EXCLUSIVE: A new boutique law firm dedicated to serving the creative and entertainment industries will open its doors in Sydney’s suburb of Surry Hills this week.
Kay & Hughes, founded by Kate Hughes and Ben Kay, launches on Thursday with a mandate to better cater to the needs of advertising agencies, production companies and art galleries.
“There were a number of gaps in the legal services being provided to the industry already and by making ourselves independent and giving ourselves free reign to work how we liked, we felt we would be in a position to fill those gaps,” Hughes told B&T.
“The advertising industry, like other creative industries, has a number of vulnerabilities in relation to its relationship with lawyers. That is the fact that the advertising industries are often quite isolated from the law so for them to bridge the knowledge gap required is difficult. They really need the help of specialists,” she said.
Both Kay and Hughes have interesting creative back stories.
Hughes is married to Evan Hughes, manager of the renowned The Hughes Gallery (formerly Ray Hughes Gallery) in Surry Hills, and son of veteran art dealer, Ray Hughes. Kay’s father is a big live theatre producer in Melbourne.
“We are both very personally and emotionally invested in this area and have very close personal connection to the industry. So we know how difficult dealing with lawyers can be for people in this area,” Kay told B&T.
The pair has set up shop at a watershed moment in the history of media law. Digital media, and particularly social media, is evolving at such a rapid rate that intellectual property and copyright law is struggling to keep up.
“The law is necessarily a slowly evolving thing and law is still catching up with the internet,” said Kay.
“Everything moves so fast now and we are dealing with a global creative industry, but laws are fundamentally territorial. So not only are you dealing with Australian laws that are slightly outdated, you are dealing with American, English and Asian laws that are slightly outdated and that does make this tricky,” he said.
Social is one grey area which the partners aim to help their clients navigate.
“The law hasn’t really even started to wrap its head around social yet. Basically you are applying laws that were created for mediums like print and broadcast to completely new concepts. Our job is to advise on how these laws that have been drafted to apply for these older mediums might apply to these newer technologies,” said Hughes.
For creative agencies and entertainment producers, the challenges are vast. In a world where everyone is a publisher, questions over IP and copyright are becoming exponentially complex.
“Intellectual property laws should be enforced via a reasonable amount over control over different mediums and that was easier when you had publishing presses and a couple of broadcast networks and people who were clearly responsible for channeling content onto those mediums.
“But social media means little fish suddenly become content distributors, and copyright law which was devised and created and planned around very big content distribution methods suddenly has to deal with every person on the planet becoming a publisher.
"They are trying to deal with it – there is a copyright review taking place at the moment but copyright law is really a complex area and people are quite hesitant to reform it drastically because there is so much economic importance in copyright. It’s a form of property and the second you change the boundaries of any kind of property rights you are changing peoples rights and their finances. And social media is just one more thing that challenges copyrighting,” said Kay.
One of the firm’s major points of difference is its billing structure which does away with minute-by-minute charges. Partners will provide upfront quotes for entire jobs, which they will stick to.
“Under the traditional model your legal fees are basically a question mark. We are trying to stop the discomfort and fear associated with that,” said Kay.
“The traditional model sees law firms bill for phonecalls, letters, emails. Everything is commodified and transactional. That model wasn’t really allowing us to provide the advice we wanted to provide people. When you bill every minute it necessarily limits how much time you can spend on the matter. Everyone has a limited budget and if you want to do things properly it takes time,” added Hughes.
Kay & Hughes opens its doors on Thursday 28th February.
Please login with linkedin to comment
Amazon has released new work ahead of Christmas that plays on the idea many of its customers trawl its website on company time. The ad, called “Don’t get caught”, is the work of its in-house agency and comes with a cheesy retro feel and equally irritating theme song. The spot was aimed at Cyber Monday […]
Monash University has launched the next iteration of its multi-award winning, thought-provoking and inspiring brand #ChangeIt campaign: Create Change. As children, we all have big hopes and dreams. But are we creating the change we once imagined? Using the power of AI, the new Monash campaign creates versions of our younger selves in a series […]
Foot Locker, in collaboration with Nike, has teamed up with Preacher and BURN for the launch of its global holiday campaign, “The Heart of Sneakers”. Directed by Greg Hardes and starring NBA’s Kevin Durant, the commercial is part of a larger Foot Locker rollout out which also features the likes of LaMelo Ball and Anthony […]
TEAM LEWIS, the global marketing agency, has announced plans to rapidly expand its Australia team with 10 new hires, including Head of Creative and Head of Social roles. Lead image: TEAM LEWIS, left to right – Chris McGhee, Director, AU; Smitha Virik, Regional Head of Client Services, APAC; Martin Harkin, Managing Director, AU. The independent […]
Meta has appointed Icon Agency and Snack Drawer as its Australian PR agencies of record, and Pead as its New Zealand PR agency of record, following a competitive pitch process. Together, Icon Agency and Pead will deliver a mix of corporate, B2B, policy, and consumer communications in Australia and New Zealand respectively. Snack Drawer will […]
Publicis Sapient, a digital business transformation company, today announced the launch of a new joint venture with Tquila called PS Hummingbird. Lead image: Nigel Vaz CEO of Publicis Sapient The partnership with Tquila, with whom Publicis Sapient has collaborated on several other ventures, will extend Publicis Sapient’s generative AI offerings powered by Microsoft Azure, Microsoft […]
oOh!media has appointed former ASX Group head of human resources, Lisa Green (lead image), as chief people and culture officer. Experienced in leading business transformation initiatives at times of significant growth, Green will head the delivery of oOh!’s strategy across its 900-strong team, including key responsibility for oOh!’s values and DEI objectives. With over 25 […]
Anathea Ruys is not only one of the most important people in agency land, but also one of the nicest. Ruys has been the CEO of UM Australia for almost three years, following stints at agencies across Asia and the US. She also recently featured on, talking about her prior life as a journalist. With […]
With the countdown to the summer holidays on, PR and creative agency Keep Left has launched an integrated brand campaign for PassportCard, its first work for the new travel insurance disruptor. The campaign ‘When ‘It’ Happens’ leans into the reality that no matter how prepared you are when you travel, unexpected things can happen that […]
Christina Aguilera’s arrival in Australia for the first time in 15 years gave Menulog and Thinkerbell a unique opportunity to launch the new global TVC and brand campaign in a locally relevant way for Australians. Utilising Menulog’s distinctive delivery bag, Thinkerbell recruited Australian Indie designer By Weave Collection, to re-imagine it and create a star-studded […]
Independent Media Agencies of Australia (IMAA), the national, not-for-profit industry association for the independent media agency industry, today announced a new Board of Directors and a changing of the guard as the industry body enters its fourth year. Lead Image: 2023 Leadership Team The IMAA was founded in 2020 by five independent media agency directors […]
With the “Louie The Flyhunt” campaign, Australians are invited to participate in a unique experience that combines traditional manhunt tropes with cutting-edge technology. Set against the backdrop of the opening of Australia’s fly season, Mortein’s campaign features the notorious Australian icon, Louie the Fly, as the target in a thrilling fly hunt. Wanted posters featuring […]
We’re living in challenging economic times and, sadly, marketing departments often have their budgets cut first. At the same, companies are asking those same departments to produce more whilst cutting costs. That can seem like an un-squareable circle and, frankly, can be quite demoralising for teams. Marketing teams can save money, however. Over the past […]
Social Indigenous Enterprise We Are Warriors (WAW), supported by creative innovation studio R/GA Australia, has been selected to produce the City of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve Calling Country live performance as part of the 9pm firework show. Lead image L-R: WAW co-founders Ben Miles & Nooky. The performance will feature a special Welcome to Country […]
With just over 24 hours to go until the world premiere of Addy Lala and the Mood Tea Thieves, limited tickets are still available for the pantomime, which will run for one night only at the Everest Theatre in Sydney’s Seymour Centre on December 5th. All in the industry are encouraged to come along to […]