As part of my mediation practice, I specialise in resolving media, entertainment and brand licensing disputes. I have mediated disputes involving broadcasters, financiers, rights owners, event organisers, sportsmen, franchises, brands, licensors, distributors, rock bands, producers, directors and other creative talent, agencies, insurers and collection organisations. I am also an arbitrator and am on the International panel for the Independent Film & Television Alliance.
I have spent my career working in the creative sector, running media businesses, brokering finance, distribution and rights deals – both as a top ranked in-house legal counsel and as a former partner of an entertainment law firm. This can be very helpful for mediations, as:
- I understand how the various business models work, as well as the grey areas and tricks of the trade
- I regularly work alongside creative teams and understand the tensions that exist balancing creative and business needs
- I have worked on deals from both sides of the table, with UK and international partners alike and know how personal dynamics regularly come into play.
- I don’t come with any ‘partisan’ baggage
Typical industry disputes where mediation can make a real difference:
Projects can be protected, especially ones with limited shelf life, like programmes, films or commercials. Litigation often takes too long, jeopardising vital distribution deals or release/campaign windows.
Settlement deals can be kept private and, if concerns exist about possible satellite claims, non-precedential too. Deal terms can be structured more effectively and tax efficiently than a court could allow (e.g. reconfiguring rights, payments, cash-flow etc), while accounting provisions (i.e against audit claims) can often be released/substantially reduced.
Reputations or Relationships
As negotiations take place away from any media glare, broadcasters, fashion-houses, brand licensors and public figures can resolve their disputes without damaging projects or brands, or alienating talent or business partners.
With mediation, even convoluted disputes tend to get settled in a day. That can be key if there are deadlines or possible cashflow issues.
Mediation is much more effective than suing or enforcing abroad, especially for distributors, licensors and co-producers. Film and television distribution contracts often stipulate IFTA arbitration but these rarely take place outside L.A.
Claims for less than £200,000
Because of the high costs involved, litigation is rarely cost-effective.