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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

IRELAND

Lawyers say the pace of Ireland’s defamation law  reform is not reassuring, as November marked the fourth year of the Department of Justice’s review  of existing legislation launched in 2016.


The Society of Editors raised its concerns during a conference panel held in December to address libel reform. The Society highlighted the need for urgent reform to counter the threat to press freedom, and freedom of speech.


During a debate held on 11 January 2021, Lord Browne of Ladyton told the House of Lords: “There are the issues of media plurality, the use of private injunctions to try to stifle legislation and, more worryingly, continuous online abuse and paramilitary threats to journalists.


“Surely this is a shared responsibility between the UK Government and the devolved Administration.”


Northern Ireland has six times as many defamation claims as in other region in the UK.

In other developments, The League of Ireland and domestic public broadcaster RTÉ Sport collaborated in a deal to create a new OTT streaming service.


The deal includes provisions for streaming selected live Football Association of Ireland Cup matches on the platform from July 2020. Sales revenue will be distributed across all Premier Division clubs.  


Declan McBennett, RTÉ’s Head of Sport, said:

“In these uncertain times, when dedicated fans are unable to attend games in large numbers, we are delighted to bring the games directly to them via WatchLOI.”


The new WatchLOI service will cover more than

55 matches per season.

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 a range of clients, UK- and US-based. Over the past year, the firm has advised on contractual disputes and regulatory challenges, and has worked with clients including Buzzfeed, ITN and Twitter.


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.   


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”. The firm 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

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.


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.


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.  


TIER 3

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 televis


on projects. The team also assisted RTÉ Networks with regulatory aspects of third party broadcasting. 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.


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.

TIER 1

McCann FitzGerald

Ronan Daly Jermyn

Simon McAleese  

William Fry


TIER 2

A&L Goodbody

Dillon Eustace

Hayes Solicitors

Johnsons

Mason Hayes & Curran

Philip Lee


TIER 3

Arthur Cox

Eugene F. Collins

Gateley Tweed 

LK Shields

Meagher Solicitors

Matheson


TIER 4

Beauchamps  

ByrneWallace

DFMG Solicitors

Eversheds Sutherland

Flynn O'Driscoll  

Gleeson McGrath Baldwin


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