We know there’s an art to doing business.
For over 20 years, Media Arts Lawyers has given practical and commercial legal advice to clients throughout the entertainment, media, and creative industries. Acting for high-profile talent and multinational companies alongside emerging and fledgling projects, we set the benchmark for creatively strategic legal solutions – no matter the deal size. Our combined experience means that we have the skill, deep networks, lateral thinking, and foresight to achieve the best commercial outcomes for our clients. We don’t just do the paperwork, we think creatively to develop strategic solutions and structure intelligent deals.
WE ARE HIRINGToday
We are looking for an experienced commercial IP lawyer to join our Melbourne office! This is an exciting role for a high performing, innovative and driven individual who is looking to work with the best in Australia’s entertainment industry.
If you know someone who should apply, link them to our full job ad at
Q Awards 20182 days ago
The shortlist for the UK’s annual music ‘Q Awards’, has been announced! Congratulations to our clients Amy Shark and Amyl and The Sniffers who have both been nominated for the award for ‘Q Breakthrough Act’ of 2018.
The award ceremony will take place on 17 October 2018 at the Roundhouse. For a full list of nominees, click here
We were astounded by the level of up and coming talent at BigSound earlier this month. Special shout out to our client Emerson Snowe, the stage moniker of Brisbane songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jarrod Mahon, who won Levi’s $25,000.00 Music Prize! The Levi Music Prize is the biggest annual prize pool in Australia to support emerging artists.
He joins our other clients Stella Donnelly and Hatchie as recipients of this award. Read more here
Youtubers21 days ago
Media Arts Lawyer’s senior lawyer Yasmin Naghavi will be speaking on the ‘Business of Online Video’ panel at VidCon in Melbourne this Sunday 2 September 2018 at 4pm. Yasmin will join the conversation about how online creators can turn their content into a viable business, with invaluable advice on all facets of the industry from choosing a business structure to protecting intellectual property assets.
To view the full agenda and for ticket information, visit
Going Global NZ27 days ago
Our very own Stephen King has been announced as one of the panel speakers for the 2018 NZ Going Global Music Summit – one of NZ’s largest indie music conferences aimed at connecting artists, managers, producers and the like to discuss how NZ talent can break out in the international market. Stephen will be speaking on the Going Global Australia panel on Friday 31 August 2018, taking place at the renowned Roundhead Studios in Auckland.
For full details and tickets, see the link below
AACTA award nomineeLast month
Congratulations to our client Tony Prescott (director and co-writer), whose feature film ‘The Pretend One’ has been nominated for the inaugural AACTA award for Best Indie Film. The 8th AACTA awards ceremony will take place in December this year, shining a spotlight on the achievements of directors, producers, writers and performers in the Australian film and screen industry.
For a full list of nominated feature films, click here
AIR AWARDS 2018Last month
The Australian Independent Record Labels Association showcases and pays tribute to the work of independent labels and artists in Australia. Congratulations to our clients who are winners in the following categories, listed in no particular order
BEST INDEPENDENT LABEL
BEST INDEPENDENT ARTIST
BEST INDEPENDENT ALBUM OR EP (JOINT WINNERS)
Methyl Ethel – ‘Everything is Forgotten’
The Jungle Giants – ‘Quiet Ferocity’
For a full list of nominees, click here air.org.au
Fake it til you make itLast month
Aldi has again been given the all clear for mimicking major brands in their stores. Israel beauty company Moroccanoil Israel Ltd lost on appeal to the Full Court of the Federal Court when they claimed ALDI was infringing trade mark, passing off, and misleading and deceiving consumers with their similarly branded hair products. The court found that there was ‘no real, tangible danger’ that ALDI’s budget, no-brand products could be confused with luxury brands. This case follows the decision against US snack food giant Frito-Lay, who unsuccessfully tried to sue ALDI for their knock off Twisties, ‘Cheezy Twists’ back in 2001.
Read more at:
Shark WeekLast month
Congratulations to our client Amy Shark whose debut album ‘Love Monster’ hit #1 on the ARIA Album Charts over the weekend. ‘Love Monster’ has also reached the top 10 in US, Canada, and a further 27 territories around the globe.
For more on Shark’s success, click here
Some of the most influential people in the international independent music industry will come together this Thursday and Friday for the annual Indie-Con Australia conference. Our very own David Vodicka, Julian Hewitt and Maria Amato will be moderating and joining panel discussions about issues and opportunities facing the independent music sector in 2018, covering topics such as technology and streaming, copyright and data protection as well as business dynamics and how the independent music sector fits in the global market. Tickets are still available, so don’t miss your chance to join the conversation and be a part of Australia’s vibrant indie music scene.
Interesting Article2 months ago
What is the value of a creative work to a business’ branding and marketing in the twenty-first century? Our very own Yasmin Naghavi weighs in on the debate, suggesting that the era of artists working for ‘exposure’ is coming to an end as businesses begin to treat creative works and designs as important assets.
Read the full article here
Helpmann awards2 months ago
Good luck tonight to our clients Gang of Youths and Gotye who are both nominated for the Helpmann for best Australian Contemporary Concert! The Helpmann awards celebrate artistic achievement in live performance, with a full list of nominees located here
UPDATE: Congratulations to Gotye for winning Best Australian Contemporary Concert for ‘Gotye presents a tribute to Jean-Jacques Perrey’!
Ledger Awards 20182 months ago
On Friday night we had the pleasure of presenting two of the ‘Silver Ledgers’ at the The Ledger Awards 2018 – a night dedicated to acknowledging excellence in Australian comics and graphic novels. We were overwhelmed by the talent in the room and had a great time celebrating the contributions of many dedicated individuals to the Australian industry.
For a full list of winners, click here ledgerawards.org
NZ Office Relocation2 months ago
With a new financial year comes new beginnings, and we are excited to announce that we have moved our Auckland office! You can find us at Office 4, Level 5, 48-52 Wyndham Street, Auckland 1010, New Zealand.
Rethinking Syncing3 months ago
Looking for something to do in Melbourne next Wednesday evening? Join our very own Sarah Woolcott at Screen Producers Australia’s Two-Day Workshop ‘Screen Business Essentials’ presented in association with AFTRS. Sarah will be presenting an invaluable session for producers about the world of sync and developments around licensing music for film and television in the twenty-first century.
See further details and secure your tickets here
News3 months ago
Revolutionary Changes to Privacy Law: Today, 25 May 2018, marks the commencement of the EU General Data Protection Regulation – a law pioneering stronger protections around how businesses collect, use and store personal data. These regulations are far-reaching and apply to any business that controls or processes the data of EU citizens.
Logie Awards2 months ago
Congratulations to our client Tony Thorne, director of ‘Little J and Big Cuz’ – an animated kids program on NITV that was awarded the 2018 Logie for ‘Most Outstanding Children’s Program’. Little J and Big Cuz is the first animated program targeted toward Indigenous Australian audiences and follows the lives of two Indigenous children discovering their culture, community and country.
Find out more about this Logie-winning show here:
Indie Comic Con Strikes Back3 months ago
Media Arts Lawyers are proud to continue as an official sponsor of Indie Comic Con 2018 – a celebration of local and independent comic book artists, writers and creators in Melbourne. After a successful debut year in 2017, Indie Comic Con is back again to marvel attendees with a showcase of comics, zines and graphic novels, some of which you won’t find exhibited on the mainstream comic circuit!
8 December 2018
Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre
For updates, check out Indie Comic Con 2018 event on Facebook.
Interesting Article3 months ago
Looking for some light reading over the long weekend? Check out Forbes’ interview with our client Lyle Hysen, founder of NYC sync house Bank Robber Music, as he discusses developments around licensing indie music for television and film in the twenty-first century.
Full article available here https://www.forbes.com/sites/dannyross1/2018/05/21/how-netflix-hulu-tvs-golden-age-impacts-music/#763e138b9328forbes.com
Tax Time3 months ago
EOFY is fast approaching and its time to get your finances in order! Our very own Marcus Walkom will be hosting APRA AMCOS and Music Victoria’s event ‘Bands, Budgets and Balancing the Books’ – a practical session aimed at helping you manage the financial side of your music business.
If you’re an artist, manager or small music business owner and are in Melbourne next Tuesday 12 June, make sure to secure your spot at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/mv-x-apra-amcos-present-bands-budgets-and-balancing-the-books-tickets-45673133572eventbrite.com.au
We advise some of the industry's biggest & brightest.
Our clients include Grammy and ARIA award winning musicians, Golden Lion award winning creative agencies, AACTA and Logie awarded television and film talent, international fashion houses, APRA|AMCOS winning composers, Emmy awarded production companies, media and entertainment companies, streaming services and technology platforms, labels, celebrity chefs, publishers, national festivals and local events, designers, authors, visual artists, influencers, content creators, venues, illustrators, top-rating radio presenters, managers, agents and industry bodies.
Courtney Barnett, Flume, Gotye, Tame Impala, Kylie Minogue, AB Original, Amy Shark, Matt Preston, Isa Guha, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Em Rusciano, The Design Files, VICE, Seventh Street Media, Cricket Australia, Future Classic, Jacky Winter Group, Josephmark, Christopher Doyle & Co, Peking Duk, Vance Joy, Dune Rats, Ruel, Downtown Music Publishing, Native Tongue, Darkroom, Craig & Karl, Benja Harney, Cord & Berg, Entropico, Daniel Johns, Aldous Harding, Ian Strange, Nadia Hernandez, Anya Brock, Kim Kim Kim, Steaphan Paton, Gang of Youths, Hilltop Hoods, Scott Pickett, Projects of Imagination, Ellery, Matt Corby, McClymonts, Foster Type, Tristan Kerr, Bounce Patrol, Mighty Car Mods, Onelove, RUFUS DU SOL, Stella Donnelly, Chloe Ting, Simone Giertz, The Scranline, Wicked Witch, Beyond the Valley, Groovin’ The Moo, South Island Wine & Food Festival, Rhythm & Alps, Bolster, Planet Broadcasting, NB Content, Oh Yeah Wow, Projucer, Client Liaison, The Smith Street Band, The Teskey Brothers, The Black Seeds, Buxtock, Select Music, 123 Agency, Styalz Fuego, Pieater, AIR, IMNZ, MMF New Zealand, and many others!
We've got the industry covered.
Our combined experience means that we have the skill, deep networks, lateral thinking, and foresight to achieve the best commercial outcomes for our clients. We don’t just do the paperwork, we think creatively to develop strategic solutions and structure intelligent deals.
We advise clients on all commercial matters from establishing the most appropriate legal structure to sales and acquisitions of businesses and assets. During the last five years, our firm has been instrumental in structuring and negotiating over $150 million in commercial transactions. Additionally, we guide clients through stakeholder and governance issues, investments and fundraising, corporations and partnership legislation, and act for clients in business affairs and board advisory roles.
From exclusive publication rights for celebrity announcements, to brand endorsement deals, to takedown notices, we understand how to protect and extract the most value from image and brand rights. We advise on endorsements and sponsorships, advertising standards and marketing practices, celebrity appearances and publicity agreements, events and touring agreements, image use and infringement, management agreements, and trademarks.
A highly technical area of law, we can help you protect your brand and personal reputation. We provide advice, issue concerns notices, letters of demand, and cease and desist notices, as well as litigation. We represent clients in respect of various reputational matters including defamation (both pre- and post-publication), passing off, misleading and deceptive conduct, injurious falsehood, misuse of personal image, and falsely implying an endorsement or sponsorship.
We understand what goes into running and working with design and creative industries. We act for leading graphic and motion design firms, agencies, creative directors, photographers, artisan craftspeople and makers, painters, muralists, typographers, sculptors, and industry organisations. We assist clients with all commercial matters including services agreements, commissioning agreements, licensing and assignment of copyright, gallery-artist relationships, exhibitions and touring, employment and freelancing, releases, restraints and restrictions, non-disclosure agreements, copyright infringement, moral rights, value and charge-out rate advice, disputes, and everything else in between.
From standalone websites and apps to gaming engines, we assist clients throughout all stages from idea inception to MVP to product launch to sales/acquisitions. We advise local and international companies in relation to website terms and conditions, software as a service agreements, online game of chance competition rules, Spam and Privacy Act compliance, and negotiating with collecting societies. In addition, we assist clients with funding applications, music and third party copyright clearances, cybersquatting, employment, contractor, and developer agreements, R&D advice, non-disclosure agreements, engine licences, and commercialisation of creative projects.
We don’t just advise on the legal position in relation to HR matters but also the commercial realities of what it is to employ/contract or be employed in Australia or New Zealand. We draft and negotiate employment agreements and exits for companies, high-level executives at multinational entertainment, talent, fashion, and design companies and regularly attend Fair Work Commission conciliations. We also provide industry-specific advice in relation to workplace entitlements, intellectual property, confidentiality, employment restraints, as well as contractor vs employee hiring.
We represent fashion houses that show at MBAFW, NYFW, and Paris Fashion Week and understand how and when the Copyright/Designs Act overlap occurs and what steps you need to take to exploit your designs and copyrights and protect them from infringement. We also represent clients in respect of manufacturing and fabrication agreements, distribution and supply agreements (exclusive and non-exclusive) with Australian and global retail and online outlets, licensing agreements, agency agreements, employment matters, outworkers agreements and advice, labelling, customs seizure, copycat or counterfeit merchandise, and all other related matters.
There is a huge amount of risk involved when putting on a live event of any sort. We have an extensive client base of promoters, talent, booking agents, and venues. Having regularly acted for clients from all sides of the business, we have deep experience in the nuances of live performances and promoting.
We have an extensive hospitality client list, including licensed venues, restaurants and cafes, celebrity chefs, and some of the most influential hospitality interior designers and architects. Our work includes advising on purchase and sale of businesses, employment, leasing, property purchase, venue fit-outs, television and event appearances, book and other publishing deals, sponsorships and endorsements, and other related matters.
Intellectual property is the backbone of our practice. Whether it be creation, ownership, registration, transfer, licensing or protection of intellectual property (or ideas), we give our clients the assistance they need to protect or assert their intellectual property rights in Australia, New Zealand and throughout the world. Alongside representing our clients in respect of copyright matters, we handle some of the biggest trade mark portfolios in Australia and can assist with trade mark and designs searches, applications, adverse reports, oppositions, registrations and certifications.
We have extensive experience litigating matters in all major Australian courts and tribunals relevant to our areas of practice. We bring a practical and commercial approach to dispute resolution.
Our core business developed within the music industry, so we can assist with everything from deal negotiation to dispute resolution. Our clients include musicians, bands, songwriters, composers, producers, festivals, agents, managers, labels, publishers, distributors, streaming services, and content providers.
Our clients often need legal assistance with matters outside of the entertainment industry. For many people, buying real estate will be their most significant investment. Our property lawyers are not only highly experienced in conveyancing, but are also across all areas of property law, contract law and other areas of the law which can be relevant to the sale, purchase or lease of commercial and/or residential property. In addition, we regularly advise and prepare paperwork in relation to estate matters (wills, probate, estate planning) and powers of attorney.
We represent radio talent and producers as well as radio stations and streaming services. We advise in relation to employment and contractor agreements, codes of practice and conduct, and other matters relating to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, including representing clients in respect of ACMA investigations and submissions.
Thanks in part to streaming, content in shortform, longform, and limited format is being created and consumed more than ever before. We advise clients both in front of and behind the camera as well as all the other people that support the creation or distribution of content for both digital and terrestrial broadcast and communications. Our clients include streaming services, TV hosts, actors, media personalities, talent management entities, production companies, directors, writers, animators, composers, and distributors. Our services include advising on talent performers and key-creatives’ rights, agreements and releases, television format protection, script option rights agreements, classifications, and pre-broadcast defamation and explicit content review and advice.
We represent journalists, publishers, and authors of books (fiction and non-fiction), magazines, columns, blogs, articles (longform and shortform) and other online and in-print publications in respect of rights, advances, royalties and how works get used and exploited in other mediums. We regularly advise clients in respect of publishing deals, co-author agreements, ghostwriters, literary agents, copyright infringement, exploitation of subsidiary rights, pre- and post-publication defamation review, and option agreements.
We are more than just lawyers.
We are the largest boutique entertainment law firm in Australasia and our team is amongst the brightest and most experienced in the industry. Whether you require some simple advice or need an adept international deal-maker, we will always help you achieve the best solution for your needs.
David is the founder of Media Arts Lawyers and Australia’s preeminent music lawyer. With over 25 years’ experience dealing in all facets of entertainment law, David represents many high-profile musicians, celebrities and entertainment companies. In addition, he oversees the firm’s general commercial practice and in the last five years he has concluded over A$100M in mergers and acquisitions including sales of entertainment businesses, festivals and sports tournaments. A passionate advocate for local music and creative industries, David chairs the board of Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR), is a board member of Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA), and a past board member of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).
Stephen practises in all facets of commercial and entertainment law; with a particular focus on music, particularly within the independent sector through his representation of the Australian and New Zealand label associations and numerous independent record labels within Australia, New Zealand and internationally. Stephen combines his legal knowledge with his vast experience in the music industry, including in private practice in the UK representing major artists, labels and industry bodies and in Australia as the Business Affairs Manager for Festival Mushroom Records. Stephen is a supporter of local music and provides pro-bono services to Music NT and Arts Law members. Stephen is a Director of Ink Music Publishing and the manager for international artist, Georgi Kay.
Julian represents high profile musical talent, managers, labels, publishers, events and start-ups, and with a large overseas network has been instrumental in setting up international deals for his clients. He has been a musician signed to major and indie labels, and has a post-grad degree in corporate finance. In addition to his extensive music law practice, Julian represents film and television projects, studios, creative agencies, celebrity talent, media and tech companies, events, designers, and NGO’s.
Yasmin practises in creative industries law, representing world-class graphic and motion design studios, agencies, illustrators, streaming services, visual artists, authors, managers, fashion designers, format and content creators, influencers, photographers, tv/radio talent, and app developers. Additionally, Yasmin has a strong employment law practice at the firm. Holding both a Juris Doctor (hons) and an MBA, Yasmin combines experience with expertise, industry insight, and a passion for the creative sector. Working in close partnership with her clients, she brings clarity to their legal rights and obligations, and advises with the intention of achieving the very best strategic and commercial outcome. Committed to giving back to the industry, she’s also a serving board member of the Creative Women’s Circle and a volunteer lawyer for the Arts Law Centre of Australia.
Having been legal counsel for the likes of Southern Cross Austereo, Marsh Insurance and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, Tania has provided valuable input on a vast array of commercial matters, negotiating high level agreements and working closely with executives in the delivery of practical solutions from both a commercial and regulatory perspective. Tania joined MAL in 2015 and practices in the areas of general commercial, intellectual property, media and entertainment; with a particular focus on talent representation, hospitality, trade marks and brand protection, property, and creative industries. Tania holds a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Commerce (Management) and a Graduate Diploma in Communications Law.
Rob Glass joined the firm in 2014, having previously worked at a Chambers and Legal 500 listed intellectual property firm in Australia and a commercial firm in New Zealand. Rob draws on more than 10 years experience working in the music industry to provide pragmatic legal advice to some of Australia’s leading DJs, producers, managers, labels and events, drafting and negotiating the deals that form the backbone of the business. Rob’s digital media experience has included working with technology clients, design studios, software and app developers, and online content distributors drafting documentation and structuring deals for new and established businesses.
Marcus has experience in all facets of entertainment and commercial law and as a litigator having practiced both in Australia and the UK. With his practice focused primarily on the music industry, Marcus has represented high profile artists, managers, producers, labels, publishers, festivals, events and start-ups throughout the world, and with a particular interest in working with new and emerging talent he has assisted in procuring, negotiating and advising on local and international deals for his clients. Marcus also runs independent label and management company ‘We Are Golden’.
Having worked at entertainment industry, IP and commercial law firms for over 10 years, Amanda brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. Practising across the spectrum of defamation, commercial law, IP and entertainment industry law matters, Amanda’s particular focus is on defamation, commercial law, disputes and litigation. Amanda represents clients from all corners of the commercial and creative industries including media outlets, festivals, promoters, comedians, artists, musicians, game developers, and various other commercial entities. Her three years as assistant editor of Heavy Music Magazine and current involvement in the local music scene managing artists and running events provides her with a unique perspective that allows her to best understand and anticipate the needs of her clients. Amanda holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Music Business Management.
Sarah has experience in both entertainment law and real property law, and has been working in the music industry for 10 years. She was previously the Licensing / Synchronisations Manager at major record label, Warner Music Australia. She has negotiated deals with television networks, film producers and directors, advertising agencies, local and international artists and artist managers, music supervisors, music publishers and other record labels. Sarah also has significant experience in conveyancing matters, and holds a Bachelor of Music / Bachelor of Arts (with Honours), a C.Mus.A Diploma in Piano and a Juris Doctor.
Having a background in media communications and marketing, Luisa joined Media Arts Lawyers whilst undertaking the Juris Doctor at the University of Melbourne. Luisa combines her a passion for the creative industries, new business and innovative technologies, with a keen interest in intellectual property law and media law. Luisa is also concerned with regulation and policy reform having completed her thesis in the area. Luisa holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne, a Bachelor of Business (marketing) and a Bachelor of Arts (communications) from Monash University.
With a background in Sydney’s independent theatre scene, Jessica’s experience and knowledge in the performing arts provides her with unique insight into the commercial realities of live performance, including all aspects of the production from cast agreements to music licensing. Jessica has a passion for intellectual property law and deals with matters concerning the creation, protection and enforcement of such rights across the firm’s core practice areas. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication/ Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) from the University of Technology, Sydney.
Chloe has a background in events and the creative industries having worked with clients in the areas of hospitality, fashion, design, production and media. Chloe joined Media Arts Lawyers whilst completing her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce (Management) and is set to be admitted to practice in late 2018. Chloe has a keen interest in intellectual property law, particularly in relation to trade mark matters and in the areas of film and television.
Maria has over 25 years in the entertainment industry specialising in finance and business management and has served as the firm’s Chief Financial Officer since 2006. In addition, Maria is the General Manager of The Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR), Director of Results Management (a company she founded in 1994) and, more recently, Chair of the Creative Industry Advisory Board for the Australian Institute of Music (AIM). Maria has also previously held positions as CEO and CFO of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) and as a board member of Music Victoria.