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Media and entertainment in North West

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard’s practice is particularly well-regarded for advertising and marketing matters, while also handling a growing number of media and entertainment-related corporate deals; examples include radio station sales, video game studio acquisitions and transactions involving sports agencies and channels. James Whittaker heads the department, leveraging his expertise in television work, agency agreements, joint ventures, sponsorship, advertising and marketing copy clearance as well as brand ambassador agreements. He recently acted for the majority shareholders of Base Soccer Agency, representative of more than 300 international football players, managers and coaches, in relation to its disposal to Creative Artists Agency Sports.

Practice head(s):

James Whittaker

Other key lawyers:

Elvan Hussein; Rebecca Moore

Key clients

Celador Entertainment Limited

Diageo plc

Eleven Sports Network Limited

Yorkshire 2019 Limited

John West Foods

PZ Cussons plc

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited

Sumo Group plc

United Utilities

Whalar Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for United Utilities in connection to an access and filming agreement with Label1 Television Limited.
  • Assisting Whalar Limited, a growing influencer marketing agency by putting in place legal frameworks and a robust and compliant culture to enable Whalar to continue to grow.
  • Advised Celador Entertainment Limited on the disposal of Celador Radio Broadcasting Limited to Bauer Radio Limited.  The business sold comprised of 25 analogue stations and two digital stations (including Sam FM and the Breeze network of stations).

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP has extensive expertise in respect of sports, film, video games, sponsorship, music, broadcasting, publishing and privacy matters. The ‘concise, practical and commercial’ team is also extremely adept on the defamation front, advising clients on matters including libel and slander, malicious falsehood, invasion of privacy and harassment, the misuse of confidential information and the protection of rights and reputation online, with Liverpool and Preston litigation head Paul Lunt a key figure. Jointly led by Colin Bell and Philip Steele, the practice also acts on complaints to IPSO and Ofcom and is well-versed in the technology space, demonstrating expertise in biometric technology, virtual reality and artificial intelligence, among others. Major recent work has included advising Triple S, a sports management company which represents England footballer Harry Maguire, on his high-profile £80m transfer to Manchester United.

Practice head(s):

Colin Bell; Philip Steele

Other key lawyers:

Paul Lunt

Testimonials

‘The advice and opinions we receive are concise, practical and commercial, which is what we need.’

‘The individuals we engage with take the time to understand the issue/need from our perspective and tailor their advice accordingly, delivering it in a targeted and no-nonsense way.’

Key clients

Benjamin Stokes

Climbtop Limited t/a Farmer Teds

Bibliu Limited

Fatsoma Ltd

Society of London Theatres

Triple S Sports and Entertainment Group

Liverpool Football Club

vTime Limited

Skyhooks Games Limited

EPG Business Limited / T/a Epic Risk Management

Work highlights

  • Defended Ben Stokes, England Cricket Vice Captain, on charges of affray arising from a fight in Bristol in September 2017.
  • Actied for Bibliu Limited to help update and amended its standard terms and End User License Agreement (EULA) and drafted a white label agreement allowing a third party to deploy Bibliu’s solution with its own branding.
  • Provided substantial support and advice to Liverpool FC for numerous matters this year, including: HR support in respect of a substantial workforce reorganisation and introduction of a new reward scheme.

Gateley Plc

Gateley Plc is relied upon by a broad array of media and entertainment outfits including broadcasters, television and film production companies, advertisers and agencies and video game developers. John Burns oversees the department; he has extensive experience in respect of production, development, music and book, management, broadcasting and endorsement agreements along with recording contract and IP matters. The group has also carved out a distinguished focus in the new media space, counting YouTubers, vloggers and Instagram personalities among its client roster. Stephen Roberts brings further breadth to the offering, specialising in media-related joint ventures and M&A.

Practice head(s):

John Burns

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Roberts; Robert Lye

Key clients

Rockerdale Studios

Crep Protect Limited

Edition Capital

Pressplay Media and Entertainment Limited

Hoopla Animation Limited

Ear to the Ground (UK) Limited

Unique Music Management

Work highlights

  • Advising Crep Protect Limited on an ongoing basis in relation to their brand endorsement campaigns with various sports personalities, sneaker vloggers and musicians/rappers.
  • Advising Rockerdale Studios on scriptwriter and artist/actor agreements.
  • Regularly advising Ear to the Ground on endorsement deals with social media bloggers.

JMW Solicitors LLP

At JMW Solicitors LLP, the ‘groundbreaking, exceptional team’ represents celebrities, sports stars, social media and reality TV stars, other high-net-worth individuals and businesses. Practice head Nick McAleenan, a ‘very shrewd litigator’, is reputed for his knowledge of defamation, data protection and privacy complaints in addition to crisis and general reputation management. His team is also highly regarded for brand management and IP issues with particular expertise in harassment actions, including those against internet trolls and former employees. Notably, the group represented 9,263 group claimants in a Supreme Court data breach case which concerned the leak of Morrisons’ payroll information in 2014 by a Morrisons employee. Senior associate Rebecca Young 'has an encyclopaedic knowledge of procedure'.

Practice head(s):

Nick McAleenan

Testimonials

‘Really good team with excellent knowledge – both legal and practical. Particular expertise in media and data protection cases. One of the best.’

‘Laura Wilkinson really knows her stuff, fights for the client and is extremely good to work with. Nick McAleenan is a really good media and communications law solicitor, knowledgeable, experienced, friendly and innovative.’

‘A team that has the edge due to its experience of commercial dispute resolution.’

‘Rebecca Young has an ability that belies her youth. Encyclopaedic knowledge of procedure.’

‘A groundbreaking, exceptional team at the forefront of data breach litigation. They are actively pushing the law forward.’

‘Nick McAleenan is a very pleasant chap and a very shrewd litigator. Laura Wilkinson is a very committed lawyer.’

‘They succeeded where other firms didn’t. It wasn’t simply about obtaining a fee for work provided but maintaining a focus on winning the battle.’

Key clients

Various Claimants v WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc

The Blue Rooms (London) Limited

Dan Hooper

Pride Planning

Various Claimants v Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

Adam Deering

LWC Drinks Ltd

British Parking Association

Smart Parking Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing former MP Jared O’Mara in relation to disclosure of personal information to the media.
  • Advised a sportsman in reputation management and data dispute with gambling company.
  • Represented two professionals in relation to a harassment complaint against an internet troll.

Pannone Corporate LLP

The ‘outstanding’ team at Pannone Corporate LLP is led on the contentious side by Melanie McGuirk; she is praised for her ‘deep understanding of how the media operates’. Amy Chandler leads on non-contentious matters, with the team’s expertise encompassing advertising and marketing, including ASA and CAP Code complaints, in addition to defamation and reputation management. The team also excels on voicemail interception and computer hacking disputes. Further expertise is spread across sponsorship, merchandising, social media, publishing and brand protection matters, among others. Director Sarah Bazaraa is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Melanie McGuirk; Amy Chandler

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Bazaraa

Testimonials

‘A legal team that really understands how the media works and how journalists think. They act quickly and efficiently, helping to keep processes moving forward rather than slowing them down. They’re flexible and respond quickly to all our requests. And they understand the complexities of managing complex and potentially damaging media inquiries.’

‘Melanie McGuirk has been an absolute joy to work with. She’s that rare thing; a lawyer who has a deep understanding of how the media operates. She’s also a great listener and can quickly adapt her approach in a fast-moving landscape. She has been outstanding in supporting our organisation by adding an extra weapon to our PR armoury.’

‘I have found this to be an outstanding team that I would not hesitate to recommend within this area. I do not recall being more impressed with a team that I have not worked with before. Their work ethic, insight and dedication to the client make them a joy to work with.’

‘Melanie McGuirk is an outstanding lawyer who I have already recommended to those in my field. Genuinely friendly and personable, but extremely hard-working and thorough. A rare combination, and a pleasure to have on your side.’

‘Practical, assertive, expert, efficient, cost effective, highly personable without lots of legal jargon. They took hold of the issue and got on with sorting out what we should do and then made it happen.

‘Sarah Bazaraa was highly approachable, very knowledgeable, responsive to our needs, listened carefully to us and never needed anything repeating. Sarah was a consummate professional and one of the easiest lawyers I have ever worked with in almost 40 years in business.’

Key clients

Performing Right Society

Boohoo.com UK Limited

Brother International Europe Limited

Prettylittlething.com

AMS Neve Limited

Iceland Foods Limited

Carm Productions Limited

UP Global Limited

International Game Technology plc

Nasty Gal Limited

SMG (UK) Limited

Lola Ideas Limited

Travel Insurance Facilities plc

EBS Systems Limited t/a Exemplar Education

Represent Clothing Limited

Work highlights

  • Regularly advising Boohoo.com UK Limited, an international fashion brand, as regards its promotional and marketing activities and reputation management issues.
  • Advised EBS Systems Limited t/a Exemplar Education in relation to the threatened publication of allegations regarding its tuition products and contractual arrangements which were to be broadcast by the BBC as part of its Inside Out programme.
  • Advising Tifgroup in connection with High Court libel proceedings issued against The Times newspaper arising from its publication of a series of articles about the firm’s client.

Centrefield LLP

The team at sports and media specialist firm Centrefield LLP works with a range of clients on commercial rights exploitation, personal endorsement arrangements, franchising, licensing, merchandising and broadcasting matters. Its broad expertise also encompasses publishing and social media affairs, venue hire, event staging, joint ventures and reputation management. The practice, jointly headed by David Bentham and Edward Canty, is also adept with confidentiality, defamation and privacy matters.

Practice head(s):

David Bentham; Edward Canty

Key clients

The Professional Footballers’ Association

The Rugby Players’ Association

Super League

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Jesse Lingard

Everton Football Club

Bolton Wanderers Football Club

Work highlights

  • Continuing to advise the PFA across all elements of its arrangements relating to media matters, including all reputation management matters regarding/affecting the PFA, as well as the PFA’s wider media strategy/dealings and commercial matters.
  • Acting for a range of high profile individuals in respect of privacy matters, including in connection with the well-publicised disclosure of highly sensitive information by Football Leaks/Der Spiegel.
  • Advising high profile sportspeople in connection with their individual arrangements, including exploitation of their commercial rights programmes and protection of their reputation/image. Examples include Jesse Lingard, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Manleys Solicitors

Manleys Solicitors handles privacy, reputation management, corrections and defamation matters, working with clients including sports stars, celebrities, magazines, TV companies and newspapers. Mark Manley and Katie Mickleburgh are well regarded in the market.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Splitting their time between Manchester and London, Rachael Somerset and Richard Dawson-Gerrard jointly lead the practice at Mills & Reeve LLP. Their department is engaged for a broad array of defamation work including libel, slander, privacy, malicious falsehood and online harassment. Privacy, regulatory investigations, media strategy and related disputes are also fronts on which the group is active. Clients include celebrities, actors, footballers, public bodies and corporates.

Testimonials

‘Mills & Reeve provide a holistic and thorough service, marrying commercial acumen and a strong grasp of technical details in media and entertainment law.’

‘Rachael Somerset has an excellent grasp of this technical area of law, is fast and responsive, and very user friendly.’

‘Efficient, knowledgeable, results-oriented’

 

Key clients

James Milner (Professional footballer, Liverpool Football Club)

West Midlands Ambulance Service

Coronation Street / ITV

England Golf

Steph Houghton (Professional footballer, Manchester City FC)

Jen Beattie (Professional footballer, Arsenal FC)

The Professional Footballers’ Association and its members

The James Milner Foundation (Charitable foundation)

Niche Health Limited

Phoenix Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Steph Houghton (Manchester City FC) and Jen Beattie (Arsenal FC) in relation to reputational matters.
  • Led pre-publication advice to ITV and the scriptwriters of Coronation Street in relation to the content of significant storylines.
  • Acting for Niche Health Limited to help ensure the security of patient data.

Weightmans LLP

The team at Weightmans LLP is distinguished from its competitors by its notable focus on the video games industry, with key strengths including development agreements, licensing, talent, image rights, exploitation and recording agreements. The practice, headed by Sean Crotty, represents music, film and television clients, recently advising on the production of several documentaries as well as advertising matters. Additional expertise includes media-related acquisitions and disposals, publishing, tax relief and fundings.

Practice head(s):

Sean Crotty

Key clients

Playground Games Limited

Side (UK) Limited

The Independent Games Developers Association (TIGA)

Apadmi Limited

Nomad Games Limited

Novarama Technology SRL

AXM Venture Capital Limited

Secret Sorcery Limited

Sounding Sweet Limited

Motor Insurers’ Bureau

Mercato Limited

Fun Learning Studies Limited

Liverpool Media Academy Ltd

Chiesi Ltd

Sussex & Surrey Police

Work highlights

  • Advised Side (UK) Ltd on a variety of voice talent and motion capture agreements in relation to a number of high quality titles involving high profile actors.
  • Advised client Nomad Games, who 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.
  • Advised Liverpool Media Academy on its national expansion and new 60,000 sq ft 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.

Counterculture Partnership LLP

At Counterculture Partnership LLP, Mark Roberts is the key contact, leveraging strong expertise in the music industries. He represents performing artists, songwriters, DJs, managers and record labels on the full range of relevant affairs. The performing arts are a key focus for the team, with dancers, music venues, publishers and theatre companies among the client roster.

Other key lawyers:

Mark Roberts; Laura Marsden

Testimonials

‘Having a background in the music/media industries gives the team hands-on knowledge of what effect their work has on their clients and makes them very easy to relate to for composers like me.’

‘Laura Marsden is very approachable, efficient and friendly. She provided great legal services using language and an approach that was genuinely useful to me as a client.’

Key clients

Lincoln Grounds

English Folk Expo

Golden Tree Productions

Black Gold Arts

Southbank Sinfonia

National Operatic and Dramatic Association

British Youth Music Theatre

Children’s Media Conference

Music & Lyrics

Russell Maliphant Dance Company

Bodylistics Limited

IFA Agency

The Five BB’s Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising English Folk Expo with an application for charitable status.
  • Advised Luno Pictures, the creator of a children’s animation, on an option agreement in respect of the rights to the original work.
  • Advised Lincoln Grounds on the restructure of composer’s business and licensing arrangements.

Fletcher Sports Law

Fletcher Sports Law represents a range of celebrities, either directly or via media agents, on a range of different issues. Examples include TV deals, influencer and sponsorship agreements, commercial contracts, endorsement agreements and image rights structures. The firm’s managing director, Paul Fletcher, leads the department, which has recently carved out a reputation for representing former contestants from flagship ITV reality TV show Love Island.

Practice head(s):

Paul Fletcher

Key clients

Amber Gill

Callum Macleod

Ovie Soko

Jessica Shears

Ferne McCann

Mario Falcone

Elma Pazar

Jordan Hames

Sherif Lanre

Rosie Williams

Josh Denzel

Megan Barton-Hanson

Danny Williams

Jourdan Riane

Mike Boateng

Connor Durman

Work highlights

  • Advised Love Island 2019 winner Amber Gill in relation to her endorsement deal with MissPap.
  • Advised Ferne McCann in relation to ITV commission of series five and six of ‘First Time Mum’.
  • Instructed by Ovie Soko and his agent, Mokkingbird, to advise them in relation to Ovie’s endorsement deal with Vodafone.

Irwin Mitchell

The arrival of Laura Harper from Shoosmiths LLP has significantly bolstered the practice at Irwin Mitchell; she brings a proven track record in advising businesses in both the creative industries and digital sector. A notably broad range of clients rely on the group including gaming, film and TV companies, YouTubers, musicians and sport stars.

Key clients

Firesprite Limited

Good For Nothing Limited

Fabrik Limited

Newson Health Limited

Keeley Forsyth

Louder Than Words Festival

Whispering Smith Limited

Balance App Limited

Dinosaur UK Limited

Sharp Futures CIC

Work highlights

  • Advised independent games studio, Firesprite Limited, in relation to its publishing agreement with renowned publisher Perp Games for Firesprite’s own IP The Persistence Complete. Negotiated and drafted the publishing deal for boxed distribution of the game for Xbox, Playstation & Nintendo Switch.
  • Advised health tech mobile platform Balance and Dr Louise Newson, an expert on perimenopause and menopause, on all contractual matters relating to the design and build of the app, managing content, IP and brand protection including copyright and trade mark advice, corporate structuring and investment advice.
  • Acted for Louder than Words Festival, a genre-based festival celebrating words associated with the music industry.