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Legal tips and trends for Creative Design Agencies in 2024

The last year was a busy and challenging one for the creative and digital sectors and we expect 2024 to be no different. With that in mind, here are some top legal tips and trends for Creative Digital Agencies for 2024:

AI Generated Output

This year we expect agencies to use generative AI tools increasingly and not just for internal collaboration and idea harvesting. Clients are likely to relax about the use of AI tools as part of agency services, provided agencies take responsibility for the output. This means agencies must use commercial AI generators which licence the rights to the entire output appropriately or create closed AI models from wholly owned content and datasets. Changes to client contracts will be needed.

Legal risks

Change whilst exciting, is never without risk. We expect the rise in use of generative AI tools will lead to legal claims around confidentiality, contract, privacy and data breaches. We also expect much more legal debate around intellectual property rights and their infringement. Agencies will also need to keep abreast of and react to the new UK and EU legislation addressing generative AI which is expected this year.  To assist clients with this, we recently published this note which looks at the forthcoming UK and EU legislation, as well as important litigation cases to watch. We also have our AI Business Guide which aims to help both in-house lawyers and senior executives in improving their understanding of AI and associated key legal issues.

Joint Ventures and Partnerships

Innovative agencies will collaborate and partner with others to build shared generative AI models to optimise data sets, intellectual property assets and enable their teams to work smarter. Whilst the costs will come down, investment in AI is significant, so collaboration amongst smaller businesses is key.  Think about opportunities for shared datasets, coding, testing and design assets.

Play to Work Smarter

Efficiencies will be driven by those businesses who invest in and let teams play and develop smarter working through technology changes.

Value Based Pricing

The wider adoption of generative AI tools into service offerings by agencies will inevitably open value-based pricing discussions – the brave may even drop time sheets and day rates. Any creative changes to pricing will require similar contractual creativity to protect all sides.

Online Advertising

There is a lot of new legislation around online advertising and marketing which needs to be integrated into 2024 campaigns; including the much talked about UK Online Safety Act 2023 and EU Digital Services Act, and agencies must ensure responsibility for legal compliance is clearly delineated in all client and supplier relationships.

Be Green

Agencies working with consumer facing clients will need to keep a close eye on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over 2024. Under the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill (DMCC Bill), which is currently at Committee stage in the House of Lords, the CMA will have direct enforcement and fining powers. The CMA has prioritised green washing and bad online behaviour as key areas of focus.  With fines of up to 10% of global turnover, it will require online consumer facing businesses to step up and validate green credentials. Clients will seek to pass down these risks - so expect new client contract terms here. The DMCC Bill will also introduce new regimes for subscription contracts and fake reviews, so consumer sites and platforms may well need to be reviewed.

No doubt the upcoming Spring Budget and General Election 2024 will also throw plenty more challenges and opportunities into the mix for Creative Design Agencies, so here’s to a very busy but exciting year ahead.

Our expertise

We have a strong commercial team with extensive experience advising UK and international clients.

We use our experience to give clients personalised advice across a full spectrum of legal issues including commercial contracts, intellectual property, media, technology, outsourcing, and data protection matters.

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