Industry focus: Media and entertainment in Belgium
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP's multidisciplinary media and entertainment practice boasts a client roster from the film, broadcasting, publishing and music sectors. Global TMT head Filip Van Elsen leads the team and specialises in digital transformation and technology-related matters involving copyright-based infringements, licence agreements and defamation issues. Van Elsen's support comes from Geert Glas, who has a particular focus on IP and media litigation, as well as corporate practitioner Wouter Van de Voorde, who handles share capital sales and joint venture structurings. IT and media law expert Peter Van Dyck is a further name of note.
Filip Van Elsen
Other key lawyers:
Geert Glas; Wouter Van de Voorde; Peter Van Dyck
ALTIUS is predominantly recognised for its sports law expertise, but also specialises in IP matters relating to the media and entertainment sector. Practice co-heads Sven Demeulemeester and Olivier Vrins have extensive experience in high-profile disputes, and copyright and image rights, respectively. Recent work highlights involve representing Yellow-Red KV Mechelen after a player terminated his contract for just cause – in light of a match-fixing conviction by club directors – to join Sheffield United, and acting for Cardiff City before FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber and CAS regarding a transfer fee payment from FC Nantes.
Sven Demeulemeester; Olivier Vrins
‘The team have an in-depth knowledge of their practice areas and are particularly strong in all IP-related issues. They are very pragmatic, responsive and simply nice people to work with.’
Un Soir… Un Grain (Brussels International Film Festival)
XXI Music Publishing
Pace Rights Management
Kevin De Bruyne
Squadra Sports Management
- Advising Club Bruges on the termination of the 2019/2020 football season, resulting in the team being declared as champions of the Jupiler Pro League.
- Advising CBS Sports on its talent agreements with TV pundits.
- Representing the Brussels International Film Festival (BRIFF) in trade mark infringement proceedings against the Festival International du Film de Bruxelles (FIFP – BIFF) before the Brussels Enterprise Court.
Recognised for providing 'state-of-the-art support', the technology, media and communications team at Crowell & Moring offers IP and regulatory services to clients from the gambling, broadcasting and sport sectors. With 'analytical and strategic thinker' Jan-Diederik Lindemans and Thomas De Meese at the helm, the team handles matters ranging from joint venture creation and licensing agreements to competition-based litigation and image rights violations. Senior counsel Luc Machtelinckx's arrival from Telenet in April 2020 is a further boost to the practice know-how, with the internet and television provider – as well as its majority-stake owner Liberty Global – being regular clients.
Thomas De Meese; Jan-Diederik Lindemans
Other key lawyers:
‘Esteemed law firm known for its experience in IP litigation and lawyers specialising in media and entertainment law. Very responsive and flexible.’
‘Jan-Diederik Lindemans is very knowledgeable and experienced and a great sparring partner. He is an analytical and strategic thinker, who is flexible and highly esteemed as a lawyer representing various clients from the media and entertainment sector.’
Games with Attitude
Federation of Flemish Music Festivals
Dumont & Partners BVBA
Dutch Filmworks International Holding
Ingrid Deuss Photography
- Representing Telenet in litigation with an association of professional football clubs relating to the recovery of sums paid for broadcasting rights, following the partial cancellation of the event due to Covid-19.
- Advising Weareone.world on legal issues relating to the 2020 digital edition launch of the summer festival Tomorrowland, including on various key agreements.
- Assisting a major Belgian media company with a number of matters covering photographers’ rights, a dispute with a former employee, and privacy and data protection support.
KOAN Law Firm
KOAN Law Firm's TMT team benefits from local and international experience when acting for clients from the television, media and gaming industries. It typically advises on the launch of new digital products or services, handling matters including the negotiation of copyright and entertainment contracts, advertising compliance and protection of image rights. Brussels-based Agnès Maqua and Christine De Keersmaeker head the practice alongside Paris-based Jean-Michel Orion; Maqua is a specialist in audio-visual technological developments, De Keersmaeke focuses predominantly on IP management and Orion contributes entertainment and sports-oriented expertise.
Agnès Maqua; Christine De Keersmaeker; Jean-Michel Orion
Nrj & Nostalgie Belgium
- Assisting NRJ Group with strategic decision-making and day-to-day issues, including representation before the Council of State regarding the attribution of new analogue and digital frequencies.
- Providing ACC with general legal assistance for its members in the advertising sector and with in-company training sessions on key issues.
- Assisting Politico with regards to publishing issues and editor responsibility.
Bird & Bird's media, entertainment and sport practice leverages a firm-wide multidisciplinary approach to advise clients including broadcasters, governing institutions and global tech giants. The team is led by IT and data protection expert Benoit Van Asbroeck alongside Hein Hobbelen, who focuses on EU and competition law. Recent matters have involved trade mark registrations and enforcement, telecoms compliance and copyright-related litigation. Belgian IP head Jean-Christophe Troussel is another key name.
Benoit Van Asbroeck; Hein Hobbelen
Other key lawyers:
The media, telecoms and gambling department at CMS is an attractive option for clients on cross-border disputes and transactional matters given the firm's wide-reaching international network. Its team is jointly led by IP and disputes partner Tom Heremans and Dirk Van Liedekerke, who focuses on electronic communications and EU competition law. Technology specialist Tom De Cordier is a further name to note for data protection and data privacy advice. Other areas of strength include trade mark enforcement and portfolio management, as well as commercial and copyright litigation.
Tom Heremans; Dirk Van Liedekerke
Other key lawyers:
Tom De Cordier
FIFA and UEFA
- Representing Facebook in front of the Belgian courts in proceedings brought by the Belgian Data Protection Authority for a series of alleged infringements of EU and national rules on privacy protection.
- Representing FIFA in the Doyen Sports/Seraing cases over the legality of the prohibition on third-party ownership, following sanctions imposed upon RFC Seraing.
- Representing Amazon in trade mark infringement proceedings against Christian Louboutin, following alleged infringements upon its red sole trade mark by third parties selling shoes on the Amazon.com website.
HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
IP boutique firm HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER handles advisory, contractual and disputes work arising from copyright, trade mark, IT and media regulatory issues. Experienced duo Fabienne Brison and Benoit Michaux co-head the practice, which has an impressive domestic client roster including publishers, producers, broadcasters, collective management organisations – such as PlayRight and SEMU – and other digital content providers. Brison is a new technology specialist with an additional focus on design rights, unfair trade practice and data protection, while Michaux is a renowned litigator in this domain.
Fabienne Brison; Benoit Michaux
- Representing PlayRight in a dispute with Telenet concerning the transmission of television programs via the ‘direct injection’ technique.
- Acting for SBS Belgium, VRT and Flemish private TV broadcaster Medialaan in a copyright dispute against Right Brain Interface over private copying in the cloud.
- Representing SABAM in copyright litigation against the main Belgian internet service providers, namely Proximus, Telenet, Nethys and Brutele.
The media and entertainment practice at MVVP is dual-focused on IP work and corporate and M&A ventures for broadcasting production companies, publishers, arts distributors and record labels. Founding partner Peter Marx assists on copyright and trade mark cases, while Olivier Sasserath regularly appears before the European Court of Justice; he recently defended SABAM in proceedings regarding an alleged abuse of dominant position. Both Marx and Sasserath lead the team, which also handles work in the sports sector, along with creative industries expert Herman Croux.
Peter Marx; Olivier Sasserath; Herman Croux
Stibbe's technology, media and communications team benefits from a firm-wide multidisciplinary approach, allowing an impressive range of coverage throughout the technology and digital sectors. At its helm, Erik Valgaeren works across the TMT space, assisting well-known clients including Microsoft, BuzzFeed and Spotify with regulatory, compliance and contractual issues, while sports law specialist Elisabeth Matthys and IP expert Ignace Vernimme are further key contacts. The practice has a newly expanded offering in gamification software advice, and is also experienced in appearing before the administrative tribunals and in all alternative dispute resolution channels.
Other key lawyers:
Elisabeth Matthys; Ignace Vernimme
Belgian Football Association
Captains of Cycling
Flemish Sports Federation
CRESTA is a boutique sports law firm with 'very good knowledge' of regulatory matters. Practice head Sébastien Ledure specialises in contractual negotiations and dispute resolution, with a predominant focus on international football. To this end, the firm has established Cresta Leaders, a legal counselling service for some of the world’s elite players, including Romelu Lukaku and Stefan De Vrij. It also has a strong reputation for successfully handling litigation and Basketball Arbitral Tribunal cases on behalf of international basketball clients; this work is typically overseen by Wouter Janssens.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very good knowledge in sports regulatory matters. A small team with a hands-on approach.’
Stefan De Vrij
Fernando Da Cruz
StarFactory Football Management
J&S International Football Management
Belgian Olympic and Inter-federal Committee
Belgian professional football league
Belgian professional basketball league
Union of European basketball leagues
- Advising footballer Romelu Lukaku on various sports, commercial, personal and corporate matters.
- Advising Dutch international football player Stefan de Vrij on the legal, financial and tax aspects of contractual, regulatory and transactional matters in football.
- Representing basketball players Khadar Ahmed and Saeed Kosar in proceedings before the FIBA Basketball Arbitral Tribunal (BAT) in Geneva against Qatar basketball club Al Sadd.
DLA Piper's IP and technology practice remains active across the media, sport and entertainment industries. It advises on investment and corporate issues, rights acquisitions, and staging live events, along with copyright and trade mark protection and enforcement. Counsel Heidi Waem is currently overseeing the team following the departure of former practice head Patrick Van Eecke to Cooley LLP in September 2020.
At Fieldfisher, the IT and technology team has particular expertise in outsourcing and data privacy work, as well as in e-commerce issues, and typically acts for start-ups and multinational companies. Key names in the practice include technology contract negotiator and litigator Tim Van Canneyt, data protection expert Olivier Proust, and IP partner Hakim Haouideg.
Tim Van Canneyt; Olivier Proust
Other key lawyers:
Modo advocaten / avocats
Modo advocaten / avocats provides media and entertainment clients with strategic advice on the negotiation, editing and auditing of contracts, as well as during contentious proceedings. Practice head Didier Deneuter has particular experience across various creative industries, handling broadcasting, music and sports-oriented matters.
time.lex is known for its strong IT and IP practices, which handle regulatory, transactional and contentious matters including GDPR-related compliance and copyright infringement disputes, as well as the negotiation of film, television and publishing contracts. The practice is jointly led by software and e-business expert Frederic Debusseré, along with Geert Somers, who handles data protection and privacy matters, and commercial agreements specialist Edwin Jacobs. Recent clients include the Belgian Data Protection Authority and AlfaVision.
Frederic Debusseré; Geert Somers; Edwin Jacobs
Belgian Centre for Arbitration and Mediation
- Representing the Belgian Data Protection Authority before the EU Court of Justice in its lawsuit against Facebook regarding the GDPR’s one-stop-shop mechanism for using social plug-ins, cookies and screen pixels to track internet users.
- Representing Anagram International in a copyright infringement dispute with a Belgian company.
- Assisting de Bijenkorf in contract negotiations with a multi-channel marketing SaaS platform provider.