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With longstanding Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners top-tier rankings, and a raft of high-profile, blue-chip UK and international clients, we are widely considered one of the top legal advisers to the publishing industry and beyond.  Our clients include some of the UK’s top newspaper publishers, prestigious academic publishers, traditional book and e-book publishers and digital content providers.  Publishing in its broadest sense is a particular strength, but we advise much more widely across the media sector.

Publishing focus

We act for clients right across the media sector, with a particular focus on publishing:

  • Newspaper, magazine and book publishers, on their digital, legacy print and related businesses
  • Academic and professional publishers and content producers
  • Authors and literary estates
  • B2B data aggregators/providers

We also advise more widely across the media sector, acting for sports media rights holders, radio broadcasters, digital media service providers, broadcast production and rights companies, film studio developers and operators, digital and satellite TV and broadband companies and music publishers.

Our media lawyers understand how businesses in the industry work, and can provide the high quality, proactive and commercially astute advice they need across all business activity.

How we help

We have worked closely with all our media clients as they have navigated the transition to digital and positioned themselves for sustainable and profitable growth and as they now move to managing newer challenges and opportunities, in particular in the fields of technology including AI and, for some, adtech.  

Some of our recent work for publishing clients includes:

  • AI: advising quality content generators across the publishing and wider media spectrum on defending and commercialising their content and copyright interests in a big tech context, and most recently as AI operators have sought to scrape that content for use in training generative AI tools.
  • Commercial contract audit/review/negotiation: advising a leading UK publisher on a review of all its business-critical commercial contracts covering all aspects of its key operations and digital and print infrastructure; and advising a leading sports media rights holder on its broadcast agreements.
  • Other major content licence agreements: advising on news content licence agreements with big tech businesses.
  • Data protection/assisting with ICO investigations: advising on the ICO’s November 2023 threat of enforcement action in respect of cookie banners not offering “reject all” option for adtech cookies, with significant potential impact to revenue streams; also advising a leading B2C media platform on a major ICO investigation into its direct marketing practices.
  • Corporate/acquisitions and disposals: advising several media clients on strategic acquisitions, and also on a founder exit disposal in the media/edtech market.
  • Commercial/IP disputes: advising on defence of tech supplier allegations of significant non-compliance with licence restrictions.
  • IP asset review: advising a leading literary estate on a review of its heritage and archive assets.
  • Content risk management: advising several clients on an ongoing basis on pre-publication risk assessments; and on occasion on post-publication complaints and retraction disputes.

Wider sector client highlights include advising:

  • The shareholders of an independent, full-service media agency, operating in all major global markets.
  • A German multimedia conglomerate headquartered in Hamburg. It operates worldwide and owns more than 600 magazines, over 400 digital products and 50 radio and TV stations, as well as print shops, postal, distribution and marketing services.
  • A UAE-born media, advertising and property technology company.
  • A UK designer and developer of application software offering digital media monitoring, analysis, content development, daily reporting and automated alerts, serving customers in the UK and US.
  • A US investor on its joint venture with the University of Reading and subsequent c£250m investment to develop film studios in Berkshire.
  • A British broadcaster and telecommunications company that provides television and broadband Internet services, fixed line and mobile telephone services to consumers and businesses in the United Kingdom.

Our corporate, advisory, regulatory and disputes services

  • Corporate: Advising on acquisitions, disposals and joint ventures in support of clients’ objectives, ranging from strategic diversification to founder exits, and including competition law advice where applicable.
  • Commercial contracts: Advising on the full range of digital and legacy print supply chain agreements: reviewing, advising on and where appropriate negotiating these contracts with the benefit of significant expertise and experience.
  • Technology and AI: Technology is a particular focus, including dealings with big tech and generative AI businesses to regulate the unlicensed scraping of media businesses’ content, and the opportunities and threats this new market brings.  Conversely, we provide advice on the incorporation of AI technology into business operations and workflows.
  • Data protection and ad tech: Advising media businesses on data protection compliance hurdles, including for example the ICO’s recent enforcement position on (advertising) cookie banners, and ICO investigations if and when they arise.
  • Regulation: Advising on the challenges and opportunities presented by anticipated new legislation and regulation (and sometimes the lack of it), such as the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, and guidance and positioning from relevant regulators such as the Competition and Markets Authority, the Intellectual Property Office and the Information Commissioner’s Office.
  • Pre- and post-publication: Assisting clients in clearance exercises and content risk assessments prior to digital/print publication or broadcast, and where necessary advising on disputes arising post-publication.
  • Real estate: Acquisition, fit out and disposal of office space including HQ moves, consolidation of space and property management.
  • Finance: Advising on the full range of debt financing products in the media, technology and publishing sectors, from term loans and revolving credit facilities secured against all or the majority of a business’ assets to loans secured against specific asset classes (such as the rights to royalty income streams from music catalogues). We have an in-depth knowledge of the sectors and the particular sector complexities when accessing debt funding, which means we can provide a commercially pragmatic and client-focused service to help clients meet their funding needs.
  • Dispute Resolution: When legal challenges arise, our experienced litigators advise our media clients. From copyright and brand conflicts to content distribution disputes, we guide our clients through to resolutions that protect their core assets and interests.

How can we help?

Contact the team about services for businesses:

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