Media and entertainment in Scotland
The ‘first class’ media and entertainment practice at Brodies LLP ‘delivers great advice and is proactive in identifying issues’. Acclaimed for its ‘breadth of expertise’, the practice is home to an array of industry expertise, covering arts and culture, sport, technology, social media, music, broadcasting, publishing and gaming. Christine O’Neill, an expert in defamation and reputation management, is praised as ‘the best public lawyer in Scotland’; she leads the department together with the ‘excellent’ Martin Sloan, whose strengths include commercial contracts, licensing, ePrivacy and adtech. The team also excels in respect of media-related M&A, sponsorship and events, pre-publication and broadcast advice and reputation management.
‘They deliver great value and advice and are proactive in identifying and solving issues quickly, efficiently and with the minimum of fuss.’
‘Martin Sloan in Edinburgh is excellent. The breadth of his technical knowledge in technology, outsourcing, IP and data privacy is matched by a similarly impressive gasp of the issues’.
‘Brodies has a breadth of expertise and variety of skills in an number of key legal areas. This allows us to have access to all the relevant legal expertise as and when we require it in one place.’
‘Martin Sloan has the right knowledge to support us through complex contacts and ensure we get the right legal cover.’
‘Brodies’ work is of an extremely high standard. They advise on the legal aspects of any particular matter, but they are also extremely commercial in their approach and take time to understand our business, our challenges and think of ways to overcome them’.
‘Truly Scottish in its focus, but international in its outlook. A good breadth of knowledge.’
‘Christine O’Neill is widely regarded as the best public lawyer in Scotland, out of all solicitors, advocates and academics. She is frank; gives clear advice; is courageous and direct when assessing risk; is responsive and enthusiastic; has an outstanding intellect.’
- Advised DC Thomson on the acquisition of two Scottish commercial radio stations.
- Charity work for STV, STV Appeal and Scottish Children’s Lottery.
- Advised DC Thomson on the acquisition of PSP Media.
The team at Burness Paull LLP is hailed for its ‘impressive and responsive service - London-quality advice coupled with a very personal service’. The full-service practice is headed by Grant Stevenson, who represents bluechip media clients on all aspects of their corporate, finance and commercial activities, and also includes Colin Hulme, a go-to name for media rights enforcement. Elsewhere, director Kirsteen MacDonald is developing a strong reputation for pre-publication and defamation matters, leveraging her ‘genuine enthusiasm for working with the media’. Household name media organisations and renowned individuals work with the firm, which has recently handled several high-profile disputes and is particularly well-regarded for its pre- and post-broadcasting advice, content rights management work and knowledge of reporting restrictions.
‘Burness Paull’s partners are very impressive and responsive: nothing is too much trouble. They really engage in the deal and try to drive deals forward proactively. They provide London-quality advice at competitive rates and succeed in giving a very personal service.’
‘Outstanding speed of response and energy. Really good support staff- the approach and culture of the firm appears to cut across all layers to produce excellent service.’
‘Kirsteen MacDonald has a deep and genuine enthusiasm for working with the media. She is exceptionally flexible both in making herself available and in her approach to problem solving. She can’t do enough for a client.’
Independent Television News
ASF Sports Promotions Limited
Sky UK Limited
Performing Right Society Limited
Ms Julie McAnulty
Phonographic Performance Limited
- Advised STV Productions Limited, the television production arm of STV Group plc, on the acquisition of a majority stake in London-based television production company Primal Media Limited from Lions Gate International (UK) Limited.
- Rpresented Ms Julie McAnulty, a former SNP councillor, in a defamation action raised in the Court of Session against Sheena McCulloch, an employee of the SNP. The court found in favour of the client and Ms McCulloch sought to appeal the decision but was unsuccessful.
- Successfully represented world renowned author JK Rowling in the much publicised action against Ms Rowling’s former personal assistant, Amanda Donaldson. The action related to the fraudulent misuse of a business credit card provided by Ms Rowling’s to Amanda Donaldson.
At Anderson Strathern, practice head Simon Brown is a renowned expert when it comes to copyright issues, film and TV options, publishing contracts and defamation matters. His team recently launched a theatre and performing arts initiative, fronted by Barry Nichol, with the aim of supporting performing arts charities on employment and HR issues, among other matters. The group holds a distinguished track record of representing media start-ups and also directs focus towards media work in the education sector.
The Great Tapestry of Scotland Charitable Trust
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
The Rangers Football Club Limited
Red Hot Chilli Pipers
Merlin Entertainments Group
Penguin Random House
Whittles Publishing Limited
The National Library of Scotland
Federation of Scottish Theatre
The Mowforth Family
Scottish Book Trust
Floris Books Limited
Puppet Animation Scotland
- Providing advice to Edinburgh Zoo on a regular basis.
- Advising Rangers FC on numerous defamation and reputation-management issues, sponsorship and online marketing matters, broadcasting rights agreements and wider commercial and IP issues.
- Acting for The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, an ensemble of pipers, guitarists, keyboards and drummers who perform a unique fusion of traditional bagpipe tunes and contemporary pieces.
Thorntons Law LLP
The ‘highly recommended’ media and entertainment team at Thorntons Law LLP is engaged a broad range of both contentious and non-contentious matters. Hailed as ‘experts in music-related law’, the group counts labels, venues, promoters, performance artists and songwriters among its client list and also has strong knowledge of a range of other industries including newspapers, television, gaming, the arts and software. Practice head Lesley Larg’s 'professionalism always shines through’; her team supports press organisations with content risk and out of hours clearance work and is also well-versed on broadcasting matters, sponsorship agreements and gambling law.
‘The team are experts in music-related law and this can be a particularly fast-changing world as often it is tied to technological innovation. The team headed by Lesley Larg are always cognisant of the urgency of contract enquiries and there are very few law firms in Scotland that I would trust with my music business legal work. It takes specialist legal knowledge to successfully navigate this industry.’
‘Lesley Larg has a deep understanding of all sides of the music business from performance royalty issues to the value of retaining copyright interest in my own creative work. Her professionalism has shone through in all my global business dealings and she is always attentive to my enquires and can articulate complex legal issues that may arise in layman’s tems. In addition, she has introduced me to many other creative companies in the area who have become collaborators.’
‘Lesley Larg’s expertise in the industry is clear – she has an understanding of the context that sets her apart. She understands our business and what we are trying to achieve, and also what areas need to be addressed.’
Design Dundee Limited (trading as V&A Dundee)
Mogwai (Scottish post-rock band)
Ged Grimes (Simple Minds)
Aberdeen Journals Limited (publisher of the Press and Journal and the Evening Express)
DF Concerts Limited (King Tut’s, T in the Park, TRNSMIT)
Postcode Lottery Limited
St Andrews Links Trust
- Acting for Ged Grimes of Simple Minds in negotiating a music licensing agreement and performance royalty issues with Microsoft for Bard’s Tale IV game.
- Acting for the University of St Andrews in a Court of Session interdict regarding trade mark infringement and passing off.
- Representing Aberdeen Journals Limited in a challenge by various media outlets against a reporting restriction prohibiting the accused being named in a sexual offences case against children.
BTO Solicitors LLP
BTO Solicitors LLP’s practice is headed by Paul Motion, who has extensive experience of acting on defamation matters for both high-profile individuals and organisations. The team prides itself on its handling of urgent reputation advice and immediate action against the traditional press and social media outlets. It also has a strong focus on the music industry, advising record and production contracts in addition to artist management.
Other key lawyers:
- Advised Regular Music on a clearance issue for a touring theatrical production, in addition to dealing with a zero-notice promoter agreement to ensure correct apportionment of box office receipts and that settlement monies were distributed.
- Advised Stream Scotland upon and drafted a series of template agreements to be used in relation to podcast content providers.
- Acted for EmuBands in relation to a claim for royalties from an artist and a newly appointed artist manager.
The team at Dentons 'puts clients first and can genuinely provide support in all areas of law’. The practice, jointly led by Gareth Hale and Ross Nicol, focuses on reputation management and has been engaged for a number of high-profile defamation disputes in recent months. The practice is closely integrated with the international firm’s global media and entertainment practice, which delivers a full service offering in the film and television, gaming, e-sports, music, publishing and advertising sectors. Senior associate Sarah McCormick is ‘keen and committed’; she specialises in pre- and post-publication advice to broadcasters.
Other key lawyers:
‘The firm can genuinely provide support in all areas of law. It commands respect. It puts the clients first and isn’t guilty of the hard sell.’
‘Sarah McCormick is keen and committed.’
Edinburgh International Festival
STV Group plc/ STV Productions
National Theatre of Scotland
Lions Gate Entertainment
Discovery/ Scripps Networks Interactive
Turner Broadcasting System
Motorsport Network LLC
- Advising BBC Scotland in connection with its news reporting and other programming, including online content. This involves providing support direct to BBC journalists in connection with defamation, privacy and contempt of court.
- Advised Motorsport Network LLC on the intellectual property aspects of the sale of the “F1 Racing” print magazine business to Lifestyle Media House.
- Advising STV on the establishment of the Scottish Children’s Lottery, including on the licensing of software platforms required for the delivery of the lottery, online and via mobile apps.