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Friday 9 December 2016

MH Commercial and Media

Brexit and the Film Industry: Threats and opportunities

As with most other industries, the potential impact of Brexit on the UK film industry is still very uncertain, with much depending on the type of Brexit which the UK government decides to implement. We set out below some of the key threats and opportunities that Brexit may present for the UK film industry.

Friday 20 November 2015

MH Media, Technology and IP

Defamation Act 2013 and ‘serious harm’ – has the bar been raised too high?

The High Court’s recent decision in Lachaux v Independent Print Ltd (and Ors) on the construction of the “serious harm” requirement in section 1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013 (“DA 2013”) provides welcome clarification on the new thresholds introduced by DA 2013 for defamation claims.

In Lachaux, the court had to decide, as a preliminary issue, whether certain articles published in the defendant’s newspapers had caused, or were likely to cause, serious harm to the applicant’s reputation within the meaning of section 1(1) of the DA 2013. The newspaper articles contained allegations made by the applicant’s ex wife about the applicant, which included claims of domestic abuse and kidnapping.

Consumer Rights Act 2015 – what you need to know

The main provisions of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“CRA”) came into force on 1 October 2015. The CRA consolidates and clarifies existing consumer rights legislation into one comprehensive source and makes certain changes that affect all businesses selling to consumers. The key aspects are:

Trade Marks: Community (EU) or National – Time for a review

Benefits of the Community trade mark (“CTM”) system

Since 1996, the CTM registration system has been widely used by businesses all around the world as a way of obtaining protection for their brands in the EU, and for good reason. For those that have or plan to have a presence in some or all of the Member States, the system offers excellent value for money. For the price of two or three national registrations, a brand owner can, via the CTM system, obtain protection in all the Member States of the EU (currently twenty-eight).

The Filmmakers’ Legal Guide

There is an infinite number of legal matters on which filmmakers seek advice. Nevertheless, certain questions frequently arise: is permission required to use material from a book? Does a contract have to be in writing? May classical music be used in the background of a scene? Does an interviewee need to sign a release? How do I protect my share of net profits if the film is successful? Marriott Harrison’s Head of Media, Tony Morris, has written the Filmmaker’s Legal Guide which addresses the practical legal needs of those producing, financing and exploiting all manner of audio-visual productions – features, documentaries, shorts, television programmes and other audio-visual content.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

MH Commercial and Media

Planned closure of the UK Patent Box to new entrants

The UK Patent Box enables companies to apply (subject to certain phasing-in rules) an effective 10% corporation tax rate to profits earned from its patented inventions. After initial announcements of a proposed tax break for intellectual property in 2009, the Patent Box finally came into effect on 1 April 2013. However, following a campaign led by Germany arguing that the UK scheme is unfairly competitive, the regime (which is still in its infancy) is already set on course to be transformed.

The Patent Box, in its current form, will be closed to companies that have not elected into it by June 2016, and will be closed altogether by June 2021. Companies could, therefore, still benefit from the tax break under the existing rules for a few more years, but must act swiftly if they have not yet elected into the scheme. Although a replacement scheme will likely be introduced, any new scheme will almost certainly have a narrower application.

Friday 24 October 2014

MH Media, Technology & IP

The chilling effect of the “right to be forgotten”

The ECJ’s recent judgment in the case of Google Spain SL and Google Inc v AEPD and Mario Costeja González raises serious concerns over the potentially censorial effect of the “right to be forgotten” on search engines.

The applicant, Mr. Gonzaléz, lodged a complaint against Google Spain and Google Inc. in relation to the appearance of an auction notice for his repossessed home among search results based on his name. The case eventually made its way to the ECJ, and in May 2014, the court delivered its ruling.

New Information in a Digital Age

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (“Regulations”) came into force on 13 June 2014 and replace the Distance Selling Regulations and the Doorstep Selling Regulations for consumer contracts made on or after that date. The Regulations implement the Consumer Rights Directive aimed at harmonising consumer protection rules across the EU increasing the information that consumers should receive from traders and the rights that consumers have as part of a consumer transaction. The Regulations also introduce the concept of digital content in consumer law.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

MH Media & Technology

Cyber Security and Online Datarooms

With the encouraging signs of economic recovery comes the inevitable increase in corporate finance activity including mergers and acquisitions, investments and IPOs.

Often the largest task in such activity is the due diligence undertaken by the buyer/ investor on the company it is looking to buy or invest in. To do this the ‘target’ gathers together commercially sensitive and other confidential information to be analysed by the buyer’s or investor’s advisers, help inform the terms of the purchase or investment and manage, primarily, the buyer’s or investor’s risk.

Over the past five years there has been a shift to online solutions for hosting this information, online data storage services such as OneDrive, Google Drive, DropBox etc or bespoke services, typically provided by an adviser, are replacing physical ‘datarooms’.

These services are more efficient and convenient, but the risk that this information can be compromised online is arguably higher than using a physical dataroom. Unauthorised access to confidential information can have a dramatic impact on a transaction and the target.

The Corporate Finance Faculty at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) recently published a short paper (Cyber Security in Corporate Finance) highlighting the cyber security risks associated with sharing such information online.

The paper highlights the various stages of a transaction, providing guidance and detailed considerations for businesses, and examples of security breaches and their consequences.

We briefly consider below the limited legal protections and some practical measures to reduce the risk of a breach.


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