Media and entertainment in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP represents a broad range of clients, including major broadcasters, publishing companies, private individuals, and social media companies. The firm has excellent knowledge of intellectual property law, ranging from acquiring IP rights, to advising on compliance and handling IP-focused acquisitions. Beyond this, the team advises clients on defamation risks through pre-publication reviews and pre-broadcast content reviews and manages data and brand protection for companies and individuals. Martin Sloan specializes in IP and technology, including contracts for the development of mobile apps and online affiliate advertising.

Practice head(s):

Christine O’Neill

Other key lawyers:

Martin Sloan


“The team at Brodies displays intelligence, honesty and enthusiasm.”

“Christine O’Neill has a standout intellect combined with practicality and candour.” 

Key clients

BBC Scotland

Channel 4

DC Thomson



TV Squared

STV Group

Wyvex Media

Rewards 4 Group

Scottish Ballet

Work highlights

  • Providing on-call support to BBC Scotland’s journalists and current affairs staff on defamation, privacy and contempt of court matters.
  • Advising advertising analytics business TV Squared on data protection and ePrivacy law.
  • Advising DC Thomson on the acquisition of Aceville, one the UK’s fastest growing publishing houses.
  • Providing complex copyright infringement advice to a leading global TV broadcaster and preparing to defend a business critical interim interdict (injunction) action.
  • Raising a successful trade mark and infringement and passing off action in the Court of Session for a global fashion magazine and brand.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP’s large team act for major broadcasters, high net worth individuals and private companies in defamation and contempt of court proceedings, intellectual property and copyright enforcement mandates and restructuring matters. In a recent case, the team advised STV on its high-profile sale of its ITV2 channel to That’s Media, a deal which involved the sale of five separate entities, each holding local broadcasting licences, as well as intellectual property considerations. The team is led by Grant Stevenson, who works alongside Colin Hulme and director Kirsteen MacDonald , who advised JK Rowling on a court action raised against the author’s former personal assistant.

Practice head(s):

Grant Stevenson

Other key lawyers:

Colin Hulme; Kirsteen MacDonald


“The media law team at Burness Paull has quality throughout. They work tirelessly together and go well beyond the extra mile.”

“The team are commercial in their approach and great fun to work with.They are really responsive and work seamlessly with our in-house lawyers as a team.”

“Kirsteen MacDonald is a standout performer in the media law field. Her knowledge of the law, tactical nouse and exceptional hard work make her the person to turn to in Scotland for media law related matters.”

Key clients

STV plc

Independent Television News

ACF Sports Promotions Limited

BBC Scotland

Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC


Sky UK Limited

Performing Right Society Limited

JK Rowling

Ms Julie McAnulty

Phonographic Performance Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising STV plc on the high-profile sale of its ITV 2 channel to That’s Media Limited.
  • Advising ITN in London on the employment and equality law implications of the publication of their gender pay gap report, including advice on risk and reputation management and equal pay issues.
  • Assisted ASF Sports Promotions Limited in negotiating an agreement with Neptune Street Films Limited for Sir Alex Ferguson to participate in the first feature length documentary based upon his life.
  • Acting on behalf of BBC Scotland in applying for the release of Crown productions in a Fatal Accident Inquiry before Sheriff Principal Turnbull in Glasgow Sheriff Court.
  • Advising Sky UK on the enforcement of copyright in Sky’s on-screen logos through commencement of interdict proceedings in the Intellectual Property Court of the Court of Session.

Thorntons Law LLP

Thorntons Law LLP acts for media organisations, public and private sector bodies, music producers and games developers, advising on matters relating to defamation claims, licensing, copyright and intellectual property infringements. The team advised ThinkAnalytics on its collaboration with the BBC to incorporate its personalization software into BBC iPlayer. Lesley Larg , who represents a range of clients including games companies, music promoters and newspaper publishers, advises the V&A Museum in Dundee on all aspects of its development.

Practice head(s):

Lesley Larg; Liam McMonagle; Alistair Lang; Scott Milne; Loretta Maxfield

Key clients

Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee

Ged Grimes

Design Dundee Limited

DC Thomson & Co Ltd

St Andrews Links Trust

People’s Postcode Lottery

Runrig Touring Limited

ThinkAnalytics Limited

Design Dundee Limited (V&A) Museum Dundee

All 4 Games Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised ThinkAnalytics on its collaboration with the BBC to develop the BBC iPlayer.
  • Advised Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee, the host of the 2018 Golf Open Championships, in negotiating a contract with a video games developer for a new virtual betting game featuring Carnoustie Golf Links
  • Negotiated a project agreement between Simple Minds musician Ged Grimes and a US games company, involving copyright ownership and licensing, as well as complex points around royalties and licences.
  • Acting for Design Dundee Limited, the company responsible for the creation, management and running of the V&A Dundee.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern has a wealth of experience advising publishing companies, trusts and media organisations on matters such as licensing, leasing, intellectual property, copyright and defamation, and acts on both sides of copyright infringement claims in court. The team is particularly focused on the arts and culture sector and often represents trusts seeking to contribute to creative projects in Scotland, such as a permanent exhibition by Scottish Borders Council. Practice head Simon Brown advises Birlinn, one of Scotland’s largest independent publishers, on a range of legal issues including intellectual property, contempt of court, privacy and the protection of journalistic sources.

Practice head(s):

Simon Brown

Key clients

STV ELM Limited

The Rangers Football Club Limited

Birlinn Limited

Merlin Entertainments Group

Scottish Book Trust

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

Floris Books

The Great Tapestry of Scotland Charitable Trust

The National Library of Scotland

Publishing Scotland

Heywow! Limited

Work highlights

  • Pre-publication legal reading for Birlinn Limited, one of Scotland’s largest publishers.
  • Advising Scottish Television ELM Limited in relation to the Scottish Children’s Lottery, including broadcasting, procurement, regulatory and branding matters.
  • Providing reputation management, broadcasting and sponsorship advice to Rangers Football Club.
  • Successfully represented a leading transport company against copyright infringement claims by PRS for Music.
  • Successfully concluded a long-running copyright and trade mark dispute on behalf of major publishing company.

BTO Solicitors LLP

BTO Solicitors LLP focuses on advising individuals and private companies on reputution management, including social media management, defamation proceedings, and strategic media advice. Solicitor advocate Paul Motion, who is dual accredited in data protection and freedom of information law, often advises clients in the music industry on artist management, recording and production contracts. The firm is also launching a music team following the hire of Jonathan Tait, who has a background in the music industry and music education.

Practice head(s):

Paul Motion

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Tait

Key clients


McTaggart & Mickel

Fathom Financial Consulting Ltd

Milton Hotels

Heather Hiram t/a Safe and Sound Hound

Work highlights

  • Advised EmuBands, a record producer and distributor, on a social media takedown letter issued against Facebook in relation to a defamation claim.
  • Advised Mactaggart & Mickel on a social media takedown letter issued against Facebook in relation to a defamation claim.
  • Provided strategic advice to a major housing association in response to a negative blog campaign.


Dentons' media and entertainment practice advises broadcasters and organisations in the arts and culture sector on intellectual property matters, copyright infringement, data protection, defamation risks and other contentious issues, such as production rights and censorship. In the non-contentious space, the team drafts agreements for cultural bodies and helps clients with reputation management. Partner Susan Snedden is well known for litigating in IP disputes on behalf of major broadcasters. Practice head Ewan Easton has a track record of advising BBC Scotland on their reporting rights and duties.

Practice head(s):

Ewan Easton

Other key lawyers:

Susan Snedden

Key clients

BBC Scotland

STV Productions

Edinburgh International Festival

STV Group plc

National Theatre for Scotland

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

Dine Scotland Limited

Work highlights

  • Instructed to make an application to the court to reinstate consent on the basis that tweeting from the courtroom by the BBC was crucial in ensuring that initial reportage of the proceedings came from a responsible source.
  • Drafting contracts for agreements with artists performing live shows at the Edinburgh International Festival.