Creative Businesses

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.

film

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:

Rights

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.

Royalties/Audits

Settlement deals can be kept private and, if concerns exist about possible satellite claims, non-precedential too.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.

Timing issues

With mediation, even convoluted disputes tend to get settled in a day. That can be key if there are deadlines or possible cashflow issues.

International Partners

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.