The telecommunications, media and technology industries are characterised by rapid regulatory and technological change. Working at the forefront of these developments with industry, regulators and policy-makers, our team has played an integral role in events which have redefined the media and telecommunications landscape of Australia.
The Clayton Utz team's strong track record is complemented by our ability to advise on all aspects of our clients' business including corporate and transactional issues in major mergers and acquisitions, commercial transactions such as content arrangements and IT outsourcing, copyright and other intellectual property issues, commercial litigation and regulatory proceedings.
Our Australian and internationally based clients include major telcos, television and radio networks, content providers, private equity firms, banks (international and local), sporting bodies, film production companies, government agencies, regulators, online service providers, new media companies, media personalities and their agents, print and digital publishers, and IT software and equipment suppliers and their users.
Our understanding of intellectual property means we can also help with research, product development, database management and confidentiality.
Our Telecommunications, Media and Technology team offers a seamless service, utilising expertise from all relevant practice areas. Our clients compliment us on this, as well as our deep industry knowledge and our consistent drive to understand their needs.
Seven Network: We act for Seven in respect of its acquisition of major sporting rights including Australian Football League and Olympic Games rights. We advised Seven on its acquisition of AFL free-to-air television broadcasting rights for 2012-2016. This historic deal saw Seven and Foxtel acquire broadcasting rights and Telstra acquire online rights from the AFL for a total consideration of A$1.253 billion. The transaction has been described as a "landmark agreement" and was hailed by Channel Seven boss David Leckie as a "great deal for the AFL and a great deal for us."
We also act for Seven on a range of other corporate and commercial matters including Seven's retransmission agreement with Foxtel and its exclusive agreement with TiVO Inc to launch the TiVO DVR in Australia.
Macquarie Media Group – Southern Cross Broadcasting acquisition: We advised on the A$1.35 billion (approx.) acquisition by Macquarie Media Group (MMG) of Southern Cross Broadcasting Limited (SBC) by scheme of arrangement and, following the completion of the scheme, Fairfax Media's acquisition of Southern Cross' radio business, Southern Star, Satellite Music Australia and other associated businesses. The transaction established MMG as the most significant combined radio and television broadcasting operator in regional Australia. This transaction has also involved working closely with regulators on complex and new areas of analysis. The primary acquisition and secondary on-sale were the first and second cross-media transactions following amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act. It was also the first opportunity for the ACCC to analyse cross-media competition policy in media markets.
Network Ten Pty Limited: Network TEN has announced the launch of a new digital multi-channel to be called ELEVEN and the formation of a joint venture with US-based CBS Studios called ElevenCo. (Network Ten will hold 66.6% equity in ElevenCo, with CBS Studios holding the remaining 33.3% share). Clayton Utz advised on all aspects of the arrangements.
Australian Paralympics Committee: We acted on APC's commercial agreements for the 2012 London Paralympic Games including in relation to broadcasting rights, sponsorship, media, team selection, licensing agreements and other marketing and promotional matters. This also involved being aware of the Australian Paralympics Committee's sensitivity to media exposure and its recent efforts to increase its profile. Involvement with the Paralympics Committee extends our longstanding engagement with peak sports bodies on Australia including the Australian Olympics Committee in relation to past Olympic games.
SANZAR: We are the global adviser for SANZAR and its European entity SANZAR Europe. We acted on the broadcasting rights throughout the world including deals with Premier Media Group (Australia), Sky Television Limited (New Zealand) and SuperSport (South Africa), BSkyB (UK), Canal Plus (France), Sky Italia (Italy), EPSN Sur (Latin America) for the 2011 to 2015 television, internet, IPTV and mobile rights for Tri Nations, Super Rugby, Inbound Tours, the British and Irish Lions Tour and various domestic competitions. We continue to act for SANZAR on its joint venture arrangements and broadcasting rights deals globally including in the UK, France, Latin America, Japan and the USA.
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy: Regional Backhaul Blackspots Program: Clayton Utz was the principal adviser to the Federal Government on its program to invest up to $250 million in competitive backbone fibre optic transmission links to priority regional locations, as an initial investment in infrastructure for the NBN.
High Court constitutional proceedings: Clayton Utz's litigation team successfully represented our client Optus as one of a number of defendants in a high-profile matter brought by Telstra in the High Court. The litigation concerned the operation of the access regime in Part XIC of the Trade Practices Act and whether it gave rise to an acquisition of Telstra's property otherwise than on just terms in breach of section 51(xxxi) of the Constitution.
Access proceedings: We advised Optus on all aspects of its strategically critical disputes with Telstra in relation to local access including for the Unconditioned Local Loop Service (ULLS), Line Sharing Service (LSS), PSTN origination and termination (PSTN OTA), Local Call Resale (LCR) and Wholesale Line Rental (WLR), including commercial negotiations, arbitrations before the ACCC and appeals before the Australian Competition Tribunal and the Federal Court in respect of final access determinations made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Department of Defence: We are providing advice on procurement of Terrestrial Communications (TC) Services. This matter is high profile for Commonwealth Government, including from a whole-of-government perspective. With the TC procurement, Defence intends to replace its existing telecommunications contracts (of which there are over 400) with one contract with a prime supplier for the provision of Defence's end to end telecommunications services. The resultant contract will be a strategic outcomes based contract and will be managed so as to be integrated across other IT providers according to an ITIL model.
Federal Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts: Clayton Utz represented Senator Coonan and, since the change of Government, Senator Stephen Conroy as Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, and the Commonwealth in relation to the application for preliminary discovery brought by Telstra in the Federal Court. Telstra sought preliminary discovery of a range of documents relating to the Australian Government’s grant of A$958 million in funding to OPEL Networks Pty Limited (a consortium of Optus and Elders) pursuant to the Broadband Connect Infrastructure Program.
Department of Immigration and Citizenship: We are providing advice on procurement of Cloud Computing option for visa applications and other matters. This is a pioneering project for the Commonwealth Government, which has, to date, been reluctant to use cloud computing technologies and is yet to finalise its policy in relation to use of these technologies. We also advised on Biometric solution for overseas visa applications. This project involved the piloting of new technologies for provision and collection of biometrics as part of visa applications offshore. This raised complex security and privacy issues.
Major Australian Bank - Mobile virtual network operator: Clayton Utz is acting for a major Australian bank in the financing of a new style of MVNO which will soon be released in the Australian market.
Spotless Group Limited: We advised Spotless on its transformation initiative. This project is driving Spotless' growth agenda by replacing over 60 core systems with SAP and re-engineering the majority of Spotless’ business processes including Service and Asset Management, Labour Management, CRM, Supply Chain Management and Finance. Clayton Utz advised throughout the procurement of software and maintenance services from SAP, and design and implementation services from Tata Consultancy Services. This included procurement and commercial strategy, contract development, negotiation and management.
Attorney-General's Department (NSW): We are advising the Crown Solicitor's Office on the Justice Link project. This is a centralised online database system that will be used in all NSW courts. Linking all district and local courts and the NSW Police records, the database feature e-filing, case filing, warrants, and transcript request. The New South Wales Courts system is one of the largest in the world providing an integrated administration covering the Supreme, District and Local Courts as well as the Sheriff's Office. The project is groundbreaking and when implemented will revolutionise legal administration in New South Wales.
Sharman Networks: Clayton Utz acted for Sharman Networks (and others) in a dispute with the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners' Society and the Australasian Performing Right Association and their global affiliates (as representatives of music publishers) concerning allegations of infringement of copyright in musical works arising out of the distribution and use of the KaZaA peer-to-peer file sharing software. The dispute ultimately settled.
We were also involved in a court application by Merlin, acting on behalf of independent record labels to access the court file from the landmark KaZaA litigation between Sharman (and others) and the major record companies concerning copyright in sound recordings. Merlin is seeking access to the court file as part of an attempt to claim damages on behalf of its members for alleged past infringements. This was part of a global dispute and was a follow-on from the KaZaA litigation. The matter raised important issues in terms of the liability of the developers and distributors of online technology, where such technology affects the rights of copyright owners.
Department of Education and Communities (NSW): Clayton Utz is advising on the Learning Management and Business Reform Program – a multi-phase program to transform the way that the Department manages and delivers student administration, human resources and finance services. In Phase 1, we established the whole of NSW government SAP licence and a system supply agreement with SAP to design and implement finance and HR/payroll through part of the Department. In Phase 2, we are assisting the Department to engage a service provider to transform business operations, complete the rollout of SAP and deliver student administration and learning management functions. Our role has been to assist the Department throughout the sourcing processes for the program, from commercial strategy, tender development and evaluation to contract negotiation and management. The program is one of the largest in the Asia Pacific region and will deliver significant benefits to the NSW Government.