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Portrait ofJohn 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 audio and audio-visual content via digital platforms, as well as platform operators.  He has been at the forefront of digital media developments for over 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 digital interactive media to today’s multi-channel synchronised offerings across broadcast TV, tablets, smartphones and other connected devices.

As well as general entertainment content, many of John’s clients are involved in the exploitation of music and sport.

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 linear and on-demand service providers, sports rights holders, record companies, pure-play digital content businesses and mobile operators as well as companies that invest in and provide debt finance to 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

  • BT Group on its arrangements with Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc (WBD) in connection with the 50:50 JV covering BT Sport and Discovery’s UK sports portfolio.  John co-led on the entire transaction and led on the commercial agreements (in particular in connection with the structure and drafting of BT’s ongoing rights to provide BT Sport to its customers, the arrangements for BT customers to received Discovery+, the transfer of existing assets and rights to the JV) as well as media regulatory aspects.
  • The International Cricket Council FZ-LLC on its global media rights tender, bidding and evaluation process for its tournaments from 2023 to 2031 in India, UK, North America and other territories. 
  • ViacomCBS and Comcast on aspects of the JV partnership to launch SkyShowtime, a new SVOD service being made available in more than 20 European territories across 90 million homes with entertainment, movies, and original series from the NBCUniversal, Sky and ViacomCBS portfolio of brands. John led on media regulatory and compliance issues, working with CMS colleagues across multiple territories.
  • A global sports rights holder in connection with its tender of European media rights across a complex matrix of rights packages and territories.
  • Major broadcasters, audio- and video- services providers and others on negotiations with PRS for Music, ICE Services and major music publishers in connection with mechanical and communication to the public licensing of a range of online services.
  • A leading sports rights agency on competition and regulatory matters relating to rights sales processes in many territories in Europe and beyond.
  • Global, the Media & Entertainment group founded by Ashley Tabor OBE, on its purchase of key outdoor advertising assets – Exterion, Primesight and Outdoor Plus and on various regulatory matters for both the radio and outdoor divisions of Global.
  • Advance/Newhouse Partnership (“Advance”), a diversified, family-owned company that operates and invests in a broad range of media, communications and technology businesses, on its agreement to purchase 100% of the shares of Stage Entertainment, one of the world’s largest theatre producers and owners, operating 20 theatres and partnering with world-renowned creative talent to produce shows attended by over seven million visitors annually, including Tina: the Tina Turner Musical in London and the Lion King in Hamburg and Madrid.  John led on the commercial and regulatory aspects, working with corporate partner Louise Wallace and CMS colleagues in the Netherlands and 6 other European territories.
  • GAME Digital plc on the ongoing commercial arrangements entered into to support its events and esports business, as part of its disposal of its subsidiary Multiplay, which operates an online game server-hosting business for game developers and a direct B2C game hosting service, to San Francisco-headquartered Unity Technologies.
  • 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.
  • Viacom International Media Networks on the commercial and regulatory media aspects of its acquisition of Channel 5 Broadcasting Limited for £450 million and on repeated extensions 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 and My5. 
  • Football clubs and other sport and leisure service providers 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.
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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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