HomeInsightsNeed to Know – 2013.02.18

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General

Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom publishes policy report on European Union competencies in respect of media pluralism and media freedom.

High Court adopts “modern approach” to determining whether a contractual clause is an unenforceable penalty.

Technology

Nominet warns of registration scam in respect of second level .uk domain names.

Ofcom consults on Metering and Billing Direction applicable to communications providers.

Ofcom launches monitoring and enforcement programme to assess communications providers’ compliance with rules on complaints handling.

Data Protection

Information Commissioner’s Office publishes article-by-article analysis of proposed European data protection reforms.

European telecoms operators support push for level playing field in data protection reforms.

Music

Musicians’ Union and British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors criticise Government’s announcement of private copying exception without fair compensation.

Patents County Court finds that record company infringed performer’s rights of singer Jodie Aysha.

PRS for Music launches electronic music initiative, Amplify

Publishing

Government publishes draft Royal Charter on press regulation following Leveson report.

Campaign group, Hacked Off, says draft Royal Charter “falls a long way short” of meeting Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations.

Film & TV

British Film Institute launches new brand for UK film to boost profile to rest of world.

Advertising

ASA considers Chanel ad featuring Keira Knightley too sexy to be shown during children’s programming.

General

Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom publishes policy report on European Union competencies in respect of media pluralism and media freedom.

The independent policy report, written at the request of the European Commission, looks at the phenomena of media freedom and pluralism and the major academic and policy debates surrounding their social, political and economic roles and implications.  It highlights the importance of media freedom and pluralism for the functioning, sustainability and legitimacy of a democratic government, and therefore the necessity for relevant policy actions.

The report analyses major aspects of media economics, especially ownership, including the relationship between pluralism and the increase in online sources, the impact of emerging online-only media companies, and globalisation.  The report also examines the development of the debate on legal instruments and jurisprudence, as well as the EU legal instruments currently available to ensure media pluralism and media freedom.

As there are currently few EU instruments and general legal uncertainty in this area, the report suggests how the legislation in force could be used or modified in order to foster media freedom and pluralism in a more efficient way.  For a link to the report, click here.

High Court adopts “modern approach” to determining whether a contractual clause is an unenforceable penalty.

The case involved Cavendish, a member of the WPP group of companies, and a Mr Makdessi, the founder and owner of the largest advertising and marketing communications group in the Middle East.  By a fully negotiated agreement dated 28 February 2008 Cavendish agreed to purchase from Makdessi 47.4% (so as to total 60%, as it already owned 12.6%) of the shares in Makdessi’s company, with put and call options in respect of the remaining 40%.  The consideration was payable in a number of instalments, capped at $147.5 million (payable to Makdessi and his non-breaching business partner).  Clause 5.1 provided that no further instalments (potentially up to $40 million) were due to Makdessi from such time as he became a defaulting shareholder, and clause 5.6 (in respect of the 40% under option) provided that the price for such shares would be calculated by reference to net asset value, not taking account of goodwill which was expressly stated in the agreement as being a major factor in the high price.  That goodwill was protected by reference to certain restrictive covenants.

In late 2010 Cavendish identified breaches of the 2008 agreement and Makdessi’s fiduciary duties in that he had continued to be involved with a competitive business.  Proceedings began in December 2010.  Makdessi admitted the breach.   

The parties settled the fiduciary duties claim for the sum of $500,000 but proceedings continued in respect of Makdessi’s breach of the agreement.  Cavendish sought a declaration that Makdessi was a defaulting shareholder and thereby not entitled to be paid any further sums under clause 5.1 and it sought specific performance of Makdessi’s obligation to sell his remaining shares at the lower price.

Amongst other things Makdessi contended that the clauses depriving him of further staged payments and requiring him to sell the shares under option at a lower price were unenforceable penalty clauses. 

Burton J described the modern approach to the concept of penalty as no longer requiring the need for the dichotomy between liquidated damages and genuine pre-estimate of loss, and so the relevant questions in respect of the clauses were as follows: (i) was there a commercial justification for the clause; (ii) was the provision extravagant or oppressive; (iii) was the predominant purpose of the provision to deter breach; and (iv) if relevant, was the provision negotiated on a level playing field?

Burton J was satisfied there was a commercial justification for the non-payment of outstanding instalments, namely a reflection that the value of what Cavendish had purchased was reduced.  Further the fact that the clause had undergone detailed negotiations by experienced solicitors negatived the risk of oppression and there not being a level playing field.

However, Cavendish had already received $500,000, meaning that there was double counting that, when taken together with the no further payment clause, rendered that clause a penalty, resulting in Cavendish receiving an extravagant return which was more than its conceivable or possible loss of value in the shareholding and more than an appropriate adjustment to consideration. 

Following Jobson v Johnson [1989] 1 WLR 1026, Burton J, however, considered himself to have the benefit of jurisdiction and discretion not simply to strike down the clause and leave Cavendish to pursue its loss for breach (much of which would be irrecoverable) but rather to invite Cavendish to give credit for the $500,000, so that it could rely on a clause that would otherwise be unenforceable.  On this basis Burton J gave an order for specific performance in favour of Cavendish.  (Cavendish Square Holdings BV v Talal El Makdessi [2012] EWHC 3582 (Comm) (14 December 2012) – to read the judgment in full, click here.) 

Technology

Nominet warns of registration scam in respect of second level .uk domain names.

Nominet says that it has recently become aware of attempts to persuade unsuspecting users to pay for .uk domain name products that are not yet available and may not become so.  Typical attempts use pressure-selling techniques, Nominet warns, claiming a very limited opportunity to secure a new version of a registrant’s existing domain name.

Nominet has recently been consulting on the possibility of allowing the registration of domains at the second level, i.e. internet.uk, but the decision on whether or how to progress has not yet been taken.  Nominet has been made aware of a scam whereby existing co.uk registrants have been offered the opportunity to pre-register domains with just a .uk ending.  This is not a genuine opportunity and should be rejected, Nominet says.

This type of activity is not new, Nominet says, and warns that similar methods may be used to try to capitalise on the impending changes to the domain name market, including the launch of hundreds of new suffixes in the near future.

Nominet says that registrants should always be wary of any unsolicited calls or emails regarding their domain name or web presence.  Registrants with an existing domain name who receive an unsolicited call or email about its registration should contact their registrar who should be able to give advice and verify if any action needs to be taken.  To read Nominet’s press release in full, click here.

Ofcom consults on Metering and Billing Direction applicable to communications providers.

Ofcom says that a key feature of electronic communications services is that consumers are not readily able to verify that their bills accurately reflect their usage of voice and data services.  This is in part because of the large number of communications services and tariffs and also, unlike for the supply of gas and electricity, there is no meter for consumers to monitor their usage so, although consumers may be able to identify major errors, to a large extent the detail and accuracy of bills is taken on trust.

It is important that such trust is justified, Ofcom says, and that consumer confidence in the accuracy of bills is maintained.  As a consequence, Ofcom requires all providers of electronic communication services to provide accurate bills under General Condition 11.1.

General Condition 11.3 imposes additional requirements on communications providers with a turnover in the provision of Publicly Available Telephone Services (PATS) (i.e. fixed and mobile voice services) of over £40 million per year.  Under General Condition 11.4, such providers are required to obtain approval of their Total Metering and Billing Systems for PATS services from third-party assessors against the requirements of a Direction set by Ofcom.  The third party assessors, called Approval Bodies, are appointed by Ofcom.

Ofcom says that the Direction is essentially a technical standard intended to ensure that communications providers’ billing systems deliver accurate bills.  It includes monitoring and reporting requirements for communications providers and also sets maximum error rates for those systems.  The current Direction was adopted by Ofcom in 2008.  Fixed and mobile voice services are required to meet mandatory compliance requirements in the Direction, whilst data connections (broadband) and Voice over Internet Protocol are subject to voluntary provisions.

In general, Ofcom considers that the Direction is working well.  It therefore proposes that the existing requirements remain largely unchanged.  The proposals it is considering are targeted changes in response to market developments and feedback from communications providers and Approval Bodies.

In summary, Ofcom proposes that:

  • the requirements in respect of fixed and mobile voice services for households and small and medium-sized businesses should remain unchanged;
  • fixed and mobile data services should remain subject to voluntary provisions.  However, the provisions should be reviewed by the Approval Bodies and communications providers and updated to ensure that they remain relevant and effective.  Ofcom will also explore ways to encourage greater adoption of these voluntary provisions;
  • the accuracy and tolerance limits should be removed for services to large business consumers with a telecoms spend in excess of £50,000 per year.  The evidence from communications providers suggests that compliance with these limits is not achievable given the volume of traffic for large businesses;
  • communications providers and Approval Bodies have indicated that the accuracy and tolerance levels for wholesale services are not achievable.  However, as the rest of General Condition 11 does not apply to wholesale services and communications providers are likely to have an incentive and ability to monitor bills from wholesale providers, Ofcom considers it appropriate to remove wholesale services from the Direction rather than simply remove the accuracy and tolerance levels.

The consultation closes on 25 April 2013.  For a link to the relevant documentation, click here.

Ofcom launches monitoring and enforcement programme to assess communications providers’ compliance with rules on complaints handling.

General Condition 14 relates to communications providers’ complaints handling procedures and awareness raising of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

On 22 July 2010, Ofcom published the statement “Review of Consumer Complaints Procedures”, which introduced changes to communications providers’ responsibilities for complaints handling through an amendment to General Condition 14.

After a period of monitoring the complaints to Ofcom’s Consumer Contact Team about communications providers’ complaints handling, Ofcom has launched a monitoring and enforcement programme to assess compliance with the provisions in General Condition 14 and determine whether any further action, including enforcement, is required.

Ofcom’s objectives in launching the programme are:

  • to ensure that communications providers have Codes of Practice that comply with the Ofcom Approved Code of Practice for the Handling of Complaints (at Annex 4 of General Condition 14);
  • to identify any problems (including consumer concerns) in relation to compliance with General Condition 14; and
  • to ensure that communications providers are making consumers aware of ADR and, in particular, to address current concerns that consumers may not typically be receiving the written notification that communications providers are required to send to complainants whose complaints remain unresolved after 8 weeks.

Ofcom says that it may initiate separate investigations of named providers.  Where it does so, these will be announced via its Competition and Consumer Enforcement Bulletin.  Alternatively, it may move directly under the programme to take enforcement action where, for example, it has reasonable grounds for believing that a provider is contravening General Condition 14.  In that case, Ofcom will announce its action via an update on its website.  To read Ofcom’s announcement in full, click here.

Data Protection

Information Commissioner’s Office publishes article-by-article analysis of proposed European data protection reforms.

The ICO has expanded the analysis paper it published last year, providing an in-depth look at the implications of the proposed EU data reform’s key areas. 

The document supplements the initial analysis paper on the European Commission’s legislative proposals that the ICO published in February 2012.  The ICO says that it has had no reason to deviate from the general lines it set out then, which it thinks are still basically right, but that it is in a better position now to set out in more detail its views of the substantive provisions of the proposed Regulation. 

The paper contains comprehensive and detailed analysis of most of the Articles of the Regulation and focuses on areas of uncertainty or issues that the ICO has reservations about.

The ICO says that it will update the paper from time to time to add content and to revise its analysis as events in Europe progress and its own understanding develops.

Commenting on the paper, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said: “There’s no doubt in my mind that the EU’s proposals offer an opportunity to update data protection law for today’s world and tomorrow’s innovations.  But we won’t get two bites of the cherry: history suggests it could be another 18 years until this law is reformed again, so it’s crucial we get it right first time around”.

European telecoms operators support push for level playing field in data protection reforms.

European Commissioner Reding and ETNO (the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association) have called on the European Parliament and Council to ensure that provisions that facilitate a level playing field between all actors of the ICT industry remain a key building block of the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation, in order to guarantee fair competition between EU companies and those based outside of the EU but which operate on Europe’s single market.  This will, they say, guarantee consistent and robust data protection for all consumers.  

At a meeting with Luigi Gambardella, chairman of ETNO, Commissioner Reding said: “We are creating a ‘one-stop-shop’ for data protection in the EU. Data protection compliance will be simpler than ever before.  The Commission has calculated that the revamped rules can save companies up to €2.3 billion per year.  Our proposed rules are creating a level-playing field: non-EU companies, when offering services to EU consumers, will have to apply the same rules and adhere to the same levels of protection of personal data.  The reasoning is simple: if companies outside the EU want to operate on the European market then they have to play by the European rules.  We also need a level-playing field across different sectors.  For example, on data breach notification it makes sense to apply the same rules for operators regulated under the ePrivacy Directive as operators regulated under the data protection rules”.

Luigi Gambardella said: “The Data Protection Regulation is a major move towards establishing a truly level-playing field, allowing all players in the EU to compete on equal footing.  The challenges operators are facing today in the field of data protection are important and we need to put an end to regulatory fragmentation and inconsistent application of the rules to help accelerate the Digital Single Market.  The consistency mechanism in the proposed Data Protection Regulation is crucial to ensure the Commission is there as a backstop when regulators can’t agree a common lineConsumers must be able to benefit from new innovate services based on an intelligent and effective data use.  The new rules help realising the potential of the internal market for digital content and services and will enhance European industry’s competitiveness while at the same time, encouraging more consumers to embrace broadband, in line with the Digital Agenda goals”.

The Commission says that the proposed data protection rules strike the right balance between data protection and innovation.  EU e-communications providers, while continuing to invest in consumer trust and confidence, should be in a position to meet consumer demand for new innovative services.  According to the Commission, the future EU legal framework will allow responsible companies to unlock the potential of personal data through the new digital services that consumers are demanding.  In turn, these services will help generate growth and jobs throughout the EU.

The European Commission says that it will work closely with ETNO and the telecoms industry to continue creating the right legal framework for a competitive telecoms sector that can take advantage of the EU’s Digital Market.  To read the Commission’s press release in full, click here.

Music

Musicians’ Union and British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors criticise Government’s announcement of private copying exception without fair compensation.

The MU notes that the private copying exception is effective in 25 out of 27 European member states, but, it says, “they have all linked this to some form of compensation for the creative community”.

John Smith, MU General Secretary, said: “While we understand the need for this exception to bring the law into line with consumer behaviour, we feel strongly that the lack of fair compensation will significantly disadvantage creators and performers in relation to the vast majority of their EU counterparts.  It is a sobering thought that, despite an outstanding international reputation for British musicians, most MU members earn less than £20,000 a year from their profession.  According to PRS for Music, 90% of UK composers earn less than £5,000 from songwriting royalties.  Some extra income generated under a fair compensation scheme for format shifting, as happens in Europe, finding its way into the pocket of an individual musician or composer, would be of real significance in this context”.

John Smith continued: “What we are arguing for is fair compensation for musicians from the device manufacturers.  These manufacturers are already paying for patents on each device sold, and yet the act of copying onto these devices the “software” the consumer is most interested in – music – is not currently generating any income for musicians, unless it is through legitimate download purchases.  This hardly seems fair – after all, what use is an iPod or an mp3 player without the music?

Sarah Rodgers, BASCA Chairman said: “Composers and songwriters depend on the protection of copyright to enable them to earn a living from their musical works.  Copyright is the legislative framework that for us music writers is the same as being employed – in other words, it’s the way that we get paid for the work that we do.  An exception to copyright, without compensation, for us, is employment without payment.  The creative economy is not supported by denying income to its workers.  This decision makes songwriters and composers vulnerable to erosion of the value of our creative works and what we are able to earn from their use.  It is wrong from both a commercial and a moral standpoint and puts us out of step with our European counterparts”.  To read the press release in full, click here.

Patents County Court finds that record company infringed performer’s rights of singer Jodie Aysha.

In 2004, the claimant, Miss Henderson, whose stage name was Jodie Aysha, composed the lyrics for a song called Heartbroken.  Working with another musician, Mr Tawonezvi, Miss Henderson made a vocal recording of the song.  Two years later, Mr Tawonezvi produced a new, remixed, version of Heartbroken and sent a copy of the track to a DJ, Sean Scott.  Mr Tawonezvi started producing and selling “white label” copies of the song, i.e. he released it on a small scale and on a private basis without the backing of a record company.

The defendant record company, All Around the World, became aware of Heartbroken in early 2007.  At that time it was being played by a number of DJs at clubs and was heavily played on BBC Radio 1’s 1Xtra station.

Mr Tawonezvi then signed with the record company 2NV Records Ltd and All Around the World entered into a contract with 2NV to release Heartbroken.  The contract named the artist as Mr Tawonezvi and purported to give all rights to All Around the World.  By that time Miss Henderson had signed a conventional music publishing agreement with Sony/ATV Music Publishing (UK) Ltd whereby she assigned her copyright in her musical works (including Heartbroken) to Sony.

On 12 November 2007 All Around the World released Heartbroken and it was a big hit.  However, Miss Henderson did not receive any record royalties from the release, nor was she paid for her participation in the video or for the use of her name on the artwork. 

The key issue in the case was whether All Around the World’s release of the song was an infringement of Miss Henderson’s performer’s rights.  The main question was whether Miss Henderson had consented to the release.  All Around the World said that she did and Miss Henderson said that she did not.

The court found that, on the facts, Miss Henderson had not consented to the release by All Around the World of the song in question.  The first recording made of the song had been done with her consent, but the re-mixed version produced subsequently by Mr Tawonezvi had not.  As for the release of the song in 2007, the court said that All Around the World knew that Miss Henderson had not signed up with N2V or with themselves.  Therefore, the company went ahead at risk, and it would have known that the consideration for such a contract would be Miss Henderson’s performer’s consent to the release of the track in return for royalties.  There was no such contract and no such consent.  Further, Miss Henderson’s participation in the promotional video and in the artwork did not mean she had consented to the release of the song.

Accordingly, the court found that the release of Heartbroken by All Around the World, by copying the recording of her performance and issuing to the public copies of the recording was an infringement of Miss Henderson’s performer’s rights contrary to sections 182A and 182B of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.  (Jodie Henderson v All Around the World Recordings Ltd [2013] EWPCC 7 (13 February 2013) – to read the judgment in full, click here).

PRS for Music launches electronic music initiative, Amplify

PRS for Music has announced the launch of Amplify, which it describes as “a new initiative bringing together electronic music writers, producers, publishers and labels to make the most of today’s changing technology and to ensure that writers and producers are benefiting fully from their tracks”.

PRS says that, with electronic music currently achieving worldwide success, many writers and producers are not receiving royalties at the levels they should.  PRS research has shown that:

  • while electronic music programming made up 15% of broadcast hours on BBC Radio 1 in 2011, paying royalties to writers for over 50% of these songs has been impossible due to incomplete track information reported to PRS or writers simply not knowing they can become a member of the organisation and register their songs;
  • DJs are less likely to submit set lists than their guitar-playing counterparts.  Only 35% of set lists were completed at Creamfields and 15% at Glade in 2011.  By comparison, at Reading Festival, a predominantly guitar-based event, 90% of set lists were completed;
  • an average set list for a major electronic music festival such as Glade or Creamfields (approximately 171 sets) can be worth £250 per set.  This means a potential £85,500 is not being paid to the correct writers from these two events alone; and
  • total industry online revenues grew by 20% in 2011 to reach £379 million.  Without adopting the right habits and using the right data, the electronic music community will not be able to earn the royalties they are due from their work, the PRS says.

Highlights of the initiative include:

  • creating an electronic music committee which includes industry figures such as John Truelove (Truelove Music & producer “You Got the Love”), Anglo Management, Hospital Records, Defected Records, Reverb Music and AIM (the Association of Independent Music);
  • working with DJ technology specialists to find ways to report set lists automatically from clubs, radio and live performances;
  • working more closely with music rights societies around the world to ensure royalties are being efficiently collected and distributed; and
  • raising awareness amongst emerging electronic music writers so they join PRS and can start earning from their tracks.

The launch of Amplify comes within two weeks of the launch of the Association for Electronic Music, a non-profit body advocating the value of the genre.  Its co-founder Ben Turner said:Issues around the payment of producers and artists have been a major factor in our thinking of the need for AFEM to exist, and we’ve had some valuable dialogue with PRS for Music on many issues around the genre.  We welcome this initiative as a major part of a collective push from the electronic world to educate the genre and to get people paid and recognised for their work.  We look forward to further discussions and building a strategy with those involved in the “Amplify” initiative”.  To read the PRS press release in full, click here.

Publishing

Government publishes draft Royal Charter on press regulation following Leveson report.

Following various cross-party talks on Lord Justice Leveson’s report, the Government has now produced a draft Royal Charter on self-regulation of the press, which it says “illustrates how a Leveson model might be created without using an Act of Parliament”. 

The Government says that the purpose of the draft provisions for a Royal Charter would be to create a new “Recognition Body” responsible for recognising press self-regulator(s), thereby implementing recommendation 27 of the Leveson Report, which states:

In order to meet the public concern that the organisation by the press of its regulation is by a body which is independent of the press, independent of Parliament and independent of Government, that fulfils the legitimate requirements of such a body and can provide, by way of benefits to its subscribers, recognition of involvement in the maintenance of high standards of journalism, the law must identify those legitimate requirements and provide a mechanism to recognise and certify that a new body meets them”.

Leveson suggested that, in order to achieve this, the new system of press regulation should be supported by a permanent process of recognition, which the courts can rely upon when dealing with litigation involving the press.  According to the Government, one way of providing this would be through the creation of a Royal Chartered body.  The draft operative provisions for a Royal Charter specify the purpose, functions, powers and funding of the Recognition Body, together with a process for appointing people to serve on it. It also sets out the proposed Recognition Criteria that must be met by press self-regulator(s) in order to be recognised.

Royal Charters are granted by Her Majesty The Queen using Royal prerogative powers, and are one way of forming a legal, incorporated, body.  The Queen grants a Royal Charter based on advice from the Privy Council.  Those appointed to the Privy Council mostly comprise Ministers, other parliamentarians and members of the judiciary, although only serving Government ministers are involved in Privy Council matters for the purpose of recommending and granting a Charter.

Royal Charters, because they create a legal entity, become legally binding documents, but unlike a Bill, do not need to be voted on by Parliament.  Royal Chartered bodies can be formed to carry out many different purposes, and the initiation of a Royal Charter can take place in different ways.  In most cases, an existing organisation can seek to acquire chartered status, and make an application to the Privy Council.  Another example is a State sponsored Charter, whereby a body is created for the first time, at the initiation of the Government.  If the option of a Royal Charter were used to create the new press recognition body, it would be a State-sponsored Charter.  For a link to the draft provisions, click here.

Campaign group, Hacked Off, says draft Royal Charter “falls a long way short” of meeting Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations.

Responding to the draft Royal Charter published by the Government (see item above), the campaign group Hacked Off says that the draft Charter does not deliver “the whole of Leveson”, as stated by Prime Minister David Cameron:

  1. The Royal Charter would allow politicians to interfere in press regulation: under the Charter, politicians would be able to interfere with the regulation system, either to undermine press freedom or to “help their friends in the press escape accountability”, the group says.  A chartered organisation is overseen by ministers and the efforts made by ministers to alter that in this case are “simply insufficient”, it says.  In addition, ministers have the right to appoint the chair of the panel that will pick the members of the chartered body.  This “self-evidently reduces the independence of the body, and is a clear breach of Leveson’s recommendations”, the group says.
  2. The Royal Charter would allow the press to be their own judge again: ministers want to give the press a role in choosing the members of the recognition panel, the body that judges whether the press self-regulator is sufficiently effective.
  3. The Royal Charter would provide for a new self-regulator that was little different from the discredited PCC: Leveson made 30 specific recommendations that set out the minimum requirements for a new press self-regulator.  These “recognition criteria” were designed to ensure that the self-regulator would always put the interests of the public before those of the press.  Of those 30, the draft Royal Charter breaches well over half, the group says, and ministers admit that, “all of them are in response to representations from the press – in other words, they have given editors what they demanded”.
  4. The Royal Charter would make victims pay for redress: where Leveson said the new arbitration service should be free for members of the public, the Charter says it should be “inexpensive”, meaning that a regulator would be allowed to charge victims for using an arbitration service.
  5. The Royal Charter would allow the press to pick and choose which complaints it responds to: key Leveson recommendations on complaints, complaints handling and what the press have to do when they are found to have breached their code of practice are not implemented in the Charter.

The campaign group calls on ministers to comply at least with Leveson’s recommendations 82-84, which require complete and up-to-date transparency of dealings they have with the press industry.  To read the response in full, click here.

Film & TV

British Film Institute launches new brand for UK film to boost profile to rest of world.

The BFI and Creative England have announced that the UK’s national and regional film agencies have come together for the first time to create a new internationally-facing brand for UK film We Are UK Film.  Led and managed by the BFI, the new business-to-business umbrella brand will boost the profile of the UK’s film and talent services and filming locations to the rest of the world in a unified and focused way, and provide a platform for the UK to do business with other international territories.  Reflecting the creative excellence and vibrancy of the UK’s film industry alongside its regional diversity, the new branding will be featured at international film festivals, markets and online (via www.weareukfilm.com).

The BFI says that the new branding reflects a strategic direction designed to maximise the impact of film overall in the business market place.  It aims to support the future growth of UK film overseas box office receipts, export sales, inward investment and co-production.  It will also support activity including cultural diplomacy and exchange, policy, advocacy, and will continue to underline the huge impact that UK film talent and skills has internationally.

The nine UK film partner organisations are the BFI, the British Film Commission, the British Council, Film Export UK, Creative England, Creative Scotland, Northern Ireland Screen, Film Agency for Wales and Film London, with the potential for other organisations and businesses to adopt the new branding.  We Are UK Film will also work collaboratively with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Great Campaign, UKTI and Pact to reach an international audience.

The new We Are UK Film branding will be rolled out over the coming months at festivals including the Cannes International Film Festival, Tribeca and SXSW and the new artwork will be used for the stands, brochures, invitations and on all trade marketing and advertising.  To read the press release in full, click here.

Advertising

ASA considers Chanel ad featuring Keira Knightley too sexy to be shown during children’s programming.

A TV ad for the perfume Coco Mademoiselle included scenes that showed the actress Keira Knightley being photographed on a bed.  The photographer was shown unzipping her clothes before she undressed herself, showing her shoulders and part of her back.  The actress was then shown dressed only in a bed sheet crawling towards the photographer before lying back on the bed.  The photographer appeared about to kiss her when she put a finger to his lips and said “lock the door”.  The ad was cleared by Clearcast with no scheduling restriction.

The complainant, who saw the ad during the film Ice Age 2, challenged whether the ad was suitable to be broadcast during a film that was likely to appeal to children because she believed it was overtly sexual.

The ASA acknowledged that the undressing in the ad took place in the context of a photo shoot but nevertheless considered those scenes involved sexually suggestive content.  It noted that the photographer was directly involved in unzipping the actress’s garments and that there was a suggestion that she was naked aside from a bed sheet.  It also noted that there was clear sexual tension between the pair and that they appeared about to kiss on the bed. 

The ASA considered the ad was suitable for older children, but that the sexually suggestive material was unsuitable for young children.  Since Ice Age 2 was of particular appeal to children the ASA concluded that the ad was inappropriately scheduled and an ex-kids restriction should have been applied.  The ad breached BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Scheduling).  To read ASA Adjudication on Chanel Ltd (13 February 2013), click here.

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