Film & TV Law: Content Gathering and New Technologies

Tuesday August 15, 2017

Grant McAvaney, is a senior media and entertainment lawyer with extensive litigation and commercial law experience. Grant performed significant work (both as a solicitor and as counsel) for a variety of News Limited entities while at Minter Ellison where he was a Partner. He was later Senior Legal Counsel at Ninemsn, before joining the ABC to head their litigation team. The ABC provides Grant with a variety of complex and interesting matters which come from all areas including News, Radio, TV, Online and Factual alike. Grant’s wealth of varied legal experience includes pre-publication work, defamation, contempt, newsgathering, intellectual property, privacy and confidentiality, contractual issues and legislative/policy reviews. He has also been active in the wider profession, including lecturing media law to University students and members of the Media & Entertainment Arts Alliance, and he was recently awarded a 2017 Pro Bono Award by the Arts Law Centre of Australia.

You can hear more from Grant at 10th Annual Film and TV Law Conference seminar, being held on Thursday 14 September at Primus Hotel Sydney

He joined Christopher Sanchez of Legalwise Seminars to discuss issues about Film & TV Law.

You can find the full Q&A below.

What do people sometimes overlook or misunderstand related to content gathering?

Program makers readily focus on whether or not “what” they are publishing is legally safe. Naturally, questions are asked about whether legislative restrictions on the identifications of certain individuals come into play, or whether something might be defamatory. However, often legal problems arise from the “how” that information is collected. Where did it come from? Was it leaked? Was it carefully protected, secret information? Was it from an off-the-record source? Those ‘behind the scenes’ considerations need to be considered at an early production stage, and are just as important as the “what” questions.

What sort of impact do you see developing technologies such as drones, cameras, and recording and surveillance devices having on collecting information and images in the film and TV industry?

The ease by which information can be collected – especially covertly – will continue to cause a tension between what is legally problematic, and what is creatively, artistically or editorially desirable. These kinds of technologies can now be sourced easily and cheaply, and some content makers may not appreciate the number of legal issues that can be caused by what might seem a small, harmless drone purchased at the local Apple store… or even your personal phone!




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