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Portrait of John Enser

John Enser

TMIC Practice Group Leader

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
United Kingdom
Languages English

John provides commercial, regulatory and copyright law advice to clients across the Technology, Media and Communications sector, in particular, those offering music and audio-visual content via digital platforms.  He has been at the forefront of digital media developments for nearly 30 years, assisting clients to launch new and innovative services across a range of technologies; from the dawn of satellite television, through the birth of the worldwide web to today’s multi-channel synchronised offerings across broadcast TV, tablets, smartphones and all other forms of connected device.

John has a particular expertise in the licensing of music rights (both individually and collectively) and has represented parties in leading UK Copyright Tribunal cases involving the licensing of music for use in CDs, DVDs, in online and mobile music, in broadcast and in on-demand television.  He has also been involved in establishing licensing models for other types of music use, including in various aspects of the leisure sector.

His clients include broadcasters and other content aggregators and distributors, record companies, pure-play digital content businesses and mobile operators as well as companies that invest in the sector.

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John Enser is a copyright and media regulation expert and advises businesses on the distribution of audio-visual content on digital platforms. He is described by various sources as a "big hitter in the media space."

Chambers UK 2017

Industry luminary John Enser has a wide-ranging practice, incorporating strengths in music, broadcasting and digital work. Clients note that he "never ceases to amaze with the breadth and depth of his knowledge on all the hot topics in the industry." Recent work includes advising the French Press Association on a EUR60 million fund to finance new digital projects.

Chambers UK 2015

John Enser has wide-ranging expertise across broadcasting and digital platforms. He is acclaimed for his regulatory and copyright work, and for handling particularly innovative matters.

Chambers UK 2016

John Enser's highlights include advising ITV on a Copyright Tribunal royalties case involving the PRS and MCPS. Sources describe him as a keen participant in digital media matters, noting his confident negotiation style.

Chambers and Partners 2013

Head of music John Enser stands out for his 'depth of industry knowledge and ability to handle complex transactions'.

Legal 500 UK 2014

‘No one is better in the media world’ than John Enser and his colleague, according to one client. Enser brings ‘an unrivalled depth of knowledge to deals’.

Legal 500 UK 2015

The ‘excellent, responsive and creative’ team draws on expertise from a variety of practices in the firm, and has particular strength in media rights. Highlights include advising the ICC on a media rights tender, and its broadcast partnership with Star India and Star Middle East. Clients recommend John Enser.

Legal 500 UK 2015

The ‘extremely clever’ John Enser acted for Viacom on the outsourcing of the Channel 5 advertising sales and sponsorship function to Sky Media.

Legal 500 UK 2016

The firm has a reputation for achieving excellence in a range of cases and receives a multitude of client praise. “The partners we mostly use are John Enser and Victoria Gaskell. We rate them very highly - both are experts in media law and are real assets on complex media transactions,” noted one client.

Media Law International 2016: UK

Relevant experience

  • ITV on a Copyright Tribunal reference challenging the terms on which the Performing Right Society and Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society license ITV's use of music in its programmes / services.
  • 72 Films, headed by senior TV industry figures, David Glover and Mark Raphael, on distribution arrangements connected with the minority equity investment made by BBC Worldwide into the company.
  • A major sports rights body on regulatory and content aspects of the global roll out of a digital content offering.
  • Ministry of Sound Group on vendor due diligence and the commercial aspects of the sale of its iconic label Ministry of Sound Recordings to Sony Music UK. The deal sees Sony Music UK acquire the label and its stable of artists, back catalogue and compilations business. 
  • Viacom International Media Networks on an extension of its advertising sales relationship with Sky in the UK and Ireland. The arrangement originally negotiated by John in 2009 covered Viacom’s popular portfolio of 17 TV channels – including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1.  In 2015, the agreement was extended to include Channel 5 and its associated channels, following Viacom’s 2014 acquisition of Channel 5. Sky Media, Sky’s advertising sales division was also appointed to represent Channel 5’s sponsorship, digital and on-demand sales.
  • Football clubs on music licensing issues.
  • UK Music (the collective body representing the collective interests of the recorded, published and live arms of the British music industry) on a judicial review of the UK Government’s implementation of the private copying exception to copyright, on the grounds that it was inconsistent with the EU Copyright Directive.  The claim was successful and as a result, the private copying exception was quashed.
  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) on the media rights tender, bidding and evaluation process that led the ICC to conclude cricket's biggest-ever global broadcast partnership.  The partnership sees the ICC jointly award its audio-visual rights for ICC events from 2015 to 2023, including two ICC Cricket World Cups in 2019 and 2023, to Star India and Star Middle East. Star India and Star Middle East are subsidiaries of 21st Century Fox, Inc.
  • BT on its wholesale arrangement with Virgin Media enabling the latter to make the BT sports channels available to Virgin’s TV customers.
  • Heron on a naming rights agreement, leading to the renaming of the iconic Heron Tower to Salesforce Tower London.
  • Viacom International Media Networks on the commercial and regulatory media aspects of its acquisition of Channel 5 Broadcasting Limited for £450 million.
  • what3words, the location reference platform, on a range of commercial and IP matters.
  • QSoft Consulting, owner of the “Gaydar” and “Gaydar Radio” brands on a range of commercial and regulatory matters, leading to a transaction to transfer the Gaydar Radio OFCOM DAB broadcasting licenses to Gaydio, the UK's first FM gay radio station.
  • Zeebox on a complex technology arrangement under which (alongside a corporate investment) Sky UK is licensed to integrate zeebox's technology into its own companion screen applications and Sky's advertising-sales house, Sky Media, is appointed to sell Zeebox’s sponsorship and product placement opportunities.
  • Chrysalis plc on commercial aspects of the terms of the recommended cash offer for its entire share capital from a wholly-owned subsidiary of BMG Luxco, a joint venture between Bertelsmann and an affiliate of US private equity house Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
  • Chrysalis plc on commercial aspects of its acquisition of First State Media Group.
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Memberships & Roles

  • Chairman, TV against Piracy Group
  • Chair of Copyright Working Group, British Screen Advisory Council
  • Royal Television Society
  • Fellow, Royal Society of the Arts
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  • Commercial Communications (Chapter) in Media Law & Practice (Goldberg, Sutter and Walden), Oxford University Press (1st Edition 2009, 2nd Edition forthcoming).
  • “The EU's Digital Single Market Proposals: Audiovisual Media, Geo-blocking and Telecoms Regulatory Proposals” in International Comparative Law Guide to Telecoms, Media and Internet Laws & Regulations 2017
  • Credited contributor to "Follow the Money: Financial options to assist in the battle against online piracy", a discussion paper on tackling advertising revenue from illegal websites published by Mike Weatherley MP, Intellectual Property Adviser to the British Prime Minister, 2014
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Lectures list

  • “Digital Single Market and Brexit” 10th Internet & Social Media Law Conference, IBC/Informa, December 2016
  • “Making sure you are privacy compliant when handling consumer and viewing data”; presentation at a private symposium for a major international TV and broadband company, November 2016
  • Brexit, a Survival Guide (for the TV industry) - panel at MIPCOM, Cannes, October 2016
  • ‘Brexit’ and the implications for the UK Music Industry – panel at the Annual Conference of the BPI (UK recorded music trade association)
  • ‘The legal landscape: will a future independent UK policy framework help or hinder the music industry?’ at Westminster Media Forum: Next steps for the UK music industry - monetisation, policy challenges and the future of live, July 2016
  • "The Digital Single Market programme: impact on film and TV investors" for Ingenious Media Group, June 2016
  • "Digital Copyright: Shaping New Law into Solution-Focused Advice for Clients", White Paper Conferences (Chair), June 2016
  • The Legal and Regulatory Challenges for Digital; Citi's annual Internet and Digital Conference, London, May 2016
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Transactions: Law and Practice, UCL Institute for Brand and Innovation Law (2015, 2016, forthcoming)
  • European Policy for Intellectual Property 10th Annual Conference (EPIP 2015), Glasgow “Copyright and Geography” (Chair)
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  • 1989 – Admitted as a Solicitor in England and Wales
  • 1986 – Law Society Finals (Distinction), College of Law, Chester
  • 1985 – BA (Hons) Jurisprudence, Pembroke College, Oxford
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Ded­ic­ated En­ergy & Cli­mate Change prac­tice
With more than 450 law­yers in 75 of­fices across the globe our En­ergy and Cli­mate Change prac­tice is one of the largest of its kind. It was foun­ded on ground-break­ing work design­ing and im­ple­ment­ing mod­ern en­ergy mar­kets and is now at the fore­front of de­vel­op­ments on en­ergy trans­ition, re­new­ables and the vari­ous re­sponses to the cli­mate crisis. From ad­vising on cli­mate change strategy, new tech­no­lo­gies, risk and dis­putes, to en­vir­on­ment­al reg­u­la­tion, Power Pur­chase Agree­ments, and real es­tate and in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects, we ad­vise cli­ents op­er­a­tion­ally and stra­tegic­ally. Our track re­cord in­cludes: Ad­vising on the UK’s most ad­vanced car­bon cap­ture pro­ject in the UK’s first zero-car­bon in­dus­tri­al cluster. BP, Eni, Equi­nor, Shell and Total have formed a con­sor­ti­um and as­sumed lead­er­ship of the Net Zero Teesside Pro­ject, pre­vi­ously known as the Clean Gas Pro­ject.Ad­vising product man­u­fac­tur­ers in re­la­tion to sus­tain­ab­il­ity laws for on the launch of new broad­cast and stream­ing devices.Ad­vising broad­cast­ing and me­dia pub­lish­ing com­pan­ies in re­la­tion to Stream­lined En­ergy and Car­bon Re­port­ing and the En­ergy Sav­ings Op­por­tun­ity Scheme.Ad­vising vari­ous private equity funds, banks and large in­ter­na­tion­al man­u­fac­tur­ing and real es­tate or­gan­isa­tions such as Columbia Thread­needle In­vest­ments, Amet­ek, and John La­ing In­fra­struc­ture Fund on en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, car­bon and re­lated re­port­ing ob­lig­a­tions across the EU.Ad­vising ma­jor banks, in­surers and as­set man­agers on prin­ciples likely to un­der­pin reg­u­lat­ory frame­works in­clud­ing, EU Ac­tion Plan for Fin­an­cing Sus­tain­able Growth, Fin­an­cial Sta­bil­ity Board’s Task Force on Cli­mate-re­lated fin­an­cial dis­clos­ures, LMA Green Loan Prin­ciples, ICMA Green Bond prin­ciples.
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