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Germany > Media > Entertainment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Media: entertainment
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Media: digital content
  4. Media: gaming
  5. Media: copyright disputes
  6. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Winfried Bullinger - CMS
    • Johannes Kreile - Noerr
    • Mathias Schwarz - SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte
    • Christoph Wagner - Morrison & Foerster LLP

Who Represents Who

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Noerr ranks among the leading media practices in Germany and is particularly renowned for its advice on cross-border film financings and productions, contentious media matters and the digitalisation of business models. In recent cutting-edge work, practice head Ulrich Michel and Hans Radau assisted GFM Film with an innovative English-German co-financing structure and Johannes Kreile advised German producer association Allianz Deutscher Produzenten – Film & Fernsehen e.V. on a framework agreement with television station ARD, which led to the creation of Eckpunkte 2.0, a contractual terms paper that will guarantee a fair distribution of exploitation rights. The group also has considerable experience in advising on corporate, antitrust and IT-related media issues. Copyright work included assisting publisher Suhrkamp Verlag with copyright issues related to the filming of Hermann Hesse’s Narziss und Goldmund and, in another digital work highlight, advising Playbuzz on contractual matters concerning the sharing of user-generated content.

Having a tremendous reputation for its impressively broad media expertise, SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte’s practice is highly experienced in traditional media matters, but performs equally adeptly in the full spread of digital issues. The group recently assisted a Swiss financing company with international film investments in US productions, advised a television production company on contractual and financing issues concerning the first German-speaking VOD series and assisted Gulliveo with its business development and platform contracts pertaining to B2B online licensing of audiovisual content. The team is also well versed in copyright disputes and regularly represents Warner Music, Universal Music, Sony Music, Constantin Film, Wild Bunch and WVG Medien against illegal streaming platforms. Notably, the group’s gaming expertise is frequently requested by software producers and publishers, such as SEGA Europe and Ubisoft Entertainment. Practice head Andreas Peschel-Mehner is recommended along with film financing and copyright expert Martin Diesbach.

Brehm & v. Moers’s media practice ‘knows the film industry’s needs thoroughly’, not least because of its longstanding experience in advising on domestic and cross-border film funding, financing and production. The group also advises high-profile companies and start-ups on online matters ‘at a remarkably high service level’ and assists with digital business models, digital content production and gaming, which is an area of specialism for Kai Bodensiek. Other fields of traditional media expertise include art, advertising and music law as well as media compliance. Wolfgang Brehm and Stefan v. Moers are the key contacts for the entire spectrum of film advice.

Considered by some as a ‘first choice’ for digital media matters, the team at CMS is ‘always helpful’ and advises on innovative digital business models, copyright law, gaming, digital media regulatory matters and media-related antitrust cases. Recent high-profile work includes Pietro Graf Fringuelli assisting Turtle Entertainment with the foundation of the World Esports Association, while the team gave an opinion to various media companies on a new copyright act proposed by the German government. Sebastian Cording heads the practice, which also capably handles advertising, film and licensing matters.

Greenberg Traurig LLP’s ‘very good’ expertise spans traditional media matters such as film financing, co-production and film funding, media-related antitrust issues, and digital media advice; notable focuses are the development of VOD and OTT platforms, as well as streaming services. Recent mandates include advising the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on the drafting of funding directives for the production of movies and series to incentivise digital productions and also assisted several high-profile clients with international film productions, such as advising Network Movie on a German-Swedish-US co-production. Stefan Lütje heads the ‘very strong’ team, in which Viola Bensinger impresses with ‘legal competence, business acumen and negotiation skills’.

Morrison & Foerster LLP is renowned for its strong transactional and antitrust media practice, but the three-partner group has recently significantly expanded its international film industry experience, in which it advises on funding, financing and production. Counsel Christiane Stützle assisted 20th Century Fox Television with the production of Homeland’s fifth season and advised Paramount Television on the corporate and transactional aspects of the financing and production of US series Berlin Station. In other notable work, Christoph Wagner advised Viacom International Media Networks on a television and video marketing joint venture with Axel Springer, and Andreas Grünwald, along with recently promoted partner Kristina Ehle, assisted a cable network operator with setting up a digital television platform.

Hertin & Partner is one of the most visible and highly regarded practices for copyright disputes: in 2016, the team defended Stars in Concert Veranstaltungs GmbH against a copyright and trade mark infringement claim brought by the Blues Brothers related to a German Doppelgänger show. In other work, it represented numerous dubbing actors and screenwriters as plaintiffs in remuneration claims against Studio Canal, Tele München, Fox and WDR, and also represented various theatres in licensing disputes. Sandra Wagner is ‘very strong’ and of counsel Paul Hertin is particularly experienced in representing claimants against performance rights organisation GEMA.

While K&L Gates LLP’s media practice traditionally focuses on representing collecting societies in antitrust and copyright disputes pertaining to cable retransmission, the team is also well versed in advising on music law, the licensing of MOD and VOD platforms as well as representing clients in media disputes. Recent highlights include representing DFL in civil and criminal proceedings as a plaintiff against illegal streaming services. VG Media, Maxdome and MyVideo Broadband are also clients. Practice head Martin von Albrecht is highly regarded and recently promoted partner Friederike Gräfin von Brühl focuses on copyright and art law.

Lausen Rechtsanwälte is ‘a top firm’ for traditional media and copyright advice, and also assists broadcasting companies, agencies, media corporations and production companies with the whole array of media law, including film production and licensing. The group also has notable experience in contentious cases, such as representing performance rights organisation GEMA as plaintiff in a damages and liability claim against YouTube. Matthias Lausen is the key contact.

Taylor Wessing’s TMT group stands out for its ‘responsiveness, top availability and very good industry knowledge’. The team’s advisory work mainly focuses on the interface between media and technology matters, which has led to a strong standing in the gaming industry as well as with clients seeking support in copyright and media disputes. Notable work highlights included advising Nintendo of Europe on e-commerce and other matters, and assisting Google and YouTube with the copyright and media aspects of product designs and contentious representation. Gregor Schmid and Tobias Schelinski are highly sought-after experts in gaming-related matters; Britta Heymann and Thanos Rammos made partner.

Unverzagt Von Have’s highly regarded and internationally renowned film and television practice advises on the entire life cycle of motion pictures, television films and online series, as well as other web-based content, CGI and 3D productions. Recent matters included assisting Studio Babelsberg with the production of US television series Homeland, and Berlin Station and the motion pictures, Captain America and The Eagle. In other work, the team advised a publisher on the acquisition of a film rights portfolio. BBC Worldwide, Lago Film and i2i are also clients.

Boehmert & Boehmert’s team has substantial expertise in advising on copyright matters, where it assists film, music and literature corporations as well as clients in the design, art and software industry with assessments, licensing and disputes. Practice head Jan Bernd Nordemann and his group advised various associations on a project related to the self-regulation of advertising on copyright-infringing websites and also represents numerous media associations in antitrust matters.

Graef Rechtsanwälte’s ‘outstanding’ media team performs at ‘a very high level of service’, has ‘very good industry knowledge’ and impresses clients with ‘goal-oriented solutions in conflict situations’. The group’s expertise spans gaming, copyright, e-commerce and comprehensive assistance with film and television productions, such as recently advising AVE Gesellschaft für Fernsehproduktion on the co-production of Meine Tochter Anne Frank. Gaming key contact Christian Rauda also assisted Beardshaker Games and Giants Software with contractual matters. Ralph Graef is ‘a very good media lawyer’.

Hengeler Mueller combines ‘outstanding advice’ with ‘highly topical media law expertise and very good knowledge of the industry and its players’. Headed by Albrecht Conrad and Wolfgang Spoerr, the ‘excellent’ team focuses on assisting network operators and platforms with regulatory, contractual, transactional and copyright matters: recent highlights include defending YouTube against a damages claim brought by GEMA and advising Axel Springer on its €306m acquisition of a majority stake in Business Insider.

KVLegal’s ‘outstanding’ media practice ‘makes clients feel extraordinarily well treated’. The ‘exceptionally well-versed’ Christlieb Klages and Urs Verweyen, who ‘focuses on clients’ interests’, lead the practice, which assists clients with e-commerce, copyright and digital media matters, as well as with IT and trade mark-related media issues. The team recently advised technology and computer association Zitco on copyright fees for storage media and, on the contentious side, represented a private individual in a dispute with a social media platform.

Klinkert Rechtsanwälte PartGmbB handles media and copyright matters ‘comprehensively and at a very high service level’. Recently, the group assisted RealNetworks with the copyright aspects of the development of innovative entertainment products and advised US fashion blog Refinery29 on copyright, media and e-commerce matters pertaining to its European roll-out. Hermann Schlindwein has considerable experience in advising on media matters in the sports sector and practice head Piet Bubenzer combines ‘technical expertise, constant availability and friendliness’.

McDermott Will & Emery Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater LLP advises domestic and international media clients on copyright issues, media transactions, programme dissemination and contentious matters. In recent work, the group assisted Studio100 with the sale of its Tabaluga rights portfolio to Peter Maffay and represented IP Deutschland and RTL Interactive as plaintiffs in a dispute regarding the legitimacy of ad blocks against Eyeo. Ralf Weisser and Wolfgang von Frentz are the names to note.

Boutique practice Scheuermann Westerhoff Strittmatter has a six-partner team with longstanding experience in assisting musicians, music casting shows and streaming services, as well as clients from the television and sports sector, with the full spread of financial, contractual and strategic media advice, including in relation to apps and film productions. Notably, the group continues to build a solid reputation for assisting multi-channel networks with marketing agreements. Oliver Poche is the key contact for online matters.

Straßer Ventroni Deubzer Freytag & Jäger has ‘enormous expertise’ in the whole range of traditional and digital media matters, where it provides ‘friendly, timely and comprehensible advice’. The group has been particularly active in work concerning copyright law, VOD platforms and licensing agreements. Recent mandates include advising Klassik Radio with the establishment of a streaming service and assisting insurance company Allianz with copyright and media matters related to an art competition to design the client’s new headquarters. Stefan Ventroni provides ‘legally sound advice’ and is ‘unbeatable in advising on music matters’.

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