Media, Sport and Entertainment Intelligence - March 2016

Media, Sport and Entertainment Intelligence


Welcome to a new edition of Media, Sports and Entertainment Intelligence; this new version aims to provide an overview of what we see coming up on the horizon that could impact businesses in the Media, Sports and Entertainment sector. 

Looking ahead

On the gambling front, a case in the US involving fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel has been causing a stir. In November 2015, the New York State Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the sites alleging that they violated the state’s gambling laws on the basis that the daily fantasy sports games offered by each company involved 'chance' (as opposed to 'skill'). A month later, the lower court granted a preliminary injunction against both companies and ordered that they immediately cease conducting business in New York, however a temporary stay was granted (permitting the companies to continue to operate in New York) and the companies appealed the injunction. If the injunction is upheld, DraftKings and FanDuel will lose access to one of their largest markets (DraftKings reported that New York accounts for approximately 20% of its customers and are responsible for generating $100,000,000 in entry fees). As a result, after years of operating without regulation, the permissibility of daily fantasy sports has been placed in jeopardy - creating uncertainty for sports leagues and teams that have sold sponsorships or made investments in the space. We’ll keep you updated as the case progresses.

In other gambling updates, Australia is looking to reform its online gambling sector designed to end credit betting, set-up a national ‘opt out’ register for gamblers and ban gambling inducements. It’s been referred to the Senate Committee for inquiry with a report due out in May this year. 

Another draft reform is being debated in Germany, this time related to copyright in a bid to strengthen authors and performers’’ rights in the country. As the main goal is to ensure authors receive fair compensation for their work, this could have a major impact on the remuneration of authors. 

From a broadcasting perspective, Sharjah, an Emirate in the UAE that shares a border with Dubai, has established a Media Free Zone, a move the rulers of Sharjah hope will attract companies to set-up businesses related to media production. A similar structure has already proved successful in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. And staying with broadcasting, the Australian Federal Treasurer has introduced proposed laws that are being dubbed the 'Netflix tax' as the move would see goods and service tax applied to digital products purchased from abroad. We’ll keep you updated as the proposed law makes its way through the system. 

In the EU the Digital Single Market (DSM) debate continues. There is currently a consultation on the modernisation of the legal framework for the enforcement of IP rights, which will run until 1 April 2016 and consultations on geo-blocking, and the regulatory environment for platforms, online intermediaries, data and cloud computing and the collaborative economy having recently closed. Legislation related to cross-border e-commerce, harmonised rules for the supply of digital content and online sales of goods, has progressed with draft Directives will now entering the EU legislative process. 

There have been a number of developments regarding trademarks that could have an impact on MSE companies, for example the European Community Trademark Regulation is set to come into effect from 23 March this year. This is expected to have a radical impact on the way companies register trademarks in the EU and could even require companies to review their current and future filing strategies. Staying with trademarks, in the Middle East the new Gulf Corporate Council Trademark Law has been implemented in Kuwait. This is the first GCC member state to implement the law that will see an increase in official fees associated with the filing process, more extensive supporting documentation requirements, as well as faster examination times and longer opposition periods. 

In the UK a review is currently underway of consumer protection measures in the online ticket resale market focusing on the secondary ticket market for re-sale of tickets for sporting, entertainment and cultural events and will report its findings before 26 May 2016. The UK Government has also introduced Regulations to implement the EU Collective Rights Management Directive which impose requirements in relation to the multi-territorial licensing of online rights in musical works. The Regulations come into force on 10 April 2016. 

Other news 

We're delighted to announce the former Chief Counsel at ESPN, David Pahl, has recently joined the firm’s New York office as a partner in the MSE sector group. Find out more 

The firm recently hosted a webinar on Media Production and Film Finance Trends. Listen to the recording and find out more here

Our MSE Blog covered a number of global issues as they happened, including the EU Court ruling against the German sport betting regulation, what to expect from the EU’s Privacy Shield and the General Data Protection Regulation, as well as a summary of the Spanish General Directorate for the Regulation of Gaming Activities Q4 report that looked at the country’s regulated online market during the last quarter of 2015. Sign up to the blog to receive alerts when new posts appear.