New Media Law moves!

On Monday 8th December, New Media Law moved from Little Portland Street in Noho, to Hanover Square in Mayfair.

The full address of our new office is:

24 Hanover Square

London, W1S 1JD

All other contact details remain as they were previously.

We look forward to welcoming you to our new office very soon!

The Intellectual Property Act 2014 and design rights

In the UK design law is primarily governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) and the Registered Designs Act 1949 (RDA).

On 1 October 2014 the Intellectual Property Act 2014 came into force which makes, amongst other, two small but significant changes to design law.

Ownership of commissioned works retained by creator

Under previous law, both unregistered and registered UK design law stated that where a design was created in pursuance of a commission agreement/arrangement, the person commissioning the design is the first owner of any design right. The 2014 Act changes this to a position where the owner of the design- registered or unregistered- will now be the designer unless otherwise contractually agreed by both parties.

The effect will be an increase in commissioning agreements that clearly outline the rights of each party. Outlining such rights will avoid any uncertainty as to who owns the design rights concerned. The position under an employment contract with regards to the ownership of registered designs created by an employee remains unchanged. In this case the employer will continue to own the rights attached to the design created in the course of employment.

Unauthorised Copying

Under previous law, there were no criminal sanctions for infringement of registered designs. This has now changed through section 13 IPA 2014, which has the effect of creating criminal sanctions for infringement of registered design rights of imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or to a fine or to both. This applies to the jurisdictions of England, Wales and Scotland. An important proviso is that the person must know or have reason to believe that the design is a registered design upon committing the offence.

This has the effect of protecting rights owners further especially in matters that involve counterfeit products and designs. It is important to remember that this provision only applies to registered designs. 

Whether this will prove to be a sufficient deterrent is yet to be confirmed by future case law and the impact it will have.


Paida Dube, Intern, New Media Law LLP



UK Music Industry announces record growth

The UK music industry announced record year on year growth in 2013 of 9%.

This is a phenomenal success, when one considers that the UK economy as a whole grew by 1.9%.

Perhaps the corner has in fact been turned….


See the UK Music report in full here:

New parody exception comes into force today

1 October 2014


Under current UK legislation the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“CDPA 1988”) did not provide for a parody exception to copying of copyright works.

Copyright law protects an owner of copyright works from, amongst other things, unauthorised copying or reproduction of the whole or a substantial part of one’s works.  A defendant who parodies a work in the UK could therefore potentially be sued for copyright infringement.  The claimant would then argue two main points:

i) that the defendant has copied a substantial part of his work which is an exclusive right of the copyright owner (s.16 CDPA 1988); and/or

ii) that the defendant is in breach of the claimant’s moral rights in the work, more specifically the right to object to derogatory treatment.

A defendant could then try to use what is known as the fair dealing defence of criticism and review, or try to argue human rights freedom of speech principles, both of which would be quite weak points.

Following the Gowers Review (2006) and the Hargreaves Report(2011) consultations began which considered the introduction of a new copyright exception, namely that of parody or pastiche.

New changes

Under the new law, third parties will be able to use minor aspects of copyright works with greater freedom without fearing being drawn into legal battles. Third parties will no longer have to seek the copyright owners’ permission to use their works in the context of parodies. The need for reform has been pushed by the continued increase of protected material being used on social sites such as YouTube and Facebook. The changes will bring the UK in line with other jurisdictions such as Germany, France, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands.

The new changes to copyright law which come into force today introduces a parody exception, albeit under the umbrella of fair dealing. The new section 30A CDPA 1988, introduces the following text:

30A    Caricature, parody or pastiche

(1) Fair dealing with a work for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche does not infringe copyright in the work.

(2) To the extent that a term of a contract purports to prevent or restrict the doing of any act which, by virtue of this section, would not infringe copyright, that term is unenforceable.

The idea behind this new exception is to bring copyright law in line with acceptable norms in a digital society by allowing users to parody the work of a copyright owner without his or her consent.

Will these changes have any practical significance to the creative industry?

Although some have applauded the new defence as a big step forward in UK copyright law, others are more critical. This is partly due to the difficulty in establishing what amounts to a parody and partly because the provisions under both copyright law and the law of defamation could trump any parody or pastiche defence.

What is a parody?

Lawyers, practitioners, judges and indeed the general public struggle in their attempts to define parodies. In a recent preliminary ruling the Court of Justice of the European Union a three stage test for what amounts to a parody was discussed. The parodical work needs to invoke the earlier work whilst still being noticeably different and must be respectful of the original work. Secondly, there must be an aspect of humour to the work in question.

In essence this means that the work must be sufficiently similar, yet different enough to enable the recipient to identify the work that is being parodied whilst simultaneously understanding it to be a parody.

However, humour has not been defined and it’s still unclear as to whether humour is determined by the public’s response or it’s defined from the perspective of the parodist. Furthermore, section 30A makes no reference to satire.

Fairness in the fair dealing

The first question that this raises is of course the extent to which the “comedian” can parody the work within the remits of what is fair. Case law shows that this in itself limits the amount that a person can copy from the original work. The comedian should therefore be cautioned as to the amount of the work actually copied.

This puts the comedian in a catch-22:

Copying a substantial amount of the claimant’s work will most probably not amount to fair dealings and therefore infringe the rights in the copyright work, whilst not copying a substantial part may risk the work not being identifiable as a parody.

Defamation and moral rights

The next hurdle is that the proposed changes do not amend the moral rights to object to derogatory treatment of one’s work under the CDPA 1988. This may arguably defeat the purpose of a parody, as in many circumstances it indeed involves some form of derogatory treatment of the work in question. Likewise, a claimant could still rely on the laws of defamation where the parody allegedly goes too far. This would, again, trump the fair dealing parody defence.

The future

As much as these changes appear to be in favour of third party use of protected content, it may also encourage copyright owners to take legal action, as parodies commonly push the boundaries of what is considered to be of good taste.

Further, as the new exception raises more questions than it answers its implications for the copyright owner, and indeed the comedian, remains to be seen. It can be anticipated that this issue will initially give rise to many disputes as to the boundaries of its application before the issue settles down. It is apparent therefore that future case law will have to reveal the real benefit of these changes.


Paida Dube, Intern, New Media Law LLP

Sarmad Saleh, New Media Law LLP



MIPCOM attendance



We are delighted to announce that the following of our lawyers will be attending MIPCOM this year, from Sunday (11th) to Wednesday (15th) October.


Ian Penman – Partner   ( )   ( +44 7765 244 111 )

Paul Hosford – Partner  ( )   ( +44 7765 244 222 )

Michael Hekimian – Counsel  ( )   (+44 7979 345 181 )


For further information, please contact:

+ 44 20 7291 1670

Screen and cache copies are not an infringement of copyright

A recent Court of Justice of the European Union decision confirms that browsing websites does not infringe copyright:

Newspaper Licencing Agency Ltd and others v Public Relations Consultants Association Ltd [2014]

Article 5 of Parliament and Council Directive 2001/29/EC of 22 May 2001 established that website copies on an end-user’s computer screen and in the Internet ‘cache’ of the computer’s hard disk could be made without the copyright holders’ authorisation while the end-user is browsing the internet. The copies in question were held to be “temporary”, “transient or incidental” in nature and an “integral and essential part of a technological process”.

The Public Relations Consultants Association (“PRCA”) use a third party called Meltwater to monitor reports on press articles published online.  The reports are compiled using key words inputted by the PRCA.  Meltwater wanted their customers’ acts of reproduction to be exempted from the Article 2 reproduction right.

The Newspaper Licensing Agency collectively licences newspaper content and wanted Meltwater and its customers to obtain authorisation from copyright holders for providing and receiving the media monitoring service.

The PRCA appealed to the Supreme Court in the UK, who referred certain questions to the Court Of Justice of the European Union in Brussels (the “CJEU”). The CJEU interpreted Article 5(1) as well as Article 5(5) of the Directive to decide whether the conditions were satisfied.

Following the precedent set in Football Association Premier League Ltd v QC Leisure (which established that the conditions of Article 5(1) and Article 5(5) need to be satisfied), the CJEU held that this was a special case since the on-screen and cached copies were only for viewing websites. These copies were held not to conflict with a normal exploitation of the works and did not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the properly safeguarded rights holders.

Bankole Kasumu, Intern, New Media Law LLP

Ian Penman spoke at rAsia conference in Moscow, 25-28 June 2014

Ian Penman, one of the founding partners of New Media Law, spoke (for the 2nd time, having attended the conference in 2013) at the rAsia conference in Moscow in June.

For further details of the conference, please see:

Ian presented on the background and function of New Media Law at 12.30pm at the “TELL Academy” on Thursday 26th

He also spoke on the subject of “LEGAL ASPECTS OF THE NEW DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT” in the Main Hall of rAsia at 3.15pm  on Thursday 26th.

The presentation focussed on legal developments across Europe and the USA, notably the drive to “encrypted” content and storage, following on from the closure of sites such as KAZAA ( and LimeWire (  and the impact of the “Kim Dotcom” litigation.

He also spoke on Friday 27th:


in a panel chaired by Ralph Simon in Hall A of rAsia at 10.15am

The panel focussed on what the new technological developments mean for the content and media industries.

And again on:


in a panel chaired by Shaukat Shamim, of YouPlus, in Hall A of rAsia at 17.00

The panel focussed on what the move to wireless means for content owners and advertisers.

For further details, please contact:

or, Ian himself, at:


On 6 June 2014, the Chinese government took a major step forward in the protection of IP.

As someone who is married to a card-carrying member of the Chinese Communist Party (the daughter of the Chairman of Dong Feng Motor Co, Liuzhou, no less), I take a special interest in these affairs.

As Chairman Mao famously said: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…”.

China has voted to establish specialised courts for intellectual property rights.  The decision was endorsed at the third meeting of the Central Reform Leading Group on Comprehensively Deepening Reforms, a top-level decision-making and coordinating body established by the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party in November 2013.

The introduction of a court which specialises in Intellectual Property is as a crucial step forward for the protection of IP rights in China.  It continues a process of started in 1993 when the first IP tribunal was set up within Beijing’s First Intermediate People’s Court.

A great leap forward – without doubt.


Ian Penman


New Media Law LLP

For more details, please contact:

Or our Marketing Manager, Esther McHale at:


We are delighted to announce our first party of 2014, being the “Summer Roof Terrace Party”.

The date is Wednesday 2nd July.

Musical entertainment will be provided by the fantastic Alex Hart, recently signed to Right Track Records / Universal.

You can see more of Alex here:

For invitation details please contact: or


Please note that three of us will be attending the Cannes Film Festival this year:

Peter Dally - Thursday May 15th to Tuesday May 20th

Hannah Leader - Thursday May 15th to Monday May 19th

Ian Penman - Sunday May 18th to Monday May 26th

New Media Law latest news

Back to top

Copyright © 2007 New Media Law LLP
Disclaimer & Copyright notices

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).