1 What's your company called?
Harbottle & Lewis LLP.
2 What services or products do you offer?
Harbottle & Lewis is regarded as the ‘go-to’ law firm for individuals and businesses working across the UK publishing industry. We have expert knowledge of traditional and digital publishing, from deals to disputes. As a result of our related industry expertise in areas such as interactive entertainment, music, TV and film, we also advise on cross-media and convergence deals, as well as other emerging business opportunities. We are a full-service law firm, which means that in addition to this work we provide corporate, commercial, tax, employment, property, reputation management and dispute advice.
3 How can you help IPG members?
We have assisted members to draft and negotiate all kinds of commercial and IP agreements including copyright licences, distribution agreements and supplier contracts. Members have come to us to develop their brands, such as by registering trademarks; and to protect themselves in an uncertain business climate, such as by improving their standard terms of business. We have helped a number of small and medium sized companies across the media industry with private equity transactions, corporate restructuring and mergers. We already work with a number of IPG members and would welcome the opportunity to get to know more.
4 What do you enjoy about working in publishing?
Working in publishing as a lawyer can be really exciting because the law, and how it impacts our clients, is so often changing. It is a real pleasure to work in such a dynamic space with creative clients.
Our lawyer Alex Hardy has worked in the publishing industry for more than ten years, initially as an editor for Asia City Publishing and then as a lawyer for Hachette, before joining Harbottle & Lewis as a publishing and media specialist. We, like Alex, feel fully embedded in the publishing world, and you will meet us at the trade fairs, awards ceremonies and our clients' book launches—we really enjoy participating in and supporting the industry.
5 What do you think is the single biggest opportunity and the single biggest threat for independent publishers right now?
We are speaking to a lot of clients about the opportunities arising from better access to consumer data, as they transition their business models from 100% B2B to incorporating a B2C offering. There is a great opportunity here for independent publishers who can leverage their distinctive brands to develop closer relationships with their customers. As an industry we are only just beginning to see the benefits of this transition.
This space is moving quickly and it seems that the biggest threat to independent publishers is simply not being prepared to take advantage of these opportunities. We have been working with a number of clients who are taking a long-term view following recent changes to copyright law, and amid legislative upheavals in data protection and consumer rights law. We have been helping them to update their standard licenses for a digital age, adopt new terms of business and adapt to new regulatory environments.
6 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
We are continually impressed by how much the IPG achieves for its members. We are really proud to belong to an organisation that punches well above its weight, and look forward to meeting more members and other suppliers.Visit the Harbottle & Lewis website