Home / People / John Enser
John Enser

John Enser


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.

more less

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.
more less


  • 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
more less


  • Chairman, TV against Piracy Group
  • Chair of Copyright Working Group, British Screen Advisory Council
  • Royal Television Society
  • Fellow, Royal Society of the Arts
more less


  • 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
more less

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)
more less


Show only
7 January 2019
Broad changes to the broad­cast­ing (and oth­er video me­dia) rules: the re­vised...
This art­icle provides a brief over­view of the re­vi­sions to the Dir­ect­ive and com­ments on the prac­tic­al im­plic­a­tions of these changes for me­dia ser­vice pro­viders. Read more
27 March 2020
CMS Ex­pert Guide to Force Ma­jeure
09 April 2020
COV­ID-19 and its im­pact on the com­mer­cial sec­tor
Force ma­jeure, ex­hib­it­or and or­gan­iser rights vis-à-vis can­celled live events and gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion dur­ing the crisis. The COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic and re­stric­tions im­posed by gov­ern­ments in Europe and...
3 January 2019
It comes with the ter­rit­ory: an up­date on re­cent de­vel­op­ments on ter­rit­ori­al­ity...
This Decem­ber has seen two im­port­ant de­vel­op­ments in the broad­cast­ing sphere. First, on 13 Decem­ber, the European Coun­cil and the European Par­lia­ment reached a pro­vi­sion­al agree­ment on a new in­stru­ment to sup­ple­ment the Satel­lite and Cable Dir­ect­ive (“the
30 January 2020
Brexit FAQs
The UK’s de­par­ture from the EU on 31 Janu­ary provides cer­tainty of a sort. But most of the Brexit-re­lated is­sues that really mat­ter to busi­nesses are still to be re­solved. As the UK and the EU pre­pare...
5 September 2018
Why lend­ing to a mu­sic pub­lish­er is sound busi­ness
The mu­sic in­dustry is mak­ing money again. After a tur­bu­lent peri­od which began with il­leg­al file shar­ing sites such as Nap­ster en­ter­ing the mar­ket and the rap­id de­cline in sales of CDs and vinyl, the sec­tor is be­com­ing prof­it­able again. This is to a lar
20 June 2019
Im­ple­ment­ing the AVMSD 2018: stake­hold­er ses­sions at DCMS and con­sulta­tion...
CMS re­por­ted earli­er this year on re­cent up­dates to the Au­di­ovisu­al Me­dia Ser­vices Dir­ect­ive ("the Dir­ect­ive"), which reg­u­lates au­di­ovisu­al me­dia ser­vices across the EU. The Dir­ect­ive en­sures that au­di­ovisu­al...
08 April 2019
A new age for copy­right reg­u­la­tion in the EU di­git­al mar­ket - Part 2
The Dir­ect­ive on Copy­right in the Di­git­al Single Mar­ket (the “Dir­ect­ive”) has now been ap­proved by the European Par­lia­ment and once ad­op­ted by the Coun­cil of the EU it will form part of the EU Mem­ber...
03 April 2019
A new age for copy­right reg­u­la­tion in the EU di­git­al mar­ket - Part 1
The European Par­lia­ment voted on 26 March in fa­vour of the Dir­ect­ive on Copy­right in the Di­git­al Single Mar­ket (the “Dir­ect­ive”). If, as ex­pec­ted, it is ad­op­ted by the Coun­cil of the EU (rep­res­ent­at­ives...
01 March 2019
Count­down to Brexit: A No Deal Check­list for busi­ness
The UK is due to leave the EU in just 28 days' time, with or without a Brexit deal. It is pos­sible that the UK and EU27 gov­ern­ments will agree an ex­ten­sion to the dead­line, but this is not cer­tain. If...
07 January 2019
Broad changes to the broad­cast­ing (and oth­er video me­dia) rules: the re­vised...
On 6 Novem­ber 2018, the European Coun­cil ap­proved a slew of long-awaited changes to the Au­di­ovisu­al Me­dia Ser­vices Dir­ect­ive (“the Dir­ect­ive”), the sem­in­al piece of EU le­gis­la­tion reg­u­lat­ing au­di­ovisu­al...
03 January 2019
It comes with the ter­rit­ory: an up­date on re­cent de­vel­op­ments on ter­rit­ori­al­ity...
This Decem­ber has seen two im­port­ant de­vel­op­ments in the broad­cast­ing sphere. First, on 13 Decem­ber, the European Coun­cil and the European Par­lia­ment reached a pro­vi­sion­al agree­ment on a new in­stru­ment...