The full-service media and entertainment offering at Brodies LLP brings together expertise in defamation and reputation management issues, IP work, commercial and data matters, real estate mandates as well as employment and immigration issues, acting for a wide-ranging client base of major broadcasters, media groups, social media networks and prominent individuals. Jointly leading the group is Christine O’Neill, who predominantly focuses on reputation management and defamation issues, most visibly for BBC Scotland. Steering the team alongside O’Neill is Martin Sloan, whose practice largely focuses on IP and commercial contract matters. Elevated to partner in July 2020, Niall McLean is increasingly active in reputation management issues.
Media and entertainment in Scotland
Christine O’Neill QC; Martin Sloan
Other key lawyers:
Andy Nolan; Niall McLean; Gareth Hale; Sarah McCormick
‘In the media and entertainment world, events don’t happen necessarily between 9 and 5. Brodies was reactive and present when we needed them – a Saturday evening call was responded to promptly.’
‘Niall McLean was available and on top of things as soon as we reached out. We had an issue that was evolving in the media and time was of essence.’
‘Brodies have advised us on a number of commercial contracts over the past 12 months as well as doing a considerable amount of work advising us on data protection matters/GDPR and also some IP matters. Their work is of an extremely high standard. Obviously, 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 (from a legal perspective). The firm’s continued work advising us on data protection issues has helped not only us but also some of our clients navigate their way through this potential minefield.’
‘For commercial contracts and data issues we use Grant Campbell. Can’t speak highly enough of Grant and his approach. His advice is pragmatic, commercial and very user-friendly. We have also been advised by Rachel Lawson on a number of data protection and consumer protection matters. Rachel is a very diligent lawyer and provides quick and efficient responses to questions/issues.’
‘Sarah McCormick researches matters in detail and this, combined with her excellent technical background, enables her to be be one step ahead.’
MG Alba (broadcaster of BBC Alba, in partnership with the BBC)
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society
National Theatre of Scotland
- Advising DC Thomson, a leading media group, on the disposal of its toys, puzzles and games and lifestyle gifts business Wild and Wolf.
- Advised Scotcomms Technology on several high-profile projects in the sports sector relating to the provision of electronic ticketing and data management services at sporting events.
- Retained by BBC Scotland to provide ‘on call’ legal advice to Scotland journalists and current affairs staff.
Burness Paull LLP is retained by a stellar roster of high-profile individuals and large media organisations on critical media and entertainment issues. In addition to its expertise in pre- and post-broadcasting programme legal advice, reporting restrictions and content rights management, the group also demonstrates ‘great expertise in the area of media litigation and dispute resolution’, most notably through its enviable track record in media rights enforcement programmes - a key area of expertise for Colin Hulme. Practice head Grant Stevenson primarily assists media clients with corporate, finance and commercial matters, whereas highly regarded director Kirsteen MacDonald focuses on sophisticated reputation management and defamation issues.
Other key lawyers:
Kirsteen MacDonald; Colin Hulme
‘The team are extremely knowledgeable. Of course, knowledgeable about the law and court procedures, but also about different employment sectors and practices and able to read across to the implications of our particular case.’
‘Great attitude towards diversity and sympathy for those affected by the case. Very efficient and personable and really willing to take the strain and effort off us as clients. Very helpful and a massive relief to all concerned.’
‘Great expertise in the area of media litigation and dispute resolution. Very effective and useful advice.’
‘Straight talking support from Kirsteen MacDonald. Effective advice, taking an approach which was not immediately obvious to us, but which resolved the issue at hand directly.’
STV Group plc
PRS for Music
Independent Television News Ltd
Hachette (part of the Lagardère global publishing group)
- Advising Take-Two and Rockstar Games on a copyright infringement matters against an individual based in Scotland.
- Advising STV on the acquisition of a minority stake in Two Cities Television Limited, a London-based television drama production company behind a number of critically-acclaimed television shows.
- Advising BBC Scotland on all media law matters including contempt, defamation, privacy and contentious copyright issues.
In the media and entertainment space, Anderson Strathern handles a wide array of instructions, most notably reputation management mandates, governance and constitutional issues, employment and HR-related matters, dispute resolution, data protection work, and IP mandates. Simon Brown, who leads the group, has a track record in the publishing sector, though he has branched out into the film, TV, advertising and music industries. IP specialist Douglas McLachlan, defamation and breach of privacy expert Katrina Lumsdaine and employment-focused lawyer Barry Nichol, who oversees the group’s theatre and performing arts initiative, are further names to note.
Other key lawyers:
Douglas McLachlan; Barry Nichol; Katrina Lumsdaine
The Great Tapestry of Scotland Charitable Trust
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
The Rangers Football Club Limited
Red Hot Chilli Pipers
Federation of Scottish Theatre
Penguin Random House
The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
Whittles Publishing Limited
The National Library of Scotland
Scottish Book Trust
- Acted for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) in the creation of remote jury centres at Odeon cinemas, to allow court jury trials to resume during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Acted for the Great Tapestry of Scotland Charitable Trust on all aspects of the transfer of the Great Tapestry of Scotland to Scottish Borders Council/Live Borders for permanent exhibition at a purpose-built new visitor centre in Galashiels.
- Advised Birlinn Limited, Scotland’s largest independent publishing house, on a range of matters, including options for film and television rights in books.
Led by Jamie Watt, Harper Macleod LLP's team handles a diverse range of issues affecting media and entertainment clients. It is particularly active in music law issues, sports broadcasting deals, commercial rights work and contracts in publishing, defamation cases, and IP enforcement. Notably, Tom Thomas advises public sector clients on film and television production and location agreements, while E-Ming Fong principally focuses on pre- and post-publication issues relating to reputation management. Other names to note are corporate lawyer Scott Kerr and David Kerr, who regularly represents media and entertainment clients in commercial litigation.
Other key lawyers:
E-Ming Fong; Tom Thomas
The Musicians Union
Plz Soccer Limited
Assembly Festival Limited
- Assisting Musicians Union members with legal matters, including a number of cross-border disputes.
- Advising Creative Scotland on the creation of an international film and television production studio in Edinburgh.
- Assisting members of Publishing Scotland with legal reviews of books, providing advice on defamation matters, and acting in disputes.
Thorntons Law LLP
Lesley Larg leads the team at Thorntons Law LLP, which demonstrates extensive experience across TV, sport, music, gaming and online media issues, and also advises software and analytic suppliers. It specialises in TV sponsorship, gambling, advertising, brand management, event management, social media and IP issues. In the music space, in particular, the group has a noteworthy track record, advising a range of labels, venues, promoters, performance artists and songwriters. Liam McMonagle regularly acts for lottery providers, museums and high-profile Scottish performers and recording artists.
Other key lawyers:
Alistair Lang; Liam McMonagle
‘Rare to have music expertise in a local firm.’
‘Lesley Larg – exceptional service. Always innovative ideas and solutions for any contractual issues.’
‘Liam McMonagle is excellent.’
‘Speedy, practical advice.’
‘Liam McMonagle is very approachable. He responds to queries quickly, with pragmatic business-focused advice.’
Postcode Lottery Limited
Mogwai (Scottish post-rock band)
Ged Grimes (Simple Minds)
Aberdeen Journals Limited
DF Concerts Limited (King Tut’s, T in the Park, TRNSMT)
Design Dundee Limited (trading as V&A Dundee)
St Andrews Links Trust
- Advised Postcode Lottery Limited on its three-year sponsorship of ‘Emmerdale’.
- Advised Design Dundee Limited (trading as V&A Dundee) on all aspects relating to the opening of the museum, including fielding interest from television and film production companies for the filming of television shows at the V&A Museum.
- Advised Ged Grimes (member of Simple Minds) on a deal under which he produced and developed music for a US video game, The Bard’s Tale IV.
BTO Solicitors LLP
BTO Solicitors LLP’s team is notably well-versed in the music industry in particular. Group head Paul Motion also handles urgent, time-sensitive defamation matters for high-profile individuals and organisations, acting against the traditional press and social media entities. In music, the team specialises in production and recording contracts, artist management issues, copyright licensing work and IP issues. Leveraging his background in the music industry, Jonathan Tait also deals with royalty claims and authorship disputes.
Other key lawyers:
Lynn Richmond; Jonathan Tait
‘Having the confidence to launch and back a media and entertainment team outside of London, in Scotland no less, and really making moves to engage, and be flexible at the grassroots level (specifically in the music sector), by being visible, approachable and helpful for the future stars of Scottish music.’
‘BTOs first entertainment lawyer Jonny has carved a real lane for himself and the company in Scotland, building a client list in what is essentially a new market.’
‘It was a very simple request for a solicitors letter I had and BTO Solicitors LLP dealt with it perfectly. There was little fuss or hold ups and it made the whole thing very straightforward and easy. Great service.’
‘Paul was fantastic, he took a real interest in my specific circumstances and dealt with my request incredibly quickly and efficiently.’
Cream Floats Ltd
Gearbox Digital Ltd
Pianodrome Community Interest Company
- Instructed by a client to review a claim for copyright control, outstanding royalties and control of a publishing catalogue and thus resolve longstanding issues with Warner Chappell, his record label and publishing company.
- Instructed by Alastair McCrae, a well-known figure in the music and broadcasting industry, to provide agreements for a new podcast platform, whilst fully protecting the client’s IP and ensuring a commercially attractive proposition to major recording artists.
- Instructed to provide a publishing agreement, a master production agreement and a master use sync license for Tamara MacDonald, a well-established Scottish artist who was setting up a song-writing and sync project involving notable female figures from the Scottish music industry.
The technology and media team at CMS, which is jointly led by Carina Healy and Alan Nelson, exhibits capabilities across the arts and culture, sports, broadcasting and social media sectors. Media buying agreements, event sponsorship agreements, venue hire agreements, data protection work, IP instructions and disputes are key areas of strength. Senior associate Kimberley Cross, who regularly works with high-profile clients, earns praise for her 'very measured approach'.
Carina Healy; Alan Nelson
Other key lawyers:
Kimberley Cross; Neeraj Thomas
‘We have a long-standing relationship with CMS who deal with all our legal requirements exclusively. Having seen the interaction with other legal firms on any contract negotiations reinforces the quality service they provide to our business.’
‘Understanding of our business and what we need. Alan Nelson and Kimberley Cross provide exceptional service.’
‘The Glasgow CMS team operate as exactly that – legal advisers that feel like part of the team. Every member of the team is highly responsive, considered in their advice and expert in their field.’
‘Kimberley Cross is outstanding. She is always very measured in her approach and offers sage advice and guidance. Kim is a very skilled listener and takes the time to understand client concerns. She is articulate and concise, and always practices with the highest level of integrity.’
Scottish Event Campus Limited
Facebook Technologies Limited
National Museums of Scotland
Gleneagles Hotel Ltd
St James Quarter
The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers
Caprice Holdings Limited
National Library of Scotland
- Advised Facebook Technologies on research agreements for Facebook’s augmented and virtual reality offerings.
- Working on a range of matters involving the SSE Hydro, including the venue hire agreement for SEC’s most significant event ever – the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference.
- Instructed on a ‘Love Island’ IP dispute, resulting in a successful interim interdict against an online seller marketing personalised bottles and suitcases infringing on ITV’s hugely popular Love Island brand.
Dentons’ media and entertainment practice, which is led by Ross Nicol, leverages the firm’s international network to advise clients across a range of media spaces. Key areas of focus include media-related disputes, regulatory issues, M&A transactions, data protection matters and IP issues.
‘The team have taken the time to get to know and understand our business and our team along with aligning themselves with our requirements and objectives. Despite being a third party provider, they now feel an extension of our internal team.’
‘They are always extremely professional, proactive and responsive with evident domain expertise and good broader industry knowledge and very pleasant indeed to work with.’
‘The team at Dentons goes above and beyond by not just providing sound legal advice, they also assist you with interpreting this and supporting you 24/7 if needed.’
Peters Fraser Dunlop Group Limited
Warner Music Group
Edinburgh International Festival
- Advised on the sale of Peters Fraser Dunlop Group Limited, one of the longest-established literary and talent agencies in the UK, to International Literary Properties UK Ltd. (ILP), a US owned literary management company.
- Advising BBC Scotland in connection with its news reporting and other programming, including online content. This includes providing support direct to BBC journalists in connection with defamation, privacy and contempt of court.
- Advising STV on an agreement with a major global content creation and distribution company upon the acquisition of programme content for the STV Player platform.
DLA Piper primarily advises international entertainment companies and large venues, for which it handles a variety of instructions. The offering in this area is spearheaded by John McKinlay, who is instructed in matters pertaining to commercial contracts, IT and outsourcing agreements, sponsorships and IP issues. Meanwhile, Alistair Drummond defends a number of media and entertainment clients in commercial litigation, namely in court actions and arbitration proceedings.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has been always very knowledgeable and professional. Always ready to provide sound legal advice and to help us with discussion with supplier’s lawyers to find a good compromise position on legal points.’
Lothian Amusements Limited