is incredibly client-oriented. The team really works as it were part of the in-house legal department.‘
‘Availability, expertise and ability to offer several solutions/options to the client.’
See Saw Films, See Saw Television
Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Silver Reel Entertainment
Aardman Productions Limited
Boatrocker Rights Limited
Carnival Film &TV Limited
Omnicom Media Group
Microsoft Corporation/Mojang Synergies AB
- Advised Ricky Gervais and his production company on the production of series two of After Life for Netflix.
- Acted for Andy Murray and his production company on production and financing of his Amazon documentary Andy Murray: Resurfacing.
- Advised Expectation Entertainment, the producer, on the production and financing of the BBC’s hit drama, Guilt.
Simkins LLP is a specialist media and entertainment law firm with the ability to handle contentious and non-contentious issues for a range of clients from household names and major institutions to high-profile talent and independent producers. For music, TV and publishing sector clients practice head Euan Lawson is a name to note for corporate and commercial matters, while Paddy Grafton Green combines commercial and tax expertise. Jonathan Blair has particular film and television financing experience, and Ed Baden-Powell, who acts for global rights-owners, sports bodies and entertainers, attracts praise for his 'mastery of the copyright field'. In the music sector, James Harman and Ed Weidman are noted for contractual matters, while Tom Iverson focuses on music sector litigation. Head of disputes Paddy Gardiner is another name to note contentious matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very pragmatic and realistic. Ben Gisbey explains everything so well and in practical terms. Great company.‘
‘Ben Gisbey: Outstanding. Attention to detail is incredible. Amazing negotiators.’
‘Nick Eziefula is a pragmatic, sensible and commercial lawyer who provides quality and clear commercial advice.‘
‘Work around the clock and very proactive in reaching the quickest and best practical solution.‘
‘Lisa Logan: tireless, professional and focused.‘
‘Besides the team’s approachability which is greatly appreciated, they have always demonstrated an outstanding capacity to understand our concrete needs and to deliver very high-quality and totally business-oriented work.‘
‘Our collaboration with Ed Baden-Powell has been extremely valuable since the first interactions a few years ago. We have in particular experienced his mastery of the copyright field (in its broadest meaning and in relation to all possible related area) by being delivered extremely high-quality documents and advice in a very responsive manner, even when our deadlines were very short.‘
‘Very good, personal service. Good availability. Very knowledgeable in their fields.‘
Da Beat Freakz
Cutting Edge Music
Eagle Rock Entertainment
BMG Rights Management
PRS For Music
The Extreme Music Library
The Bleeding Fingers Custom Music Shop LLC
- Advised Cher on her European 2019 touring arrangements including production agreements, promoter agreements, withholding taxes, social security and other matters.
- Advising J K Rowling’s production company, Bronte Film and Television, on all development, financing and production matters.
- Advising Firecracker on life rights and a co-production agreement for the West End show Everybody’s talking about Jamie and a forthcoming feature film based on the musical.
Commercial West End law firm Simons Muirhead Burton has a strong reputation for its media and entertainment sector expertise and has the ability to assist a full range of clients including leading corporates, talent and start-ups. The group attracts praise for its 'swift, practical and commercial' advice, particularly in the publishing space, where Martin Soames is well-regarded for commercial and contentious matters. In the film and TV sector, Simon Goldberg and Razwana Akram are particularly strong for transactional work including development, production, finance and distribution matters, while clients also benefit from a disputes practice led by Stephen Shotnes. The team also has experience assisting music industry clients including artists, songwriters and producers as well as labels, publishers, agents and investors, for which Richard Baskind, Alasdair George and recently promoted partner Jonny Petch are key contacts. Senior associate Blaise Gaymer also attracts praise.
‘We use SMB for editorial advice and assessing any publication risk. We have always found them to be very swift, practical and commercial in their advice. Having worked with the team for a long time, we feel that they know and understand our business and our audience, which allows them to offer helpful advice, appropriate to our publications.‘
‘Martin Soames offers swift, knowledgeable and commercial advice, with a good understanding of our business and our industry.’
Motion Picture Corporation of America (MPCA)
Mark Lewis & Martin Toher/B-Unique Records (UK) Limited
Random House Group
Outside the Wire Ltd
Great Point Media
Early Day Films
Simon & Schuster
Pure Grass Films/Unstoppable Film & TV
Banijay Group SAS
John Callum Stewart
The LADbible Group Ltd
The London Review of Books (Andrew O’Hagan)
Pride ITTQ Films Limited/Lions Den Films
Immediate Media Limited
Dr Pluto Films Limited
Edge Investments Limited
Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Refinery29 Limited & Refinery29 Inc
The Liz Earle Group
- Advising the Motion Picture Corporation of America on only the second UK production to be subject to the landmark new Netflix/Equity SVOD (subscription video on demand) terms.
- Advised B-Unique Records (UK) on the sale of Kaiser Chief’s early recorded music catalogue in a deal which included the group’s first five albums and the hit singles I Predict A Riot, Everyday I Love You Less and Less, Ruby and Never Miss A Beat.
- Acting for the largest general-interest paperback publisher in the world, Random House Group, on a range of highly complex pre-publication, post-publication and litigation matters including handling issues arising from the book A Year At the Circus by BBC America correspondent Jon Sopel, which examined the first year of the Trump administration; and acting in Koutsogiannis v RHG (now the leading case on meaning in defamation) regarding The Spider Network by the financial editor of the New York Times.
Wiggin LLP 'provides cross-functional expertise tailored to the entertainment industry' that 'feels like you have access to magic circle expertise combined with years of boutique specialist knowledge'. For film and TV sector matters, Charles Moore and Medwyn Jones have a breadth of experience, while Chris Hanson, Neil Gillard and David Quli specialise in media finance matters and Michael Brader focuses on corporate transactions in the independent television production sector. The group also has strong advertising and sponsorship expertise which is led by Sarah MacDonald, while Paul Gardner leads the computer games sector group and also advises clients in the sector on advertising matters. In the music space, Rachel Alexander's 'technical knowledge of copyright is encyclopedic', while Alexander Ross attracts praise for his 'deep music law and industry knowledge'. Defamation and privacy litigator Caroline Kean and Matthew Dando are noted for their publishing sector experience, while Sean James focuses on broadcasting and digital media. Adrian Jones handles corporate and finance mandates, and Daniel Whybrew acts for film and TV clients.
Other key lawyers:
‘Wiggin’s knowledge of different deal structures throughout the industry players and the direction in which things are moving. They provide cross-functional expertise tailored to the entertainment industry but unlike other firms that do the same, Wiggin’s advice is usually specific to the client, which proves attention to detail in how we do business differently.‘
‘Alexander Ross (partner) has deep music law and industry knowledge, though unlike many competitors his and Wiggin’s practice is focused less on individual artist clients and more on companies and organisations. Peter Mason (senior associate) worked at PPL previously so has in-depth knowledge of collective licensing organisations and neighbouring rights and is an up-and-comer representing music industry bodies and music-tech companies. Adrian Jones (partner) and David Quli (partner) add depth when needed in the areas of corporate and finance, respectively.‘
‘Working with Wiggin feels like you have access to magic circle expertise combined with years of boutique specialist knowledge of the media and entertainment sectors. You get the best of both worlds. They are completely embedded in the sectors they work in.‘
‘Medwyn Jones is almost unparalleled in his experience within the TV industry. He operates at lightspeed and can move you through the issues swiftly and painlessly as a result.‘
‘Exceptional knowledge of the music industry, both law and practice.‘
‘Rachel Alexander, tirelessly fighting your corner. Someone you want in your team rather than on the opposite side. Ted Shapiro, exceptional knowledge of EU copyright law and the entertainment industry. Victoria Gyles (senior associate) superb attention to detail.‘
‘Chris Hammond has good knowledge of business deals in the market and ways in which competitors are innovating, ability to source information, responsiveness. James Peel is excellent at drafting knowledge of legal positions, attention to detail, responsiveness. Seth Roe is responsive and tailored communications specific to our business practice, which is often atypical in the market.‘
‘Rachel Alexander’s technical knowledge of copyright is encyclopedic and truly exceptional. Rachel also has fantastic experience and expertise in litigation procedure, allowing her to effortlessly guide her clients in case strategy.‘
Perform Group/ DAZN
News Corp UK
Disney / ABC
Paramount Pictures / Paramount TV
Warner Media (Warner Bros; HBO; Warner Horizon; Turner)
NBC Universal (Universal Studios; Focus Features)
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
CBS Studios International
Wargaming Group Limited
Studio Gobo Limited and Electric Square Limited (Keywords Studios PLC)
Milky Tea Limited
Climax Studios Limited
CD Projekt S.A.
Roto VR Ltd
Toadman Interactive AB
TIGA (The Independent Game Developers Association)
ISFE (interactive Entertainment Software Federation of Europe)
Ruby Labs Ltd
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)
Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited
Warner Music UK Limited
Performing Right Society (PRS)
Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL)
One Media iP
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Downtown Music Publishing
Associated Newspapers Limited
News UK (including The Sun and Dow Jones)
Penguin Random House
Audible (an Amazon company)
Middle East News UK Limited
The Wylie Agency
One Click Licence
The Estate of Luciano Pavarotti
AVL Digital Group
- Advised on all production aspects of Scott Free Films’ adaptation of A Christmas Carol, commissioned by the BBC and FX for broadcast in December 2019.
- Successfully represented tWarner Music UK Limited & Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited in a ‘test case’ concerning copyright infringement in the online environment.
- Assisted DAZN Group with ensuring personalised advertising across the service including personalised advertising on living room devices complies with ePrivacy laws and the GDPR.
Baker McKenzie's media and entertainment team is 'always on top of the latest industry developments'. The group is particularly strong in the digital sectors including social media, gaming and digital content and fields a cross-departmental team to assists its clients — which, beyond digital media, span the TV, film and music industries — on the full-range of issues. Ben Allgrove, who has particular expertise in intermediary liability, online content distribution and regulation mandates, jointly leads the practice with William Holder, who, alongside Steve Holmes, is a key contact for transactional work. Other names to note include Helen Brown and Julia Hemmings for advertising and marketing matters.
‘Baker McKenzie has a worldwide practice devoted to consumer internet and technology law. There hasn’t yet been a country or question where they haven’t been able to assist us. Our company’s relationship with Baker is managed by the technology team in their London office. They are always on top of the latest industry developments and are remarkably responsive.‘
‘Ben Allgrove and John Groom have managed a worldwide network of Baker attorneys and affiliates to help us launch our advertising business internationally. I can’t overstate my enthusiasm for Ben and John – they’re knowledgeable, responsive, practical and business-minded, and personable. Billing has been transparent and timelines have been met or exceeded.‘
‘The team combines an astute commercial approach with excellent legal skills and a deep awareness of our industry and issues.‘
‘Will Holder is a long-standing and trusted adviser who is a key partner (in all senses of the word) for our corporate deals.‘
‘Very business-oriented, able to conduct pragmatic risk assessments informed by deep knowledge of industry practices and benchmarks.‘
‘Ben Allgrove, John Groom and Ben Slinn are always able to provide quick turnaround and support, very pragmatic approach taking into account industry benchmarks around risk tolerance, in-depth knowledge of ICO and other DPA trends, ability to adapt to the client’s level of expertise to provide directly relevant and actionable advice.‘
Google (includes Youtube)
Take Two Interactive
IMG / Endeavor
- Advising Sovereign Films on a series of major motion picture projects, including Cradle of Champions and Being a Best, Tunnels of Chu Chi, The Cooks Sisters and We Love You Charlie Freeman, all currently in various stages of development. This has included assisting with writer agreements, production agreement, book options, distribution agreements and other transactions.
With 'an outstanding breadth of knowledge', Bates Wells is highlighted for its strength in marketing and advertising regulations as well as the art and entertainment industries, where it excels in advising established and emerging theatre and performance companies, film and TV production companies and not-for-profit organisations. Erica Crump leads the culture and creative practice and, alongside Tom Pratt and Molly Waiting, advises on a range of commercial, intellectual property and governance issues, while head of advertising and marketing Rupert Earle counts the UK’s leading regulatory bodies including the Advertising Standards Authority among his clients. The team also draws upon the expertise of colleagues in other departments to advise on the full range of issues such as immigration, real estate and corporate mandates.
‘Bates Wells are excellent in making their work accessible to a creative industries audience and keeping people with all levels of experience engaged in the workshops they have conducted for us. They always provided significant resources resulting in one of the smoothest services we have experienced in organising such events. Their expertise on IP and immigration is comprehensive and considerable attention is paid to the practical implications of the law for creative organisations as well as the latest developments.‘
‘Wonderfully supportive, always timely with an outstanding breadth of knowledge.‘
‘Erica Crump has been fantastic – she is personable as well as being sharp as a tack and dedicated to what she does, clearly having a passion in the arts.‘
British Film Institute
Royal Albert Hall
Booker Prize Foundation
Science Museum Group
South London Gallery
English National Opera
Advertising Standards Authority
Committee of Advertising Practice
- Assisting British Film Institute with ongoing commercial and real estate matters.
- Advised Royal Albert Hall on governance, commercial and production issues.
- Acting for the English National Opera on a range of legal matters including commercial, trading, governance, and HR work.
Bray & Krais, Solicitors
Media and entertainment sector boutique Bray & Krais, Solicitors excels in the music industry and, according to one client, 'delivers unrivalled sector experience'. It also advises clients in the sports, theatre, digital media and entertainment spaces. Named partners Mark Krais (who 'combines a fierce intellect with a commercial understanding') and Richard Bray focus on commercial matters, while Simon Dixon focuses on the exploitation of media intellectual property rights. The group, which has traditionally focused on non-contentious work, recently benefited from the addition of music sector disputes experts Simon Goodbody and Andrew Forbes from Lee & Thompson LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘From the paralegals to the associates they are all incredibly hard workers. They always deliver the very best for their client.‘
‘Mark Krais combines a fierce intellect with a commercial understanding at all times. He is first rate.’
‘The level of experience within the firm which delivers unrivalled sector experience. The partners are commercially minded and this is reflected in their approach to their work. There is a can do attitude and they always work in the clients best interest.‘
‘I work with both Richard Bray and Mark Krais on a number of my clients. They are great sounding boards and enjoy working as part of a collaborative team which always delivers the best results for the clients.’
D Block Europe
SonyATV (et. al.)
Bristows LLP attracts praise for its 'very good knowledge of the market, competitors and brands'. The group leverages the firm's strong technology, data privacy and intellectual property expertise to advise clients across the media and entertainment sector. Advertising and marketing expert Paul Jordan leads the team alongside Mark Watts, who focuses on IT transactions. Other names to note include commercial disputes partner Mark Brown and copyright and trademark specialist Simon Clark, who have particular experience in the gaming and publishing industries respectively. Alex Keenlyside, who joined from Pinsent Masons LLP, focuses on libel and defamation disputes.
‘Reactivity, very good knowledge of the market, competitors and brands. Handling complicated technical aspects extremely well with a very practical commercial view.’
The Financial Times Limited
Independent Digital News and Media Limited and Lebedev Holdings Limited
The Guardian News and Media
Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
Master Moley ltd
Discovery Communications Europe Ltd and Eurosport SAS
- Advising The Financial Times on the management of its worldwide trade mark portfolio including conducting clearance searches for new brands, filing applications to expand the protection of the iconic FT and FINANCIAL TIMES brands around the world and assisting with the protection of new brands and products.
- Acted for Paramount Pictures on the coordination of a worldwide ad clearance project in multiple jurisdictions for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie and advised on the labelling of social influencer content associated with experiential promotional activities for the DVD release of Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
- Successfully represented Activision Blizzard in a claim against Bossland and other defendants who develop, promote and sell ‘cheats’ and ‘bots’ for users of Blizzard’s gaming platforms.
The digital services and content group at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is noted for its expertise across the advertising and marketing, gaming and social media, and film and TV sectors. Senior associate Jaclyn Wilkins (who handles commercial and intellectual property issues in the computer games and interactive media industry) leads the practice alongside technology partner Mark Bailey. For advertising and marketing matters, commercial contracts expert Jason Saiban is a key contact, particularly for sport, retail and leisure sector brands. For contentious matters, the group leverages litigators based across its Guildford and London offices including New Zealand-qualified senior associate Claire Greaney, who specialises in reputation and privacy disputes.
International Cricket Council
Shareholders of the Little Tiger Group
- Advised Nike on a number of international digital media and brand campaigns including the sponsorship of Liverpool FC, influencer agreements with Ms Banks, The Corbins and Ella Eyre, and collaborations with Headspace, Paypal and Playstation.
- Advising wagamama on key media campaigns including with influencers such as Gaz Oakley and Tanya Compas, its collaboration with the British Museum and a collaboration project with meal kit retailer, Gousto.
- Advised Ascot Racecourse on its media rights agreements with broadcasters and exploitation of data and media rights for betting.
Deloitte Legal is particularly strong for matters involving emerging technology, data privacy and intellectual property issues and fields a cross-departmental team to advise its client roster, which spans the digital broadcasting, music, social media, gaming and gambling industries. Corporate partner Andy Moseby jointly leads the digital media and entertainment sector with commercial technology partner Calum Murray. The group has an impressive roster of digital marketing and advertising clients, which Deborah Angel frequently advises on corporate and investment transactions. The team was bolstered by the arrivals of intellectual property expert Joanna Conway from Norton Rose Fulbright, data privacy specialist Marta Dunphy-Moriel from Fieldfisher and technology litigator Matthew Irvine from Pinsent Masons LLP. Please note that client names cited may refer to work undertaken by lawyers prior to the team joining Deloitte.
British Interactive Media Association
Danmon Group (including ATG Danmon)
William Hill Online
Enigma Code Limited (Dooh.com)
- Advising DAZN in respect of its supplier structure for its sports streaming services.
- Advising iSite TV on a range of matters across its business including IP, employment and commercial contract issues.
- Advising digital agency, Summit Media, on its operational strategy relating to its move into the automotive sector.
Fieldfisher advises media and entertainment sector clients on corporate, finance, commercial and tax matters. Tim Johnson, who is particularly strong for structuring multi-party financings for film and television projects, leads the group following Tom Guida's departure to Clintons. The cross-practice group includes corporate tax expert Derek Hill, and corporate partners Andrew Blankfield, Carlton Durrant and Christine Philips.
Goodman Derrick LLP has impressive experience across the film, television and broadcasting and publishing industries. The group is led by commercial and regulatory expert Paul Herbert, who counts broadcasters, production companies, digital publishers, literary agents and advertising and communications companies among his clients. Keith Northrop assists film and TV production clients with a range of matters, while, in the publishing sector, Clive Ince is a name to note for contentious matters with experience advising publishers, editors and authors on clearance and risk management issues. The group also handles financing and M&A transactions in the media sector, for which Tanya Shillingford and Edward Hoare are the respective contacts to note.
British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)
Office of The Adjudicator for Broadcast Transmission Services
Digital 3 and 4 (D3+4)
Isle of Media Limited
UK Mission Enterprise Ltd (UKME)
- Advising BBFC on its designation as Age verification Regulator under The Digital Economy Act 2017. (The Act was subsequently withdrawn by the Government.)
- Advising Middle Eastern media group UK Mission Enterprise on the launch of two Arabic radio stations in London and Cambridge.
- Assisting Isle of Media with its remit to increase film and television production on the Isle of Man.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's TMT practice has an impressive roster of clients across the media and entertainment sector and is 'great at understanding business nuances'. It is particularly strong for advice on commercial and corporate transactions, regulatory matters, competition issues and disputes, and benefits from the ability to leverage its international network in multijurisdictional matters. The 'very knowledgeable' Hayley Brady, who was recently promoted to the partnership, leads the team and focuses on transactional work across the sector, while Stephen Wilkinson, Stephen Wisking and Alan Watts are noted for their respective corporate, competition and disputes expertise.
‘Responsive and knowledgeable team. Professional and personable – great at understanding business nuances.‘
‘Hayley Brady is excellent. Very knowledgeable providing pragmatic business-focused advice. She is a pleasure to work with.‘
British American Tobacco
- Advised Bauer Media and News UK’s Wireless on their collaborative joint venture to create Octave Audio, a new digital audio company for the UK advertising market.
- Advised British American Tobacco on its entry into a partnership agreement and technology collaboration agreement with McLaren Racing Limited and McLaren Applied Technologies Limited (including amendments).
- Advised Gannett, owner of the USA Today Network, on the European merger control aspects regarding its takeover by New Media Investment Group.
Howard Kennedy LLP's media and entertainment practice 'combines sound knowledge of the law with commercial acumen' and has 'particular expertise in cases involving the media and/or famous clients'. Mark Stephens CBE, who has carved out a niche in international comparative media law and regulation, leads the practice alongside Robert Lands, who specialises in intellectual property and data protection issues, for which consultant Jonathan Sellors is another name to note. 'Excellent, diligent and creative' senior associate Elizabeth Morley handles defamation, reputation management, privacy, data protection and freedom of speech disputes.
‘Howard Kennedy have excellent strength in depth in dealing with issues concerning privacy, freedom of expression, and data protection. They have particular expertise in cases involving the media and/or famous clients. The team combines sound knowledge of the law with commercial acumen: they know what their clients want, and very often they know what their opponents want too. That’s a useful combination to have on side.‘
‘Mark Stephens: authoritative, unflappable, extremely pleasant to work with and commercially astute. He seems to know everybody, and everybody seems to know him. He commands respect from adversaries and clients alike. Elizabeth Morley: an excellent, diligent and creative lawyer. She is always on the ball, always responsive and can always be relied upon.‘
‘Robert Lands is welcoming, clear, generous and most importantly wise and well informed. We have 100% trust in his approach and are grateful for his relevant advice.‘
‘A top class practice with some of the best media lawyers in the business.‘
‘ I have worked with Duncan Bagshaw, who brought real ‘Magic Circle’ style authority and smooth confidence to what was a very tricky case that fell outside his comfort zone. I was impressed with his calmness in a very pressurised situation. Hugo Mason also stood out for his good-natured easy competence in a pressurised situation. I never felt he was passing the pressure on to me, despite how easy that would have been for him.‘
‘Tim Bignell: a real pleasure to work with: business savvy, felt like we were in completely safe hands and worked sensitively but robustly to achieve a great result for us.’
‘The core media team of Mark Stephens and Liz Morley have not just a worldwide reputation in this area but also get worldwide respect for their advice and expertise. Mark is the go-to lawyer for many US companies. He is mainly a defence lawyer in the media field but does do some claimant work. Liz learned her trade from Mark but is now respected in her own right. Mark is a fighter and a talker – he knows the law and the practicalities inside out. Both are tactically astute and aware of the financial aspects and risks of litigating.‘
‘Mark Stephens, CBE is outstanding. I am often dealing with reporter deadlines and news matters that need immediate attention and straightforward, bottom line, guidance. I have always received this from Mark. In-house lawyers loathe long memos with lengthy explanations and case citings about issues that are irrelevant. Mark always provides clear and succinct counsel and will often forward relevant follow-up information and resources about upcoming cases or laws that will impact the media going forward.‘
Faber & Faber
The Old Vic & Young Vic
Ingenious (the largest independent investor in the UK creative economy)
Greene Light Stage PLC
- Acting for the world renowned musician/guitarist Richard Blackmore (formerly of Deep Purple and Rainbow and currently of Blackmore’s Knight) in claims against HEC Limited and DPO Limited (both in administration) which had been management vehicles of various rock bands and entered into administration as a consequence of the fraud of their accountant, Dipak Rao, and unresolved litigation.
- Represented Vernon Unsworth in claims against Elon Musk following defamatory comments made by Mr Musk on Twitter and via email to a media organisation following the Thai cave rescue, which our client was involved in.
Latham & Watkins' clients are 'impressed by the knowledge and expertise in all aspects of the entertainment business'. It attracts praise for its ability to utilise the 'unique skillsets' of lawyers across different departments and benefits from a strong US practice. Praised for her 'very strong business acumen', 'brilliant lawyer' Lisbeth Savill heads up the practice and advises on the creation, financing and distribution of film, television and other content. For commercial, media, technology and regulatory disputes, Ian Felstead is a name to note. The group has strengthened its transactional capabilities with the arrivals of Patrick Mitchell (who joined from DLA Piper and has particular media rights and distribution arrangements expertise) and head of the corporate and emerging companies group Mike Turner, who joined from Taylor Wessing LLP and handles venture capital, private equity, and M&A transactions in the sector. Clare Hardwick left the practice to establish a media consultancy business.
‘Team works well together despite being in different countries. Each team member has a unique skill set which is utilised effectively.‘
‘Very thorough, always available and willing to go above and beyond.‘
‘I have been using L&W for a few years now and have always been impressed by the knowledge and expertise in all aspects of the entertainment business.‘
‘Libby Savills is the partner with who I work with. I have known Libby for years. Her knowledge, experience and skills are second to none. Libby is not only a brilliant lawyer, she also has very strong business acumen and has been a valuable counsel.‘
Cohen Media Group LLC.
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Warner Bros Entertainment Inc
Anonymous Content LLC
- Advising Cohen Media Group, LLC on the acquisition by Cohen Curzon Media Group Limited of the entire issued share capital of Trentnet Limited, which, together with its subsidiaries, operates the Curzon cinema chain business, Curzon Home Cinema app and Artificial Eye film distribution business.
- Advised Sony Pictures Entertainment and its subsidiary, Columbia Pictures Corporation, on the acquisition of Silvergate Media, a developer of children’s brands for broadcasters, streaming platforms and retail partners.
- Acting for The Hideaway Entertainment on the co-financing of the feature film, Cherry directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, starring Tom Holland.
Taylor Wessing LLP combines impressive IP, technology, data privacy and media expertise to advise its clients in the media and entertainment sector. Led by IP expert Mark Owen, the team includes Niri Shanmuganathan, who is well-known for music sector litigation; Graham Hann, who has particular experience advising clients in the gaming space; and copyright, media, and advertising specialist Adam Rendle. Media and technology sector-focused corporate partner Mike Turner moved to Latham & Watkins.
Particularly well-known for handling high-profile M&A and antitrust work in the media and entertainment sector, Allen & Overy LLP also fields a cross-department TMT team, which assists clients with a range of commercial matters (including content production, distribution and licensing, and IP issues) as well as contentious and regulatory mandates. The group includes IP litigators David Stone and Neville Cordell.
News Corporation / News UK
Metro-Goldwyn Mayer-Studios (MGM)
Virgin Media / Liberty Global
Danjaq / James Bond
Endemol Shine (pending its acquisition by Banijay)
- Advising Liberty Global plc on its £31bn deal with Telefónica SA to merge Virgin Media and O2.
- Advised Endemol Shine Group on its acquisition by Banijay Group including the related antitrust and regulatory issues.
- Advised WPP on the sale of a 60% stake in its Kantar market intelligence business to private equity firm Bain Capital.
Boutique firm Collins Long handles a range of music, film and TV agreements, copyright issues and the related disputes. It also assists football players with contractual and sponsorship matters.
The media and entertainment practice at Dentons is a popular choice for clients involved in cross-border transactions in the sector. Jointly led by corporate partner Darren Acres, IP expert Anna Copeman and commercial technology specialist Andy Lucas, the team leverages its full-service capability and international reach to advise clients from traditional media and entertainment companies (including in the film, TV and music industries) to digital sector clients including e-sports and gaming companies. For privacy and cybersecurity issues, of counsel Tatiana Kruse and Antonis Patrikios, who recently joined from Fieldfisher, are names to note.
Bonhill Group plc
City Loft LLC, owner of Adjarabet
Herschend Entertainment Studios
Lions Gate Entertainment
- Advised Informa plc (the FTSE 100 international exhibitions, events, information services and scholarly publishing group) on the exchange of its Agribusiness Intelligence Portfolio for IHS Markit’s leading portfolio of TMT brands.
- Advising Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) on its investment in the new US production company Picturestart together with a range of high-profile industry partners (including Warner Brothers).
- Advised media entertainment company Herschend Entertainment Studios on its acquisition of the well-known children’s series, Chuggington Trains, from its UK-parent company, Ludorum plc.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP excels in the music industry, where it acts for artists including U2 and Sir Elton John, as well as corporates including Live Nation. The group, which is led by the 'excellent' Andrew Terry (who counts commercial and IP law among his areas of expertise), also acts for clients in the film, TV and video games sectors and assists well-known brands with advertising, marketing and sponsorship matters. The practice benefits from the firm's full-service capabilities and 'expertise across IP, banking and corporate', which it fields in transactional and financing matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Eversheds are our go-to firm on all matters and they have experience across departments. For example, their multi-disciplinary media finance team has expertise across IP, banking and corporate and has advised on some of the most significant transactions in this area.‘
‘Andrew Terry is excellent – he understands the business and advises accordingly.‘
Experience Hendrix LLC
Apple Corps Limited
Harrisongs Limited / The George Harrison Estate
Sir Elton John
- Acting for Apple Corps (The Beatles company) on the enforcement and protection of all its IP rights, with a focus on copyright and trade mark rights in music, film and merchandise across the world.
- Advising Coca-Cola on advertising and promotional campaigns across its entire product range including on use of creative IP rights, commissioning advertising, TV programming and brand extensions.
- Assisting Apple Films with all aspects of a new Beatles film, including advising on the agreements with the production company and the production team, including the director.
Based across the South West, Foot Anstey's media and entertainment practice fields a multidisciplinary team to assist its impressive client roster on contentious and non-contentious matters. Exeter-based Peter Singfield (who handles publishing and commercial disputes with a particular focus on contentious IP and brand protection matters) leads the group, which includes Bristol-based Neil Parkes, who attracts praise for his 'cross-jurisdictional (civil and criminal) expertise in intellectual property infringement' work. Other names to note include privacy and data protection specialist Alexandra Leonidou, who are based in Exeter, and corporate partner Mark Millar, who is Bristol-based.
‘The team led by Neil Parkes has a niche practice in serious criminal IP infringement on behalf of the broadcasters. They also have expertise in civil actions for copyright infringement.‘
‘Neil Parkes is an exceptional partner with unique cross-jurisdictional (civil and criminal) expertise in intellectual property infringement.’
Sky UK Limited
Conde Nast & National Magazine Distributors Limited
The Independent and Evening Standard
Newsquest Media Group
Ministry of Sound Limited
- Acting for Sky UK on a range of matters including content protection and TV anti-piracy matters.
- Assisting The UK Interactive Entertainment Association Limited with IP enforcement matters.
- Advised Future plc and Future Holdings 2002 on the strategic acquisition of the Barcroft Studios group, an independent studio backed by Channel Four Investments.
With 'true sector expertise', Hamlins LLP is particularly well-known for its experience in the music sector, where it acts for UK music collecting societies, musicians and music publishers. Martin Ochs (who attracts praise for his 'brilliant attention to detail and knowledge of copyright law') leads the music sector practice, which includes reputation management litigator Callum Galbraith. Beyond the music space, the group has a strong media offering headed up by Christopher Hutchings, who focuses on defamation and privacy, while Simon Gallant is active in the film, fashion and publishing industries.
‘True sector expertise.‘
‘Martin Ochs has brilliant attention to detail and knowledge of copyright law.‘
‘They have great knowledge of the music merchandise business, which for others is difficult to comprehend.’
‘Martin Ochs: his mix between business/commercialism and legal is what makes him perfect for us. He gives good and useful advice.‘
Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL)
Performing Right Society Limited (PRS For Music)
PPL PRS Limited
Video Performance Limited (VPL)
TRAP (Trademark & Rightsholders Against Piracy)
George Lowden Guitars
David Nicoll (manager of The Kooks and others)
Bravado International Group
Mighty Atom Productions
All Media Music
Proper Records Limited
- Acting for PPL and PRS on their new public performance joint venture. Acting for the companies in hundreds of cases per year brought to protect the copyright of hundreds of thousands of publishers, record companies and performers.
- Advised Trademark and Rightsholders Against Piracy (TRAP Worldwide) on a range of measures to combat anti-piracy including prosecutions and action to prevent online infringement.
- Advised George Lowden Guitars on a collaboration with Ed Sheeran to promote playing music to young people.
Keystone Law's 'highly experienced' media practice has experts in a range of industries including the music, publishing, advertising, fashion and arts sectors. Nicola Thatcher focuses on advising publishing clients at the pre-publication stage, and Vanessa Barnett advises technology companies on commercial IP, data protection and contractual considerations, while Ian Down focuses on marketing and advertising matters. Additions to the team include Gerard Cukier, who joined the practice from Kingsley Napley LLP adding 'tremendous experience' in a range of commercial and contentious matters, particularly reputation management issues; and music expert Nick Weaser from Clintons.
‘Gerard Cukier is a veteran of the industry who has tremendous experience and always offers wise and sensible counsel. A great listener, careful, considerate and very well connected to clients who are very loyal to him.‘
‘Gerard Cukier has excellent contacts and can handle the most demanding of clients. Is able to bring his experience acting for publishers to bear when looking for solutions on behalf of claimants.‘
‘Highly experienced and responsive.‘
Dame Shirley Bassey
Lady Colin Campbell
McDonald’s Restaurants Limited
Life Health Foods UK Ltd
International Hair Artist Agency Limited
McDonald’s Restaurants Limited – Happy Meal
Adam Matthew Digital Limited
Red Pill Productions Limited
- Acting for Dame Shirley Bassey on all of her media and reputation management issues.
- Instructed by Red Pill Productions Limited to advise on a range of corporate and business-related matters including drafting a shareholder’s agreement for founder Liam Corrigan and his co-founder.
- Acting for Julia Kogan in her high-profile dispute with Nick Martin concerning the extent of her writing contribution to the film Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep.
Mayer Brown International LLP has been particularly active in advising on media and entertainment sector M&A, where it is instructed on high-profile transactions. Robert Hamill, who advises on corporate transactions and finance matters, is a key contact, as is corporate and securities partner Rebecca Bothamley. The team is particularly adept at handling cross-border matters, particularly with elements in the US, and benefits from the ability to leverage its strong IP and regulatory teams in the UK and abroad, including in Brussels. For contentious work, practice head Miles Robinson is a name to note.
Village Roadshow Limited
Modern Times Group
- Advised Entertainment One (eOne) on its $4bn sale to the major toy maker Hasbro, Inc, in an all-cash transaction.
- Advised Entertainment One (eOne) on its £178m acquisition of UK-based Audio Network Limited (which is one of the world’s largest independent creators and publishers of original high-quality music for film and television including hit series such as Killing Eve and The Night Manager.)
- Advising Prisa (the publisher of the flagship Spanish newspaper El Pais) on a $200m rights offering.
Swan Turton LLP
Commercial law boutique Swan Turton LLP handles a breadth of contentious and non-contentious work acoss the media, marketing and technology sectors. Group head Charles Swan has an impressive advertising and marketing sector practice, while Antony Gostyn advises clients across the film and TV sectors, and Julian Turton focuses on book publishing matters. In the music sector, Julian Bentley and Catherine Fehler specialise in transactional and contentious matters respectively.
Walter Thompson London
The Hershey Company
World Productions Limited
Mute Song Limited
PBJ Management Limited – leading comedy agent.
Association of Photographers (AOP)
Beggars Banquet Records
Red Bull Company Ltd
- Advising Madness on a deal with Union Square Music/BMG for Madness’ entire recording catalogue.
- Assisting Ditto Productions with all legal aspects of the development, finance and production of Lair.
- Advised The Hershey Company, one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in North America, on its UK advertising and marketing.
Travers Smith LLP's 'commercially savvy' practice acts for international media and entertainment sector clients on a range of corporate and commercial transactions as well as IP, regulatory and contentious issues. It benefits from the ability to collaborate with practices across the firm's full service offering 'to provide excellent solutions to multifaceted problems', and has recently been particularly active assisting clients with M&A, entertainment theme park deals and media infrastructure agreements. Richard Brown specialises in contractual, joint venture and outsourcing arrangements and leads the team alongside commercial, IP and technology practice head Dan Reavill.
‘Excellent knowledge and not just in terms of pure technical knowledge (which is second to none). Travers Smith go above and beyond for us in terms of delivery – they understand that business decisions need to be made quickly and efficiently and their advice is always tailored to our business. It’s more than just legal advice, it’s commercial advice that helps our business to deliver its objectives.‘
‘The team at Travers are really an extension of our in-house legal team. They make a concerted effort to understand our business and the way we work and the issues we are dealing with. They are all super responsive and the advice they give is not just pure legal advice but commercial advice which really helps us to help the business. Standout individuals for us include Louisa Chambers and Ashley Avery – both of whom are smart and savvy operators.‘
‘Travers have been super responsive to our needs on a long and drawn-out project. They are commercial, to the point and understand the needs of our business and priorities. They also use the time of the team working on the project well with no unnecessary doubling up. Even with big gaps in contact, they pick up from where we left off and immediately understand any issues. I was particularly impressed with the speed at which they dealt with the impact of Covid-19 on the project – it was very reassuring to know that we could rely on them.‘
‘Richard Brown is personable and smart – he understands our needs and is quick to offer practical solutions. The team he leads have been responsive and flexible in their approach.‘
‘They are a cohesive, engaged, technically highly capable team, who are able to provide excellent solutions to multifaceted problems. They are all very responsive and available to help whenever needed.‘
‘Richard Brown, a partner in the TMT team, offers a cool head with an extensive knowledgebase, and is a thoughtful and engaged adviser. It is clear that he cares deeply about understanding our business, and works hard to be able to have such an understanding. He is always responsive and makes time for us whenever we need him.’
‘The team is consistently quick to come to an understanding of the issues facing our business and particularly impressive in outlining in jargon-free language the points to be considered and the different options available in any situation. They are commercially savvy as well as pragmatic and work towards resolving problems rather than getting list in legal minutiae or arguments.‘
‘Richard Brown is both measured and creative. He works to solve problems, to understand what we need and what might be of concern to the other side. He is adept at bridging the gap in our favour by finding solutions and navigating a way through what otherwise seems like complex issues.‘
Ambassador Theatre Group
Exponent Private Equity
- Advised Channel 4 on the negotiation of its business critical playout arrangements with providers Red Bee Media and Prime Focus Technologies.
- Advised London Resort Company Holdings on key contracts relating to the development of the £3.5bn London Resort theme park planned for the Thames Estuary, which will be one of the largest in Europe.
- Assisted Immediate Media (which operates various high-profile magazines in the media sector), with its master licensing agreement with BBC Studios.
Media boutique ACK Media Law LLP is singled out for its breadth of experience in the film and television industries; it advises on a range of issues from financings to IP protection and exploitation mandates. The group, which is led by Nick Miller and Sue Charles, acts for an impressive roster of production companies, producers, writers, distributors and financiers and is adept at advising on cross-border matters. New Zealand-qualified Andrea Fraser is another contact to note.
Other key lawyers:
‘Sue Charles is excellent.’
Arbuthnot Latham & Co., Limited
Coutts & Co Limited
EL James/Fifty Shades Limited
Short Form Film Company Limited
Bend It TV Limited
Lupus Films Limited
Sharp House Finance Limited
Double Dutch Incorporated
Moonspun Films Limited
Keshet Productions UK Limited
Rise Films Limited
42 M&P Limited
Lucky Cape Pictures Limited
Wychwood Media Limited
Sleeper Films Limited
- Advised Lupus Films on the development, financing, production and exploitation of the animated special The Tiger Who Came to Tea which was broadcast on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- Advised Bend It TV on the development, financing, production and exploitation of the high end TV drama Beecham House, which was set in 19th century India – it was broadcast on ITV and distributed worldwide by Fremantle.
- Advised Short Form Film on the development, financing, production and exploitation of the 5th series of the hit children’s drama Jamie Johnson.
Browne Jacobson LLP has a strong digital advertising and marketing practice, which is particularly active in influencer marketing and social media issues, where it acts for large brands and influencer agencies including Billion Dollar Boy and Whalar. The team counts affiliate marketing issues as a growth area, where it leverages the firm's IT and data protection expertise, including that of Birmingham-based Richard Nicholas. It has also recently been instructed by traditional advertising agencies, which are becoming increasingly active in digital and social media advertising. Declan Cushley leads the commercial and IP team, while Alex Watt heads up the advertising team.
Other key lawyers:
Whalar (advertising influencer agency)
Billion Dollar Boy (advertising influencer agency)
PZ Cussons International (brand group)
The National Trust
- Advised Whalar Limited on a bespoke precedent agreement to be used for governance of all of its promotional agreements.
- Assisting Camelot UK Lotteries with its advertising and marketing matters.
- Advised TopCashback on two precedent agreements for various social media campaigns and brand ambassador arrangements.
Bristol-based Burges Salmon LLP's IP and media practice counts music industry, TV broadcasting and advertising among its areas of specialism. In the music industry, it assists clients with IP matters and enforcement issues, and in the TV broadcasting space, advises on a range of regulatory, commercial and IP matters. The firm's impressive advertising and marketing practice advises major retailers and broadcasters and transport, healthcare and energy clients on campaigns, sponsorship agreements and innovative social media and interactive content issues. Practice head Jeremy Dickerson, Helen Scott-Lawler, recently promoted director Emily Roberts and senior associate Georgina Shaw (who recently joined from the BBC) are key contacts.
‘I think what makes Burges Salmon unique is the quality of their legal advice. They really know their law but they also know the sector in which we operate and the challenges we face and their advice is tailored accordingly. They get back to us quickly and deal with upcoming deadlines in a timely and efficient manner with the right level of resource for each matter.’
‘Partner Jeremy Dickerson, director Emily Roberts and associate Georgina Shaw all provide spot-on and timely advice and show a genuine interest in what we’re doing and how they can help us achieve our aims.‘
BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)
BBC Studios Ltd
Discovery, Inc. (Discovery Channel)
Twentieth Century Fox (Disney subsidiary)
Racecourse Technical Services Limited
Waitrose and John Lewis
GWR (Great Western Railway)
Play Sports Group
- Advising the BBC and BBC Studios on all UK and EU trade mark applications and registrations.
- Advising Discovery, Inc on new UK channel launches, programme names and content, merchandising opportunities and third party trade mark infringement issues.
- Advising Play Sports Group on its acquisition by Discovery, Inc.
West End firm DWFM Beckman has a strong reputation for handling domestic and cross-border transactions across the entertainment sector. Practice head Irving David has an impressive breadth of experience in advising on commercial and IP matters, particularly in the music space where he 'knows the industry inside out'. The group added to its impressive client roster of musicians, record producers, television production companies and ballet companies with talent manager Big Red Talent and concerts promoter Semmel Concerts.
‘The team offer a very welcoming, professional and relaxing environment. They all have their unique niche and I know they will deliver.’
‘Irving David is a lawyer of the highest standard, efficient, speedy, keen too help you to understand the process/issue/agreement/contract. He is engaging, understanding and sincere. Very approachable and incredible support. He walks you through the process from start to finish with impeccable professionalism.‘
‘Stand out for the speed in which answers are given and in particular contracts are reviewed. They provide great detail in the contract review – often more than you asked for – but the extra attention to detail is always valued.‘
‘Irving David is always available, and good to also debate matters with when looking at contracts or impact of commercial decisions.‘
‘Due to the nature of my business, I dealt mostly with Irving David and I have to add that his work, knowledge and advice is second to none. He knows the industry inside out and can quickly advise me with confidence and credibility. He has been my go-to since 2013 since he came highly recommended in his field by other music industry professionals I’m acquainted with. I have no reservations about continuing to employ Irving as my go to for all legal advice.‘
Primary Talent International
The Band, ELP
Semmel Concerts (Concert Promoter)
Askonas Holt Ltd
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Big Red Talent
One Dance UK
Frederick Ashton Foundation
Snappy Happy TV
- Advised Semmel Concerts Entertainment on a major international tour in 2020 by an artist who is a household name.
- Advised Birmingham Royal Ballet on commercial and IP issues arising from its participation in the ‘Coventry UK City of Culture’ celebrations, taking place in Summer 2021.
- Advised the International Artist Managers’ Association on a major new initiative to merge its database and that of an associated organisation in Europe, and to make the combined database available to the joint memberships under controlled conditions; this included a review of applicable legislation, including the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018.
Fladgate LLP fields a cross-disciplinary team, which advises its media and entertainment sector clients, which span the advertising, esports, gaming, publishing, music and TV and film industries, on the full range of issues. Eddie Powell (whose broad practice includes commercial contracts and data protection, competition and disputes work) leads the team, which includes James Earl, who specialises in sports finance, major events and commercial rights work; corporate partner David Robinson, and commercial contracts and software development and licensing expert Alan Wetterhahn.
Penguin Random House
Noozhoo Nookiiyan LP
Red Tiger Gaming Limited
Jonathan Goodman Publishing (Carlton Books)
The Lords eSports PLC and Googly eSports PLC
Audioboom Group plc
Digital Cinema Media
Music Walk of Fame Leisure Limited
Advance Publications, Inc.
- Acted for leading book publisher Penguin Random House on the acquisition of independent children’s publisher, Little Tiger Group.
- Acted for Noozhoo Nokiiyan LP, the investment vehicle of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, on its investment in Sonco Gaming UK Ltd, which through a special purpose vehicle (Sonco UK BidCo Limited) acquired Coastbright Limited, the owner of Maxims Casino Club, from Genting for £34.6m.
- Advised Gfinity Plc on the £5.25m subscription and placing of new ordinary shares which were admitted to trading on AIM.
Gowling WLG's advertising law team acts for leading brands with particular experience in the food and drink, retail, automotive, technology and fast-moving consumer goods sectors. The group is well-placed to handle multijurisdictional matters with strong advertising practices in Russia, Germany, France, the UAE (covering the Middle East and North Africa), Singapore and China. Legal director Dan Smith leads the team and counts issues relating to digital media, multinational promotions, influencers, ASA complaints, sponsorship and ambush marketing among his areas of expertise. Kate Swaine (who splits her time between Birmingham and London) specialises in the enforcement of brands and comparative advertising litigation.
Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, SEAT, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles)
Marks & Spencer
Nomad Foods (Europe’s largest frozen foods manufacturer and the owner of the Birds Eye, Iglo and Findus brands)
Dollar Shave Club
Premier Foods (Peckish, SAXA, Bisto, Nissin Cup Noodle, Mr Kipling, Sharwoods, Loyd Grossman, Simplicity by Knighton)
- Advising Volkswagen on its whole range of advertising and marketing related queries across its brands: Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
- Advising international brewer Carlsberg on all of its alcohol marketing clearance queries and ASA issues by way of a retainer.
- Acted for Hovis on a range of advertising matters including on the remake of its iconic ‘Boy on the Bike’ advertisement which included reviewing and updating the scripts and drafting the agency and production company contracts governing the remake.
'Outstanding' digital media and IP boutique Hansel Henson has a niche in advising clients on bringing software apps to market, publishing and broadcasting content online and online marketing issues. The group frequently acts in multijurisdictional matters and counts international companies among its clients. Named partners David Hansel and Tom Henson lead the practice and focus on app development and online publishing work, and digital advertising and marketing matters respectively. Sarah Wells is another name to note for advice on commercial agreements relating to app developments and social media influencer marketing.
‘We are extremely happy with Hansel Henson. They represent us very well and have always managed to provide us with support even at very very short notice – which happens a lot. In addition, their work is always well priced and stays on quote.‘
‘If we need support for matters that do not fall under a direct field of expertise (e.g. employment law, taxes), they bring in external help and still run the process on our behalf, which for us means it is streamlined and we can trust the outcome.‘
‘One of the key things with Hansel Henson is that they genuinely always want to get to the bottom of issues as efficiently as possible which in a deal with many parties involved, makes them stand out. In addition, and this is probably one of the key components for me, they care. It shows in their work, and in their relations with their clients.’
‘Thomas Henson and Sarah Wells both always handle our account. They provide excellent support all round on all matters that we instruct the firm with. They are fast to analyse the various situations, understand our goals and evaluate the relevant levers that we can use in negotiations etc. Their communications are clear, fast and instructive. Their knowledge of our industry (gaming/software) is excellent which means we feel both extremely well supported and advised.‘
‘Bryan Rickman is the lawyer that we work with as he looks after our corporate work. I find him really reliable and, like his colleagues, fast, extremely clear and provides great instructions. He always impresses me as well on his ability to make complex corporate issues somewhat clear and easy to understand.‘
‘I think that for all around expertise and commercial acumen in the space of IP law, HH are outstanding. I have worked with a few other firms in this space and HH are a) the best-priced and b) make it easiest for me to focus on the important commercial issues and stay away from the legalese.’
‘Tom Henson is hugely thorough and his attention to detail and closing out complex issues is just what I need. David Hansel is extremely bright and balances an excellent understanding of the law with an appropriate commercial focus.‘
Future Games of London Ltd
Hutch Games Ltd
Conversion Factory Ltd
Another Place Productions Ltd
Sixt Rent A Car Ltd
Samarkand Global Ltd
Robot Squid Ltd
- Acted for Future Games of London in submitting hundreds of take down notices across the App Store and Google Play in relation to HUNGRY SHARK copy-cats that seek to install malware and circumvent in-app purchasing on behalf of Future Games of London.
- Assisting Hutch Games Ltd with the development and production work for new releases including agreements with entities such as TikTok, Inc. whereby Hutch is seeking to use the TikTok platform as a way of advertising its games to TikTok’s audience.
- Advised Conversion Factory Ltd on commercial contracts, including assisting with reviewing terms and conditions with a major internet comparison site and a number of major UK retailers as well as drafting a master agreement for use by Conversion Factory Ltd with its Indian based subcontractor.
Hogan Lovells International LLP fields a multidisciplinary and cross-office team, which advises clients in the media and entertainment sector. It acts for large corporates on transactions, disputes and regulatory issues, including in the marketing and advertising space.
Ince's TMT practice is particularly active in the news media and publishing sector. It is known for handling high-profile litigation including defamation, privacy, IP, data protection and contractual disputes; practice head Melanie Hart, Robin Shaw, Nick Goldstone, James Quartermaine and Benjamin Atkin are all key contacts for contentious matters. For non-contentious corporate and commercial issues, Alon Domb and Paul Toolan are key names to note, while Nigel Davies specialises in the music industry and Matthew Hiscox handles a range of contentious and non-contentious IP and trade mark matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Excellent team with all resources at hand.‘
‘Paul Toolan is a remarkable lawyer. Always available. Conscientious. Knowledgeable. Supportive. Excellent in every way and could not want anything else.’
Guardian News and Media Limited
Telegraph Media Group
Pressdram Limited (publishers of Private Eye)
Troubador Theatres Limited
Spitting Image Productions Limited
Sportpesa Holdings Limited
Remka Inc (the owner of Ryan’s World YouTube channel)
IPE International Publishing Limited
John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten of punk band The Sex Pistols)
- Acted for the Daily Telegraph in its successful defence of privacy litigation, brought against it by Sir Philip Green relating to allegations of sexual harassment and the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements.
- Advising Private Eye magazine on a wide range of legal matters including pre-publication advice and defamation, privacy, intellectual property, data protection and contractual disputes.
- Advised Troubadour Theatres Limited on debt and equity financing with Obotritia Capital and other investors for the establishment of two new theatres in White City and Wembley.
Sound Advice (Legal) LLP
Specialist music law boutique Sound Advice (Legal) LLP is a popular firm of choice for musicians. Led by Robert Horsfall and Sonia Diwan, the practice also counts independent labels, producers and songwriters among its client roster.
Weightmans LLP's national media and entertainment team is noted for its niche expertise in the interactive video games industry, where it acts for publishers, platform holders and funds. The Liverpool-based team is led by Sean Crotty and includes John Schorah; both are popular choices for transactional matters. The group's multidisciplinary team also fields Manchester-based corporate partner Sarah Walton and Victoria Robertson, who handles commercial, IP and data protection matters.
Playground Games Limited
Side (UK) Limited
The Independent Games Developers Association (TIGA)
Nomad Games Limited
Novarama Technology SRL
AXM Venture Capital Limited
Secret Sorcery Limited
Sounding Sweet Limited
Motor Insurers’ Bureau
Fun Learning Studies Limited
Liverpool Media Academy Ltd
Sussex & Surrey Police
- Advised Side (UK) (a recording and production studio which provides audio to games) on a variety of voice talent and motion capture agreements in relation to a number of high-quality titles involving high-profile actors.
- Advised Liverpool Media Academy on its national expansion and new campus in the former Olympic village, securing a significant multimillion pound development from a consortium of investors, including, Sir Terry Leahy (former CEO of Tesco Plc) and Robbie Williams.
- Acted for Nomad Games (which is the publisher of the extremely successful digital board game Talisman: Digital Edition) on its amicable exit from a publishing agreement with a video games publisher based in France, which included complex royalty, intellectual property and platform provisions.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP fields a cross-practice team, which handles M&A, private equity, capital markets, technology and IP transactions in the media and entertainment space. The group includes Barry Fishley in London and benefits from the ability to work with lawyers across its international network.
Other key lawyers:
Bindmans LLP's media and information law team has a reputation as 'the David taking on the Goliaths'. The group combines the firm's reputation in human rights law and 'years of experience in media litigation' to represent individuals, companies and NGOs in defamation, privacy and data protection disputes. It counts individual journalists and major media organisations, including national newspapers and broadcasters, among its clients and also frequently acts for whistleblowers in media and reputational issues. The team benefits from the ability to draw on the expertise of colleagues in its criminal, employment, public law, immigration and family departments. Key contacts include practice head Tamsin Allen, Katie Wheatley and the 'outstanding' Kate Goold.
‘Years of experience in media litigation work including in particular defamation and misuse of private information.‘
‘Kate Goold is an outstanding lawyer who deftly navigates complex cases with great strategic skill and insight in an engaging way which really appeals to clients. She is a pleasure to work with – responsive, collaborative and highly intelligent.‘
‘Jules Carey has an amazing campaigning spirit and fights hard for his client’s causes giving clear, incisive and highly strategic advice. He takes on the big beasts and wins!‘
‘Tamsin Allen is one of the most highly-rated media lawyers in the UK, and for good reason. She is incredibly sharp, principled and intelligent – someone whose knowledge, experience and strategic brilliance get results time and again.‘
‘Tamsin Allen is extremely well respected in the field. She has an excellent understanding of the law and is brilliant with clients – really fights their corner.‘
‘Tamsin Allen (one of the finest people I have had the privilege to know), John Halford (a brilliant legal mind) and Salima Budhani (innovative and strategic). Each displays unparalleled intellect, warmth and genuine interest not just in the case but in you. This is rooted in the fact that they’re in law not to rack up billable hours but to take on issues that matter.’
‘They are all great lawyers at the top of their game but what makes this firm stand out is their core values and passion. They deal with highly complex and sometimes distressing issues with a wonderful empathy and emotional intelligence as well as spot-on legal advice.‘
‘Bindmans’ is rooted in social justice. From the individual partners and associates to the ethos and reputation of the firm, Bindmans exists to hold power to account and ensure that justice isn’t just for the rich and powerful. They are the ‘David’ taking on the ‘Goliaths’ not because it’s easy but because it is right. The firm’s uniqueness stems from its genuine effort to put clients first. You never feel talked down to or made to feel out of your depth. They have the patience to guide you through what is often a complex and difficult time.‘
National Union of Journalists
News Statesman Limited
- Acted for whistleblower Christopher Wylie, advising him on the pre-publication risks of his manuscript recounting his story about Cambridge Analytica SCL Elections and Facebook and advised on the copyright agreements for his book.
- Acting for the National Union of Journalist in several matters including representing members in disputes.
- Acting for the New Statesman Limited (publisher of the New Statesman magazine) in contentious matters, including proposed libel claims.
Collyer Bristow LLP handles a range of contentious and non-contentious issues across the art, antiques, cultural and heritage property sectors and music and publishing industries. Steven Heffer is a key contact.
GSC Solicitors LLP is recommended for its music industry expertise and is particularly active in advising copyright collecting societies including the Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), Video Performance Limited (VPL) and the Performing Right Society (PRS). Justin Goldspink (who leads the team alongside corporate and commercial partner Clive Halperin) is a key contact for PPL and has a breadth of experience across music, copyright and branding matters. Ross Waldram is a key contact for copyright and trade mark mandates.
Other key lawyers:
Phonographic Performance Limited
Performing Right Society Limited
PPL PRS Limited
Cano Water Limited
- Representing Phonographic Performance Limited before the Copyright Tribunal in an issue relating to the tariff for the use of PPL’s sound recordings at events such as discos in nightclubs, pubs, bars, hotels and restaurants.
- Acting for PPL PRS Limited (and PPL and the Performing Right Society Limited) in the enforcement of rights in sound recordings and musical works.
- Acting for CanO Water Limited on the growth and protection of the brand in the EU and internationally.
Based across London and Brighton, Healys LLP's media and entertainment team has a breadth of experience spanning the publishing, broadcasting, TV, film and digital media industries. Nicholas Taylor focuses on defamation, reputation management, IP and rights protection issues, while Andrew Sparrow has particular experience in commercial matters in the digital media space.
Mishcon de Reya LLP has experience advising leading media and entertainment sector companies and counts Nintendo, NBC Universal and Comcast among its clients. Practice head Lewis Cohen is a name to note for commercial matters and has particular experience advising on sponsorship and endorsement agreements. IP litigator David Rose and Sally Britton, who advises on brand protection matters, are other contacts to note.
Nintendo Co., Ltd
Morphe Cosmetics Limited
J Carter Sporting Club Limited (t/a Castore)
424 on Fairfax
Films Without Borders
Wombles Operations Limited
Rwanda Development Board
- Acted for Nintendo in obtaining a novel website blocking order against websites selling piracy enabling circumvention devices.
- Advised premium sportswear brand Castore on its endorsement and partnership agreements with Sir Andy Murray and its kit supplier deal with the West Indies Cricket team.
- Assisted Phenomen Films with a range of matters relating to a slate of films called Dau. This included rights clearance and copyright issues.
Northridge Law LLP handles commercial, regulatory and employment matters for its roster of digital media clients. It is experienced in advising on sponsorship work for large brands, which is a focus of practice head Jon Walters. The group also 'understands all facets of the sports world ', has a growing roster of TV production company clients including Bandicoot TV, and (following the arrival of Melanie Ellis from Harris Hagan) counts gambling regulatory work among its areas of expertise. Recently promoted partner Paul Shapiro provides commercial and regulatory advice to a range of clients in the sports and media sectors, while Jamie Feldman specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment matters.
‘The firm is one of the few genuine sports specialists I have come across. They understand all facets of the sports world so their advice is so much more specific and contextualised than other firms. The commercial advice they provide is unparalleled – their advice is practical and they understand the risk profile of situations – they are not afraid of having an opinion and giving it. This sets them apart for me in that they are able to resolve issues and work through a deal in a quick and efficient way.‘
‘Highly specialised level of expertise in the area of sports sponsorship agreements and employment law, and their personalised, sensible and commercial approach. Proven ability to ensure clients are and feel valued.‘
‘The key things that make Northridge individuals stand apart from competitors are (i) real interest and engagement in our business (ii) commercial focus (iii) being true experts in their field, understanding the music/entertainment industry from all angles.‘
‘Jon Walters is calm and personable, Jon has a vast amount of industry knowledge and expertise which is really beneficial to our business. No query is too small, Jon will always ensure he or his team provide the best possible advice in a timely manner. Jon is very commercially minded and it is a pleasure to work with him.‘
‘Paul Shapiro is another very personable member of the Northridge team, Paul engages with the (often convoluted) requirements of our business and provides clear, commercial and thorough advice. We really enjoy working with Paul.‘
‘They NEVER stop working or thinking about what they can offer you. Jamie Feldman in particular is constantly reaching out with helpful suggestions and industry intelligence that he thinks might be of use. In COVID times, they’ve been ahead of the curve on action and helped us formulate our own plans by having a prepared ready to roll out action plan ahead of our own.‘
‘Jamie Feldman (employment) – highly capable, sensible, dependable, strategic, commercially minded, personable and communicative. Jon Walters (sponsorship agreements) – experienced, commercially minded, sensible, personable, dependable.‘
- Advised Bandicoot TV on commercial and employment matters for the Masked Singer show.
- Advising global entertainment giant AEG Worldwide on a number of key sponsorship deals with brands such as Accor, Tinder and Huawei as well as on matters relating to its flagship venue, the O2 Arena.
- Advising Jay-Z’s entertainment agency Roc Nation on the launch of its new global division based in London, as well as the signing of sporting stars such as Kevin de Bruyne, Axel Witsel and Siya Kolisi.
Commercial law boutique Purdy Smith is praised for its 'specialised and in-depth knowledge in advertising and marketing law'. Led by Mark Smith, the practice advises well-known brands and marketing agencies on a range of commercial, contentious and regulatory issues, with particular experience in the food, travel, cosmetics, retail and entertainment sectors. Smith regularly assists clients with UK and pan-European projects and counts ad copy clearance, prize draws and competitions, social media, sponsorship, product placement, ambush marketing, data privacy compliance and regulatory investigations among his areas of expertise.
‘The advantage that Purdy Smith has is its specialised and in-depth knowledge in advertising and marketing law. Purdy Smith provides excellent specialised advice and offers its clients personal service.’
‘I work with Mark Smith and he is always very quick to respond, provides excellent advice in the area of advertising and marketing law and at very competitive prices.‘
‘Mark Smith is the attorney with whom we most regularly work. He is direct, clear, and is a good team member as we work through international projects. In particular, it is extremely helpful when working on documents being reviewed around the world that Mark limits his edits to those necessary while still providing clear guidance around the requirements of the law. Additionally, he continues to keep us updated about new developments in advertising and privacy in the UK. The information is always helpful.’
‘Mark Smith has a great experience in all communication law, IP/IT. He knows very well the issues at stake in this area and is able to provide very accurate advice.‘
Charlotte Tilbury Beauty
CSM Sport & Entertainment
ZWILLING J.A. Henckels
- Advising Expedia on several advertising- related commercial agreements including media services agreements, creative services agreements and direct agreements with media owners
- Advising premium make-up and skincare brand Charlotte Tilbury Beauty on a variety of potential outdoor advertising initiatives
- Advising accessories and jewellery retailer Claire’s on various advertising and marketing law matters, including advertising copy, contentious areas such as potential comparative claims and the official rules for a high-profile international prize promotion with thousands of prizes.
Praised for its 'deep expertise delivered with a personal pragmatic touch', technology specialist firm William Grace excels in the digital media space. Firm founders Carolyn Burbridge and Alastair Shaw are noted for their experience in commercial and contentious matters respectively. Other names of note include corporate senior consultant Ian Frost and IP litigator Abby Minns.
‘Good value, smart lawyers who are able to deal with complex matters. Very responsive and a pleasure to deal with.‘
‘Deep expertise delivered with a personal pragmatic touch.‘
‘Commercial and pragmatic, in tune with business needs.‘
Crypto Coin Comparison Ltd (t/s CryptoCompare)
English Language Video Learning Ltd
Glasswall Solutions Ltd
New London Architecture Ltd
Modulr Finance Ltd
- Advised CryptoCompare on all worldwide cryptocurrency data licensing matters.
- Assisted Autolomous with commercial arrangements and strategic advice relating to IP assets.
- Represented Agilisys Ltd in a contractual dispute and subsequent settlement with CGI IT UK.