Picture the scene. You're the chairman of an agency which has just
won a multimillion-pound account. Your board is downing Champagne and
your front-page story in Campaign is guaranteed.
Suddenly your celebration is cut short by the dedicated account team
from the client's former agency, demanding to continue working on the
Refusing your demand to go forth and multiply, they claim they've become
employees of your agency by virtue of the Transfer of Undertakings
(Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981. To make matters worse, the
losing agency has made the team redundant and you face being hit by
transferred claims for unfair dismissal.
You think it couldn't happen? Think again, Roger Alexander, a senior
partner at the media law firm Lewis Silkin, warns. Apparently, the
relentless outpouring of new employment laws from Europe is throwing up
so many novel and unexpected issues that m'learned friends will never
want for a new brief.
But his may be the least of the industry's worries, according to the
firm's predictions for 2002.
In the US - where else? - the battle over publicity rights is heading
from the ridiculous to the downright bizarre. The trend began in
California's 9th Circuit Court, which has become so protective of such
rights that it is known as "the circuit of the stars".
Alexander says: "We predict that someone purporting to have exclusive
rights to represent the estate of the late Mr Osama Bin Laden will
commence proceedings in Los Angeles for infringement of his publicity
rights arising from a website running an unauthorised 'hunt the
Alexander's other big forecast for the year: Publicis to take a majority
stake in M&C Saatchi and merge it with Saatchi & Saatchi. But we all
know that, don't we?