UK: Budget Announcement – Introduction of a Horserace Betting Right

By Jonathan Salt

On 18 March 2015 Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, announced that the Government would bring forward legislative proposals to replace the existing statutory Horserace Betting Levy with a new Horserace Betting Right.

This announcement followed a suite of three interlinked consultation documents, the first of which was published on 26 June 2014. Two of the consultations addressed proposals on reform or replacement of the existing Levy. The final consultation, which opened on 5 February 2015, followed a commitment to review a “racing right” in the Autumn Statement and sought views on the potential structure and operation of a bespoke statutory framework that could replace the Levy.

Information on the legislative structure of the “Horserace Betting Right” is yet to be released and Helen Grant, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, stated on 23 March 2015 that:

“No timetable has been set for introducing legislation to bring in the new Horserace Betting Right. Draft legislation will be developed following a thorough economic analysis and discussions with the Competition and Markets Authority, HMRC and others.

The Horserace Betting Right will apply to all bookmakers, wherever located, who take bets from British customers on British racing and provides a modern and sustainable future for the funding of racing.”

We will keep you updated with the latest news and announcements as this legislative programme progresses.

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Media, Sport & Entertainment Webinar 2015: Legal developments in video games and content for children

Legal developments in video games and content for children
Wednesday 25 March 2015
3.00 – 4.00 pm GMT

We are delighted to invite you to the next session in our series of one hour webinars. This webinar will focus on legal developments in video games and content for children.

A fast moving sector but one also often under the spotlight of regulators, law-makers and politicians. We will look in particular at video games and interactive entertainment but also consider developments in children’s content more generally with a focus on marketing, distribution and exploitation issues.

I will chair the session, and our speakers will include specialists from the UK (Duncan Calow), Germany (Patrick Schwarzbart), Denmark (Asger Heine Jensen), the Netherlands (Richard Van Schaik) and the USA (Bikash Mishra).

It’s simple: the webinars are free and delivered to your desk. You can access the slides on your PC and access the audio presentation by freephone number. There will be an opportunity at the end of each session to ask questions.

This webinar may attract continuing legal education points, CPD or CLE, depending on the rules in your jurisdiction.

Best regards,
Nick Fitzpatrick
Global Co-Chair, Media, Sport and Entertainment

Please click here to register

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The Pirate Bay blocked in Portugal

Authors: Joâo Costa Quinta (ABBC), Margarida Leitâo (ABBC), Gonzalo Santos (DLA Piper)


A recent Intellectual Property Court decision in Portugal determined that the main telecommunications operators have until the end of March to block the access of its users to The Pirate Bay domains, either through its main (Swedish) domain name “” or other alternative domain names.

The decision was issued in the scope of an injunction filed by Audiogest – Associação para a Gestão e Distribuição de Direitos and by GEDIPE – Associação para a Gestão de Direitos de Autor, Produtores e Editores, both copyright collective management organisations, against the main telecommunications operators in Portugal. The decision was based on intellectual property rights infringements taking into consideration the illegal contents of the websites. Similar decisions were issued around the world. For example, in France the Paris High Court requested the major Internet Services Providers to block The Pirate Bay within two weeks.

Also in Portugal there were similar decisions of blocking the access to websites where football matches were being transmitted without the adequate license. However, in said cases, the decision was addressed to unknown persons and not to the operators, being this, the first decision addressed directly to telecom operators.   

The challenge will be to ensure that these decisions are adequately enforced, since there are alternative ways to access to such websites which are publicly available. As one of the founders of The Pirate Bay recently said in a conference held in Portugal, this measure is most likely to be ineffective as there are always other mechanisms in order to circumvent the access to the websites.

A solution that seems to be more effective is the reinforcement of sanctions for copyright breach. In Spain a number of popular P2P sites have removed in the past months links that led to pirated content because of the introduction of more severe economic penalties through an amendment of the Spanish Intellectual Property Act that came into force on the 1st January.

Furthermore, a recent ruling of the Spanish High Court Audiencia Nacional sentenced the administrators of a webpage that pirated different newspapers and magazines ( to three years in prison for breaching intellectual property rights and another three for operating as a criminal organization. According to the ruling, they will also have to pay a compensation to the rights owners for an amount yet to be determined.

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UK: Budget 2015 – Increased TV and Film Tax Credits

By Lee McGuirk and Verity Young

The Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed the introduction of a series of beneficial tax measures for the UK television and film industry in the 2015 Budget.

Film tax relief will be increased to 25% for all qualifying core expenditure regardless of the film’s budget, for all eligible film productions (capped at 80% of expenditure). The distinction between limited budget films and all others will be removed. The measure is designed to encourage the production of culturally British films in the UK.

In addition, as anticipated in the Chancellor’s autumn statement, the cultural test for high-end television tax relief is to be modernised to ensure that only legitimate projects receive the tax credit and the minimum UK spend requirement for tax relief is to be reduced from 25% to 10%, to bring this in line with the provisions for film production.

The changes are effective from the later of 1 April 2015 or the date of state aid approval.

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Australia: Update: Giedo van der Garde cancels contract with Sauber

By Judith Miller and Matthew Evans

Giedo van der Garde withdrew his legal action against Sauber just prior to the Melbourne Grand Prix race following F1 Team Sauber’s indication that it would ignore the Victorian Court of Appeal decision and continue to refuse to let van der Garde race. Sauber stated that if they allowed the Dutchman to race they would be in breach of their contract with their other drivers, Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, who took to the track instead.

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Australia: Australia’s media deregulation plans will keep anti-siphoning laws

By Judith Miller and Matthew Evans

Australian Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull has floated a proposal to scrap many of the media regulations to enable traditional broadcasters to compete with new unregulated entries into the market, such as streaming service Netflix. Whilst the media industry has welcomed the majority of the reforms, TV giant Foxtel has lashed out at the fact the anti-siphoning laws are to remain.

The anti-siphoning laws were introduced in 1992 to give free-to-air broadcasters a right of first refusal to broadcast certain sporting events that the Minister thought should be available free of charge to the Australian public. The laws prevent pay TV providers, such as Foxtel, from broadcasting the approximately 1300 listed sporting events without acquiring the rights from a free-to-air broadcaster, essentially requiring them to pay a fee.

Rupert Murdoch was scathing in a tweet stating that this is a sort of selective regulation scrapping is cherry picking to ‘suit [Malcolm Turnbull's] buddies at Nine’. The attack has done little to Turnbull’s resolve. The Communications Minister advised recently that he will make no changes to the anti-siphoning laws without a consensus between free-to-air and pay television – something that is not likely to be achieved anytime soon. The proposed laws are currently being considered by the Prime Minister and if approved will likely face cabinet later this year.

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Italy – Save the Date! Media Breakfast Series @DLA Piper Milan – Join us for our seminar on March 27!

Join us on Friday 27 March at 9 AM in our Milan office for the first session of our Media Breakfast Series! The seminar will focus on the IP Box Incentives with particular attention to the Media Sector. Read the rest of this entry »

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China – Football Reform Directive

Yesterday (16 March 2015), the Chinese State Council (“CSC“) issued <<中国足球改革总体方案>> a ten-year 50-measure football reform directive to boost the development of football in China, which includes streamlining the Chinese football management system and spinning off the Chinese Football Association (“CFA“) as a separate entity from the General Administration of Sports (“GAS“).  The CFA will become a financially transparent non-governmental non-profit organisation overseeing the development of football and may have the power to reject unreasonable government interventions.  Its management will include football professionals and representatives from the GAS, regional football associations and private football leagues.

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Australia: Update: Terminating a sportsperson’s contract for private conduct (the Todd Carney case)

By Judith Miller, Kirk Simmons and Julian Conti

Last year, we published this blog update regarding an incident involving Todd Carney that led to the termination of his contract with the Cronulla Sharks Football Club. In our update, we mentioned that it appeared no hearing had occurred prior to termination (as expressly required by the NRL Players’ Contract).

This was relied upon by the NRL Appeal Committee, chaired by former High Court of Australia judge Ian Callinan QC, which this week found Carney was wrongfully terminated by the Cronulla Sharks. The Committee found that the Cronulla Sharks had not followed the correct procedure because they did not allow Carney to plead his case before they terminated his contract.

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Jury Finds Singers, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, Owe $7.4M for Copyright Infringement

By Matt Ganas, Caleb Ginsberg and Kieron Frazier 

On March 10, 2015, a California federal jury awarded Marvin Gaye’s children nearly $7.4 million after deciding that pop stars, Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke, copied Gaye’s 1977 song, “Got to Give It Up,” in writing their 2013 chart-topping hit, “Blurred Lines.” “Blurred Lines” was the best-selling single in the world in 2013, selling more than 7 million copies in the United States alone.   Read the rest of this entry »

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