SPL Services

Entertainment and Publishing

Surry Partners Lawyers have been advising clients in the entertainment industry for decades.

In Film and Television we represent producers, directors, writers, actors, composers, distributers, agents and casting agents. We assist clients in a number of areas some of which include:

  • Rights acquisition and sale
  • Script options and purchases
  • Agreements for writers, producers, actors and composers
  • All aspects of development funding and financing
  • Copyright
  • Insurances, Errors and Omissions and Completion Guarantees
  • Distribution
  • Co-production
  • Merchandising
  • Copyright and performers’ rights
  • Defamation both pre-publication and post-publication

In Sports Law we advise on:

  • licensing issues
  • protection of intellectual property rights
  • rights waivers
  • manager’s agreements
  • liquor licensing issues
  • sponsorship agreements
  • event management agreements
  • agency/ representation agreements
  • venue agreements
  • insurance advice
  • dispute resolution and litigation services.

In the digital age, Music and Publishing has become a complex area of law. Some of the areas in which we assist clients are:

  • Recording and publishing contracts
  • Packaging
  • Syndication
  • Film and ancillary rights
  • Multi-media and online distribution and marketing agreements
  • Commissioning and self publication
  • Merchandising and image licensing
  • Online copyright infringement

In Theatre, Live Entertainment, Clubs and Exhibitions we represent producers, actors and copyright agents in a number of areas, including Rights Acquisition Agreements for Production, Touring Agreements, Joint Ventures and negotiations with all aspects of the industry. In relation to clubs we deal with:

  • Contractual relationships
  • Trade mark and image licensing issues
  • Liquor licensing issues
  • Dispute resolution
  • Talent agreements


  • Advised a film maker client on a commissioned film project, staged payment arrangements and IP transfer provisions tied to the payment of funds
  • Prepared Content Distribution and Service Agreements on behalf of a global online content distributor and recording artists in relation to the sale of the artist’s content, including the required licensing of relevant artist IP rights, provision for third party payments to publishers and performing rights associations and other third parties in the digital supply chain
  • Represented the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in hearings before the Copyright Tribunal in relation to the review of an application by the PCCA for a substantial increase in royalties on recorded music paid by, amongst others, promoters of events that include dance parties.
  • Acted for a client on the negotiation and renewal of an ACMA funded service level agreement for a communications service and a co-operation deed with a third party responsible of the provision of technical and communications infrastructure.
  • Negotiated and documented the settlement of a dispute on behalf of a performer in relation to the alleged breach of an exclusive agency agreement
  • Through a considered process that avoided commencing court proceedings, forced the promoter of a musical production touring nationally to refrain from promoting the name of the advertised show in a manner that infringed our client’s registered trade mark
  • Negotiated and documented a licence agreement on behalf of a celebrity chef for the endorsement of a range of imported cookware.
  • Negotiated and documented a licence agreement between our client a leading homewares, giftware and clothing retailer, who has trade marks registered for its brand, and a designer/manufacturer wishing to apply the brand to a new range of clothing
  • Represented a number of clients in negotiations with local and international publishers for a series of cook books.
  • Prepared contracts on behalf of a stage production company for performers in a national touring program
  • Negotiated and documented on behalf of the rights owner a funding agreement with independent investors for a theatrical production
  • Advised a management client on their application for an Entertainment Industry Representative’s Licence
  • Advised an artist on the renegotiation of an exclusive representation agreement with their manager
  • Advised an agent and their client on the consequences of allowing the client, exclusively represented by them, to sign a non-negotiable Participation Agreement with Freemantle Media concerning a well known television program and its future consequences for the existing management agreement and the artist’s future recording rights.
  • Successfully lobbied web hosts and ISP’s to remove material from their websites, by way of take down orders, in respect of content infringing our client’s copyright
  • Successfully acted for the victims of defamatory publications and broadcasts

Peter English
Clement Lo