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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

IRELAND

Defamation, copyright and media consolidation have been core areas of focus over the past year, and instigators of market activity.


The rate of defamation claims has increased as courts show willingness to award significant damages in relation to defamatory content on social media.


Karyn Harty, Partner at McCann FitzGerald, said: “We continue to see growth in “big ticket” defamation claims and claims relating to online publication, with a marked increase in forum shopping as international plaintiffs consider Dublin as an alternative to London, which has substantially closed down defamation actions following the introduction in England & Wales of the serious harm threshold for such claims.  We are also seeing regulatory issues increasingly being a feature for media companies.”


Ms Harty added: “We are increasingly seeing the intersection of media with regulation.  Regulatory investigations impacting media clients have been a feature this year and we expect this to continue.”


Lawyers also highlight an increase in IP infringement claims as the area of reputation management gains importance.


Darryl Broderick, Partner at Ronan Daly Jermyn, explained: “We are receiving a lot of enquiries in the area of Reputation Management, particularly in

terms of publications on social media and advising on the defamation and IP infringement aspects of such publication.”


In relation to non-contentious work, lawyers say GDPR compliance has been an important for media businesses, particularly in relation to website advertising and cookies.


Ms Harty highlighted: “The Chief Justice has also just announced new procedures to govern the use of social media in court, which raise interesting issues regarding the interface between freedom of expression, access to justice and the risk of liability for contempt of court.”


Other developments include consolidation in the print sector. The Irish Times completed its acquisition of Cork-based Landmark Media in

July 2018.


The deal includes all of Landmark Media’s publishing and media interests. It is intended to create a “dynamic and vibrant business”

that would be able to “sustain itself for the longer term and where the respective media assets – national, regional and radio – will contribute significantly to the Irish media market”.



TIER 1

McCann FitzGeralds internal collaborative approach creates broad sector and service focus. The firm’s specialisation in media defence, commercial litigation, privacy and internet liability is driven by department head Karyn Harty. The team works on numerous defamation actions on behalf of long-standing clients Times Newspapers Ltd, Trinity Mirror and the Rehab Group.   


William Fry has a “strong reputation in the area of defamation”. Clients highlight the firm as one of Ireland’s leading media law practices. Head of defamation and privacy Fiona Barry is described by clients as “thoughtful, responsive and provides pragmatic advice”. Head of media Ken Casey advises on a range of issues including entertainment, social media and data protection. The firm acts for clients including UTV, BBC, Daily Mail Group and Sky.


TIER 2

Arthur Cox has an established media practice with cross-border capability. Working from its Belfast and London offices, the firm advises on music, film, television and advertising. Under the leadership of Colin Kavanagh the team advised Savage Productions on the financing and production of various film and television projects. The team also assisted RTÉ Networks with regulatory aspects of third party broadcasting.


A&L Goodbody’s media team operates under the management of the firm’s IP and technology division. Areas of specialisation include broadcast, entertainment, publishing and online media. Lawyers advise on regulation, content licensing and copyright disputes.


With a dedicated sports law division, Mason Hayes & Curran lawyers regularly advise broadcasters, sponsors, sports-governing bodies, investors and athletes. Related focus areas include reputation management, personality and image rights along with dispute resolution.  Working from a separate TMT division, media lawyers work with leading social media and search organisations on matters ranging from first round funding and strategic outsourcing partnerships to intellectual property management.


The media and entertainment division at Philip Lee specialises in film and television. Lawyers assist with feature films, animation series and television drama produced in Ireland. The team also advises on Ireland’s tax incentive for film and online distributed productions. Led by Jonathan Kelly, the practice is recognised among peers for its high visibility in sector-related cases.


Ronan Daly Jermyns areas of expertise include defamation, privacy and contempt of law. Lawyers acts for print, broadcast and digital media clients on media mergers, advertising, copyright and regulation.

The firm advises print, online and radio entities within the Landmark Media Group and several regional newspaper titles.


Primarily a defence practice, Simon McAleese is among the country’s leading libel specialists. The media team acts for newspapers, magazine and book publishers, radio stations and independent television production companies. The firm is also known for its work in the area of data protection, copyright and reputation management.    


TIER 3

Rachel Shanley manages the media division at Eugene F. Collins, which is known for its focus on traditional media content providers such as radio and television broadcasters. The team also provides pre-publication advice and litigates on behalf of clients in cases of defamation and privacy.


Johnsons is gaining recognition among peers, who highlight the firm for its increased visibility in media cases. Under the management of Paul Tweed, the team achieved record damages for plaintiff clients while representing national newspapers and publishers. The firm also works with clients from the music, sports and entertainment industries.


LK Shields lawyers have extensive experience advising on corporate transactions. The firm acted for Communicorp Group Limited, the largest radio operator in Ireland, in its acquisitions of foreign radio stations. In a separate case lawyers advised Alpha Newspaper Group with its acquisition of various newspapers. Other focus areas include film financing and production, music rights and defamation.


Lawyers at Matheson have in-depth experience advising on libel, contempt of court, freedom of expression and privacy laws. With a dedicated entertainment and media group, the firm is widely involved in contractual and financing arrangements for feature films and television programming. Head of division Ruth Hunter also advises on sector-related equity and tax-based arrangements.


TIER 4

Beauchamps Solicitors specialises in advertising, digital media and sponsorship. The team provides advice on content, online marketing, copyright protection as well as clearance advice on advertising copy. The practice is known for transactional work, sports law and product law.

 

The media division at DFMG Solicitors works within the firm’s intellectual property department, focussing on film finance, privacy and sponsorship and advertising agreements. Lawyers also advise on data protection and copyright.


Ranking and editorials

TIER 1

McCann FitzGerald

William Fry


TIER 2

Arthur Cox

A&L Goodbody

Mason Hayes & Curran

Philip Lee

Ronan Daly Jermyn

Simon McAleese  


TIER 3

Eugene F. Collins

Dillon Eustace

Hayes Solicitors

Johnsons  

LK Shields

Matheson


TIER 4

Beauchamps  

ByrneWallace

DFMG Solicitors

Eversheds Sutherland

Gleeson McGrath Baldwin

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