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New Media Law is a media, technology and entertainment law firm.

New Media Law provides legal advice in the creative industries - with a niche focus on digital media.
Our clients range from individuals to multi-nationals in tech, music, film, TV, games and media.

 

Key Sectors

 

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Technology

Technological advances in our everyday lives continually change the way that our clients do business.  With many years’ experience in the tech industry our lawyers advise on a wide range of issues in the sector (whether for IT suppliers or users).

 

Brand Management

Brand management is the process of maintaining, improving and upholding a brand so that the name is associated with positive results.  We can offer advice on all aspects of brands and intellectual property and we also offer specialist advice on trade mark law.

 

Film and TV

We give advice across various aspects of the Film and TV sectors, including film financing, production, post production or enforcement of IP, whether advising small independent film makers or major Hollywood producers and production companies. We advise on all aspects of programme creation and production, whether for small independent programme makers or national television broadcasters and production companies.

 

Publishing

With many years’ expertise working in the publishing industry we advise on all aspects of the publishing sector.  Our broad range of knowledge makes us well placed to advise not just on traditional magazine publishing matters, but also all aspects of digital publishing as well.

Music

Our music team offers expert advice to clients based on first hand experience in the music industry.  We advise established record companies, music publishers, managers and internationally recognised artists and songwriters, as well as those trying to break into the music industry.  With an ex VP of BMI in the USA on our team, who has many years expertise of international digital rights, we are well placed to advise new models on their strategy, rights acquisition and licensing.  We also represent music catalogues for sale and purchase. 

 

Start-ups

With expertise in both commercial and corporate law, we can help with the development and growth of new businesses. We also cover many of the legal issues that affect start-up businesses including; financial advice, intellectual property, dispute resolution, private client, real estate and employment law.

 

Retail

We are a commercial law firm in addition to a media law firm.  As such, we have expertise in the core areas relating to the retail sector. These include the following practice areas: licensing, dispute resolution, real estate, corporate / commercial, IP, employment and competition.

 

Software Development

We have an expert team that provides advice on the legal issues associated with software development.  Our team includes lawyers who specialise exclusively in technology, e-commerce and digital media as well as commercial lawyers with expertise in IT and Data Protection.

 

Advertising, Marketing & PR

As a firm that specialises in the creative industries, we offer tailored advice in Advertising, Marketing and PR.  We provide advice on everything from commercial agreements to digital media to film and television to internet and IPTV.

 

 

Private Client

We cover the entire range of "Private Client law" from simple to complex wills (including varying Wills after death by "Deeds of Variation"), estate and wealth planning and in particular ways to mitigate inheritance tax on death; advice on and the setting up of lifetime Settlements and Trusts in Wills;  all forms of Probate and Letters of Administration on Intestacy (where there is no Will); cross-border matters and domicile and residence issues;  Court of Protection and Public Guardianship matters to include the preparation of Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Mediation

If you are looking for experts to help you resolve a dispute that has reached deadlock new media law can provide a range of mediation services.  Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).  It is a flexible and confidential process in which a trained neutral actively assists the parties to achieve a negotiated agreement of a dispute, with the parties in ultimate control of the decision to settle and its terms.

 
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Practice Areas

 

Competition law 

We have local and international experience in competition law and provide insight and solutions to the full range of our clients' competition and sector regulatory needs - in the UK, EU and beyond.  A business does not need to have market power for competition law to be relevant to its activities.

 

Corporate and Commercial

We offer advice on all aspects of commercial and corporate law, specialising in both online and offline agreements.  We assist our clients in a wide range of matters including; mergers and acquisitions, control approval, antitrust disputes and litigation, competition risk management and dealing with market and sector investigation.

 

 

Data Protection and Privacy

Our Data Protection practice areas advises on all aspects of data protection and privacy.  Our team possesses expert knowledge across the law and information technology, as well as e-commerce.  We have experience in handling corporate and commercial transactions with an intellectual property element and can therefore offer advice to clients on how best to protect their own intellectual property whilst being compliant with UK and EU data protection regulations. 

 

Defamation and Reputation Management

We provide expert advice on all aspects of defamation.  We advise on both 'pre-event' and 'post-event' defamation issues, regularly advising international book and magazine publishers as to the potential issues pre-publication.

 

Digital Media

We offer expert advice on all aspects of digital and interactive media.  We advise clients throughout all stages of the process, including the creation, commissioning and delivery of digital content, from online music sites and mobile phone content providers, to computer games and app developers.

 

Dispute Resolution and Litigation

Our dispute resolution, litigation and arbitration team offers effective and commercially based solutions to our clients to help solve commercial disputes.  We recognise litigation is a last resort for clients and we therefore also advise our clients on alternative types of dispute resolution such as arbitration and mediation where this could yield a more effective result for our clients.

 

Employment

We provide comprehensive advice and support on a full range of employment related matters, both in relation to disputes and corporate governance. We advise clients on everything from employment contracts, business restructuring and senior appointments to redundancies, terminations and dealing with employment related disputes. We also provide advice on human resources.

 

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Intellectual Property

Our team offers advice on all aspects of intellectual property ("IP"), notably copyright, designs and trade marks.  Understanding IP is essential to the commercial success of a company so we regularly perform IP audits and advise clients on how best to exploit and protect their IP. 

 

Licensing

We provide advice on all aspects of national and international online licensing, notably in respect of music publishing (as well as in the use of master recordings and films).  We have expertise in initiating and designing, then negotiating and finalising, digital rights licences in the US and across the EU.

 

Media Finance

We regularly offer expert advice upon the financial aspects of digital distribution agreements (music, TV, film, and podcasting), e-commerce websites, mobile phone content agreements, internet service provider ("ISP") agreements, satellite broadcast agreements and digital rights management systems.

Real Estate

We provide expert advice on all aspects of real property law in England and Wales.  This includes advice on property transactions (notably the sale and purchase of residential and commercial properties, as well as residential and commercial leaseholds) and specialist advice on issues such as land development, and rights to light.  

Trusts and Probate

We advise clients across a range of wills and probate issues, from estate administration to lasting powers of attorney and inheritance law. We also offer bespoke legal advice across a wide range of inheritance, intestacy trusts and tax issues.

Our People

Selected Clients

Past and Present – we represent both small and large businesses

 
 

Westminster Media Forum Keynote Seminar:

Next steps for the UK music industry - monetisation, policy challenges and the future of live

12 July 2016

Ian Penman, Founding Partner

  

Ian Penman, Westminster Media Forum Keynote Seminar  

Ian Penman, Westminster Media Forum Keynote Seminar

 

Ian Penman speaking at Westminster Media Forum discussing how Blockchain can transform the complex world of music copyright and enable creatives to monetise their artistic endeavours  by harnessing the power of Blockchain technology.

Ian is a founding partner at New Media Law LLP and a regularly speaks at conferences and industry seminars on developments in digital media and entertainment. 

Please contact us if you would like to discuss the commercial implications of a Blockchain to your business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brexit: Briefing Note

29 June 2016

Duncan Gillespie, Consultant Solicitor

 

The vote of the UK electorate on 23 June to leave the European Union will have far-reaching economic, political and legal repercussions for both the UK and Europe as a whole.

Although there has been some economic and political reaction already, it seems clear that this process is only in its infancy and, as lawyers, we offer no predictions as to how matters will play out in this regard.  At this stage, all that can be said with certainty is that we are in for some very interesting times.

It is  clear however that there are likely to be significant changes to the legal regime under which businesses in the UK operate and to which they will need to adapt in the near future.

Many of these changes will depend upon the outcome of the negotiations to be undertaken between the UK and the continuing EU Member States (“C-EU”) and so cannot be predicted in detail at this stage.

What we can be foreseen however, is the broad outline which the Brexit process will take under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (“TEU”) and the areas of law most likely to be affected by Brexit.

In this briefing, we set out: (i) the likely chronology of the Article 50 process; and (ii) a high level summary of the areas of law most likely to be affected and what these effects might be.

 

The withdrawal process under Article 50 TEU

Article 50(1) provides simply that:

"Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements."

All that is required to invoke Article 50 is that a Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention".

Probably deliberately (in order not to encourage Member States to withdraw) Article 50 does not set out any detailed procedural machinery for withdrawal.

Article 50(2) simply states that, on receipt of the “resignation letter” referred to above:

“In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union [emphasis added]. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament."

The underlined portion of the above quote is the most significant in the context of the current discussion of the nature of any “deal” which the UK can expect in any withdrawal “negotiation”.

Put simply, Article 50 places no onus on the C-EU to negotiate any deal at all with respect to future relations with the UK.

All that Article 50 requires is that the C-EU negotiate an agreement setting out arrangements for the Member State’s withdrawal from the EU.  That withdrawal agreement should “take into account” the likely shape of the withdrawing Member State’s future relations with the EU, but an agreement on the nature of the future relationship is not, as a matter of law, a precondition for the conclusion of the withdrawal agreement.

This is borne out by Article 50(3) which states that the EU Treaties shall cease to apply to the withdrawing State on the entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or failing that within 2 years of the resignation of the State concerned, unless the Council decides unanimously to extend the period.

By Article 50(4), from the date of its resignation, the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in any discussions of the Council or in any decisions concerning it.

It is not, therefore, a foregone conclusion that the UK will obtain any “deal” in terms of its continued relations with the EU other than one covering the mundane practicalities of withdrawal itself – e.g. the employment position of UK nationals employed by the EU institutions, etc.

In such a scenario, the UK’s position vis à vis the C-EU would be little different to that of any other member of the World Trade Organisation (“WTO”), with all the restrictions on travel and trade that this would entail.[1]

On the other hand, given the multi-layered inter-dependence that exists between the UK and the EU, not least in relation to the number of EU nationals living in the UK and of UK nationals living in other EU countries, there would seem to be a very strong mutual interest in negotiating an enhanced level of partnership between the UK and the C-EU that reflects this inter-connectedness.

One option would therefore be for the UK to join the European Economic Area (“EEA”) – this is sometimes referred to as the “Norway Model”.  Membership of the EEA gives access to the EU single market but requires adherence to EU rules (including those on free movement of workers), with only very limited ability to shape those rules.  EEA States must contribute to the EU budget as their “entry fee” to the EU single market.  The EEA model may therefore be politically unpalatable to those who voted for the “leave” side in the referendum.

Another option would be to seek a bi-lateral relationship with the EU which offers partial access to the single market along the lines of that concluded between the EU and Switzerland.  However, such agreements are complex and time-consuming to negotiate and, again, in practice involve substantial adherence to many aspects of EU law.

A still further option would be for the UK to join the EU customs area (as Turkey has done) which offers partial access to the single market but without free movement rights.

Whatever option is pursued, EU law is likely to remain applicable in the UK for some time at least.  This is because although Article 50(3) states that the EU Treaties shall cease to apply to an EU Member State following its withdrawal, that does not mean that EU law will cease to apply within that country.  Many aspects of EU law have been incorporated into domestic UK law by the European Communities Act 1972 and subsequent legislation so that, for example, the controversial (in some circles) Working Time Directive now exists in UK law independently of its origins as an EU legislative instrument.  Specific UK legislation would be required to reverse that position.[2]

We set out below some of the principal areas of law that will be affected by Brexit.

Possible effect of Brexit on specific areas of law

 

FINANCIAL SERVICES

This of course, an area of fundamental importance for the UK economy.  The EU Treaties currently provide for the “passporting” of financial services which means that a financial services institution domiciled in one Member State may supply its services in all other Member States.  Alternative arrangements for access to the market by financial services institutions based in the UK would therefore need to be made if these institutions are to continue to be able to supply services in the C-EU.

 

EMPLOYMENT LAW

Many aspects of UK employment law derive from EU law and, as stated above, have been incorporated into national law.  Specific UK legislation would be required to undo this.  The position of workers from other EU Member States resident in the UK and vice versa will no doubt be dealt with in the withdrawal agreement concluded between the UK and the EU.

 

TAX

Direct (as opposed to indirect) taxation is not currently harmonised at EU level and therefore remains within the competence of the individual Member States – though the Commission is currently attempting to use the lever of State aid law to attack what it sees as artificial intra-company arrangements by which multi-national (often American) companies seek to account for revenues in Member States with low rates of corporation tax such as Ireland or Luxembourg and therefore reduce their tax bill.  This will be largely un-affected by Brexit.

 

COMPETITION LAW

UK competition law, in the form of the Competition Act 1998, is modelled on EU competition law and this is unlikely to change.  However, the current specific requirement that UK Courts and regulatory bodies follow the relevant judgments of the European Courts may be removed which could lead to a divergence between the legal approaches under UK and EU competition law going forward.

In addition, there may be changes in the domain of merger control where currently larger mergers “with a Community dimension” are reviewed by the European Commission under the EU Merger Regulation which provides a one stop shop merger clearance covering all 28 Member States.  The benefit of this “one stop shop” is likely to be lost with the result that parallel merger control proceedings (potentially with divergent results) in the UK and EU will become more common.

If, as is to be hoped, the UK negotiates some form of access to the EU single market, it seems likely that EU State aid law (or a domestic variant closely modelled on it) will continue to apply.

It should of course also be noted that EU competition law applies to anti-competitive conduct that potentially affects trade between EU Member States, irrespective of where the companies concerned are based.  In fact, the criticism has been levelled against the EU in the past, particularly by the US authorities, that it disproportionately penalises foreign companies.  If true, there seems no reason for this to change post-Brexit.

 

DATA PROTECTION

Although the UK Data Protection Acts of 1998 and 2003 derive from EU Directives, they are self-sufficient pieces of UK legislation and will not be affected by Brexit unless they are repealed by the UK Parliament.  Nevertheless, in time one could foresee divergence between data privacy standards in the UK and those in the C-EU which may affect the ability of companies to transfer personal data between the UK and C-EU.

 

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

There is a significant potential impact in this area as many intellectual property rights, such as EU Trade Marks and design rights are granted across the EU. 

Given the complexity and level of detail on this point, we have prepared a separate briefing on it.

 

COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS

It would seem unlikely that Brexit itself would affect the validity of commercial contracts, except in some unusual situations in which contractual performance depends upon the status of one or other of the parties as an EU national.  However, it cannot be excluded that Brexit will trigger contractual provisions that terminate, or at least render more difficult the performance of, contracts but that would depend upon the drafting of the agreement in question.

A related issue is the jurisdiction of Courts and the mutual enforcement of judgements.  Within the EU, this is covered by the Brussels Convention, to which the UK is a party but will cease to be on Brexit.  The Lugano Convention provides for similar rules as between the EU and EFTA Member States.  The UK will probably need to accede to this convention on Brexit.

Arrangements will also be required to ensure the recognition of international arbitration awards and decisions by insolvency authorities.

Finally, as a Member of the EU, the UK benefits from trade agreements negotiated by the EU on behalf of its Member States with over 50 other countries around the world.  Following Brexit, the UK will no longer benefit automatically from these deals and will have to negotiate replacements (or at least obtain the agreement of the counterparties that the UK will continue to be given the benefit of these deals).

 

ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE CHANGE LAW

As with other areas of law, much UK law on, for example, emissions reduction and water quality derives from EU Directives.  Without specific regulation repealing these rules, they will remain in place though divergence with EU norms may emerge over time if the UK fails to transpose Directives issued by the EU in future into national law.  Such divergence may put single market access at risk.

 

UTILITY REGULATION

Much of the UK legislation governing the organisation and economic regulation of the energy, tele-communications and water sectors is derived from EU legislation (which in turn was in many cases inspired by the UK’s pioneering privatisation of those industries).  As before, Brexit will not automatically dis-apply domestic law derived from EU principles but future divergence is possible, threatening single market access by UK firms.

On a more practical note, with its increasing reliance on electricity generated from intermittently available renewable sources, the UK currently imports significant quantities of (nuclear generated) electricity over the interconnector with France.  Arrangements will need to be put in place to ensure energy security going forward. 

However, the continued willingness of State-owned Électricité de France to invest the many billions of euros that will be required to develop the planned Hinckley Point C reactor must now be in doubt.

 

We intend to update our guidance in this area as the implications of Brexit become clearer.  For any queries please contact us.
 

 

 

 

 

Duncan Gillespie

Consultant Solicitor

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7291 1670

Email: duncan.gillespie@newmedialaw.biz

 

 

[1] As an aside, we note that Article 50(5) provides that where a Member State that has withdrawn from the EU requests re-admission, it must go through the full accession process in the same way as, for example, Turkey (which has been a candidate State for accession for many years).

[2] For simplicity we refer here to “UK legislation” but the devolution settlements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland confer, to varying degrees, legislative competence on the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies.  It is quite possible, indeed likely given the results of the referendum in Scotland and Northern Ireland, that the respective devolved administrations will seek to maintain in force as much EU-derived legislation as possible, potentially in the case of Scotland at least to support an EU accession process as an independent country.

 

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