International law firm Bird & Bird advised Elite World Group ("Elite"), the world's largest model management network, on the establishment of a new agency called EWG Virtual ("EWG").
EWG, which is a joint venture with leading digital artist, Phillip Mearman, will create digitized versions of real life talents and models, enabling Elite to offer its clients the opportunity to book digitized versions of real life models for use in a broad array of events including virtual fashion shows, video games, live online events and on social media. EWG's full-service operation will scan and digitize models into computer generated images (or CGIs) and create virtual environments for use in such events.
Elite represents over 3,700 models across 35 offices around the globe, including many well-known talents and models.
Julia Haart, CEO and co-owner of Elite Model World Group says: “Given the situation in the world today, we asked ourselves what if our talent could work in a fully digital environment with no constraints on time, location or setting. We began laying out the foundation last year to create virtual opportunities for our talent. The team at Bird & Bird were on hand to provide us with exceptional legal support to help us establish this exciting new venture. We can now provide our talents and models with the opportunity to extend their own brands and increase their opportunities to work no matter where they may be in the world."
James Baillieu, partner in the Corporate practice at Bird & Bird adds: "It's been a pleasure advising Julia and her team at Elite on this joint venture. Businesses are continuing to innovate, both as a result of advances in technology but also in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This venture illustrates both of these trends perfectly, with Elite expanding its service offering to its clients in an exciting and relevant way. It also demonstrates our ability to work on cutting edge deals for our clients. I look forward to working with the team at Elite again in the future."
The project was led by London Corporate partner James Baillieu with assistance from associates Mark Penwarden and Richie Lamb on the corporate aspects, partner Rob Turner and associate Lewis Calder on the image rights and licensing arrangements, with further support from partners Tim Spillane and Elizabeth Lang on employment issues and legal director Simon Gough on tax issues.