Industry focus: media and entertainment in Belgium

Allen & Overy LLP

The media and entertainment practice at Allen & Overy LLP is particularly active in the film and television, newspaper and publishing, music and advertising sectors, and counts Warner Bros and Fox Broadcasting among its clients. Filip Van Elsen heads up the multidisciplinary team, which includes IP expert Geert Glas, corporate and M&A practitioner Wouter Van de Voorde, and EU competition specialist Dirk Arts. Other names to note include recently promoted partner Peter Van Dyck, who focuses on IP, data protection, IT and media law matters.

Practice head(s):

Filip Van Elsen

Key clients

Warner Bros

Fox Broadcasting

Mediafin

EURid

DPG Media

Ricoh

Work highlights

  • Advised Mediahuis and two Belgian-based private investors on the sale of their 50% stake in De Vijver Media, a Belgium-based multimedia company and magazine publisher, to Telenet.
  • Defending Eyeworks Entertainment in litigation initiated by two producers concerning the production of a television show.
  • Representing DPG Media in libel actions brought before the Belgian courts and the Journalism Council.

ALTIUS

ALTIUS is a key choice for sports sector advice and IP matters in the media and entertainment industries. IP litigator Paul Maeyaert and sports lawyer Sven Demeulemeester, who is particularly active in contentious matters, jointly lead the team, which includes recently promoted counsel Grégory Ernes, who frequently advises on EU law and fundamental rights in the sport sector. The group strengthened its full-service sports sector expertise with its collaboration with tax firm Tiberghien to establish Atfield, a legal service provider which advises sports sector clients on employment, tax, IP and estate planning issues and acts in disputes.

Practice head(s):

Paul Maeyaert; Sven Demeulemeester

Testimonials

The lawyers that helped me were extremely thorough and their availability was excellent.

The level of expertise in the subjects (freedom of speech, defamation) and the thoroughness were outstanding.

Key clients

Partizan Belgrade

Red Star Belgrade

TP Mazembe

FK Sarajevo

Standard de Liège

RSC Anderlecht

Racing Genk

Club Bruges

Lommel SK

KVC Westerlo

Cercle Brugge

KV Kortrijk

KV Mechelen

UEFA

KIN Partners

Vincent Kompany

Kevin De Bruyne

Junior Edmilson

Let’s Play

Cardiff City

Belgian Taekwondo Federation

Belgian Judo Federation

Youri Tielemans

Simon Mignolet

Benito Raman

Alexis De Sart

Apache (De Werktitel)

Patrick Vermeren – bart Van De Ven

Pace Rights Management LLP

MJJ Productions

Mood Media

Ghost

Iron Maiden

Mötorhead

Judas Priest

Work highlights

  • Acting for UEFA in several high-profile cases including the legal challenge of the TPO-ban, its homegrown rule and regulations around financial fair play.
  • Acted for Cardiff City in a high-profile FIFA dispute with the French club Nantes FC regarding the transfer of Sala.
  • Representing Pace Rights Management in abuse of dominant position proceedings between copyright collecting society SABAM and 30 festival and concert promoters before the Court of Appeal of Brussels.

Crowell & Moring

The technology, media and communications team at Crowell & Moring stands out for its IP and regulatory expertise, and handles a range of matters for its diverse client roster, which encompasses television production and print media companies, advertising agencies, gaming companies and fashion designers. Thomas De Meese is particularly active in the gaming and gambling industries, and heads up the team with 'outstanding' IP expert Jan-Diederik Lindemans.

Practice head(s):

Thomas De Meese; Jan-Diederik Lindemans

Testimonials

Excellent firm, high-quality service. Very professional. Would recommend it to anybody.

Jan Diederik Lindemans is knowledgeable and very hands on!

Key clients

Games with Attitude

Federation of Flemish Music Festivals

Bonzai Records

Liberty Global

B.G. Consulting NV

Unibet

CMS DeBacker SCRL

Dumont & Partners BVBA

Ingrid Deuss

Universal Music

Dutch Filmworks International Holding BV

Djunkie

Backcatalogue

Hendrik Dierendonck

Medialaan

Savage Film

betFIRST (Sagevas)

Work highlights

  • Assisting Games with Attitude with the licensing of all existing IP related to the Cryptocads platform to its Estonian subsidiary.
  • Represented B.G. Consulting and other radio broadcasting organisations as intervening parties in suspension and annulment proceedings brought by Radio Maria against the Flemish Government, following the recognition of B.G. Consulting as a network radio broadcasting organisation.
  • Acting for Telenet in litigation regarding its alleged liability for its network and transmission equipment, which is being used by its subscribers to send and receive copyrighted material.

KOAN Law Firm

With 'outstanding know-how of the market', KOAN Law Firm's TMT and IP team has particular experience across the television, media and gaming industries. The group acts for national and international clients on a range of commercial, corporate, regulatory and contentious matters. Agnès Maqua, who attracts praise for her 'reactivity', has particular expertise in the audio-visual sector, and heads up the team alongside IP expert Christine De Keersmaeker.

Practice head(s):

Agnès Maqua; Christine De Keersmaeker

Key clients

Nrj & Nostalgie Belgium

AIR

STUDIO L’EQUIPE

ACC (Association of communication companies)

UMA (United Media Agencies)

UBA (Union Belge des annonceurs)

LN24

LDV United

TF1

Aminata productions

Tek Distribution (teleshopping)

JWT

Work highlights

  • Assisted Newen, a subsidiary of TF1, with the acquisition of a majority stake in Belgian production company DeMensen.
  • Assisting UMA with its day-to-day matters and EU-related issues.
  • Assisted Air Creative Associates with negotiations with advertisers relating to the clearance of advertising campaigns.

Bird & Bird

The technology communications and media team at Bird & Bird leverages a multidisciplinary team to advise clients in media-related arenas. The group is jointly led by IP and IT-sector expert Benoit Van Asbroeck and Hein Hobbelen, who focuses on EU and competition law.

Practice head(s):

Benoit Van Asbroeck; Hein Hobbelen

Key clients

Dimoco

Proximus NV

UAB Bitė Lietuva

Work highlights

  • Advised Dimoco on its intervention in payment transactions between Belgian licensed online betting or gambling services providers and mobile network operators.

CMS

The media and entertainment practice at CMS handles local and cross-border transactions and disputes, and benefits from its ability to leverage the firm's international network. The team is jointly led by Tom Heremans, who handles IP and commercial litigation, and Dirk Van Liedekerke, who focuses on electronic communications and EU and Belgian competition law. Tom De Cordier is a name to note for data privacy advice.

Practice head(s):

Dirk Van Liedekerke; Tom Heremans

Key clients

FIFA

UEFA

Lagardère Belgium (AMP)

M7 group

Spotify

Norkring

Airbnb

Proximus

Work highlights

  • Representing Facebook before the Belgian Data Protection Authority following a series of alleged infringements of EU and national rules on privacy protection regarding the use of cookies and pixels.
  • Assisting Spotify with drafting a response to a complaint from the Economic inspection regarding direct contact of consumers with Spotify.
  • Successfully represented M7 Group in a copyright infringement and neighbouring rights dispute brought by Agicoa.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's IP and technology practice is active across the television, film, printed media, music, gaming, gambling and sports industries. The group has recently added Universal, Warner Bros and the European Gaming and Betting Assocation to its impressive client roster. The team counts Alexis Fierens, who focuses predominantly on copyright issues, as a key practitioner. Practice head Patrick Van Eecke, who has particular expertise in data protection and IT, left for Cooley LLP in September 2020.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Van Eecke

Key clients

Bet365

Ericsson

European Gaming and Betting Association

Evolution Latvia Ltd.

Jagex

Kinepolis

Match.com

Proximus

Supercell

Tabtale

Unibet Group

Universal

Warner Bros.

Wix

Worldline

Work highlights

  • Advised Kinepolis throughout its GDPR project, and also assisted it with cybersecurity matters.
  • Advised Square Enix on the lawfulness of game mechanics relating to the generation of various kinds of in-game currency and the offering of lootboxes in flagship games.
  • Assisted Proximus with digital advertising projects, loyalty schemes and cybersecurity issues.

Fieldfisher

Fieldfisher handles the full spectrum of matters for its IT sector clients, with particular expertise in outsourcings, data privacy mandates, data protection work and e-commerce issues. The practice acts for start-ups and multinational companies, and leverages the firm's wider international network on cross-border matters. The team is jointly led by Tim Van Canneyt, who handles technology contract negotiations and litigation, and privacy, data protection and data security expert Olivier Proust.

Practice head(s):

Tim Van Canneyt; Olivier Proust

HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER

IP boutique HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER is frequently instructed by media sector clients on IP and regulatory issues. The group handles a combination of contentious and non-contentious matters and counts collective rights management societies PlayRight and SEMU, and broadcaster SBS Belgium among its clients. Fabienne Brison and Benoit Michaux jointly lead the practice; Brison focuses on copyright issues in the media and technology sectors, while Michaux specialises in copyright, trade marks and designs issues.

Practice head(s):

Fabienne Brison; Benoit Michaux

Key clients

PlayRight

SEMU

SBS Belgium

ALMO

SABAM

Het Nieuwshuis

Medialaan

Work highlights

  • Representing PlayRight (the Belgian collective management society for the neighbouring rights of performing artists) in a dispute with cable distributor Telenet concerning the transmission of television programs via the ‘direct injection’ technique.
  • Acting for SBS Belgium, Flemish public TV broadcaster VRT and Flemish private TV broadcaster Medialaan in a copyright dispute against Right Brain Interface.
  • Advising ALMO (a Belgian independent management entity (IME) for publishers of musical and dramatic works) on its contacts with the controlling body for collective management organisations.

MVVP

MVVP has a strong reputation in the media, advertising and entertainment industries and frequently handles a range of contentious and non-contentious IP, corporate, commercial and regulatory matters. Its broad client base spans ranges from production companies, advertising agencies and record labels to publishers, artists and TV personalities. The group is jointly led by founding partner Peter Marx, who advises a breadth of media and entertainment sector clients on IP issues; Herman Croux, who focuses on the film, performing arts and art sectors; and Olivier Sasserath, who has particular experience in the music, film and advertising industries.

Practice head(s):

Peter Marx; Herman Croux; Olivier Sasserath

Key clients

Caviar

A private view

Walking the dog

Sabam

Rosas

Le Corbusier Furniture

Arne Jacobson Furniture

IMPS SA

Work highlights

  • Represented television production company Het Nieuwshuis in a principal freedom of expression matter, which gained national attention.
  • Acted for broadcaster SBS and television production company Het Nieuwshuis in a dispute relating to the alleged unauthorised filming of a private person.
  • Advised production company Walking The Dog on the financing and production of a major international animation film.

Stibbe

Stibbe handles a range of issues in the media and entertainment sector, with particular expertise in technology and digital matters. In recent highlights, the group advised Dice, a Swedish computer game developer, on the launch of a new online digital video streaming platform in Europe, and assisted Soundcloud with copyright and e-commerce issues. Practice head Erik Valgaeren handles mandates relating to IT, data protection, media and e-communications law, while Ignace Vernimme is the key name to note for IP matters.

Practice head(s):

Erik Valgaeren

Key clients

Microsoft-Skype

Norkring

Proximus

Google

Facebook

Zodiak

Cultuurconnect

Mediafin

DICE

Medialaan

Soundcloud

Time Warner

Massive Interactive Media

Kinepolis

National Lottery

Lucky Luke Group

Lagardère

Work highlights

  • Advise Dice, a Swedish award-winning computer game developer (and creator of the Battlefield-series) on the launch of a new online digital video streaming platform in Europe.
  • Assisting SoundCloud, a leading social sound platform, with copyright and e-commerce issues.
  • Advising Mediafin, a major joint venture between Belgian editors, on financial reporting and disclosure obligations.

CRESTA

Sports law boutique CRESTA attracts praise for its 'broad knowledge of all legal fields connected to the sports industry'.  The group acts for a range of Belgian and international clients across contentious, commercial and regulatory matters. Sébastien Ledure heads up the team, which includes Wouter Janssens.

Practice head(s):

Sébastien Ledure

Testimonials

Cresta have particular expertise in football and this has proven very helpful for our clients when seeking advice in Belgium. They are very commercial and have good connections in Belgian football.

Very profound knowledge and experience of the sports industry.

Sébastien Ledure is in particular, very knowledgeable on all aspects of the football regulations in Belgium. He is also very commercial and has many contacts throughout Belgian football.

Sébastien Ledure has a huge network and sports law background in bigger firms.

Wouter Janssens is reliable and up to date on all relevant legal matters within the sports industry.

Key clients

Mr. Romelu Lukaku

Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee

StarFactory Football Management

J&S International Football Management

Mr. Oktay Mahmuti

BeoBasket

LZ Sport Pro

Belgian professional football league

Belgian professional basketball league

Mr. Stéphane Mbia

SportPlus Football Management (former VN Consulting & Management)

Toronto FC

Spirou Charleroi

Antibes Sharks

Tangram

Fredrick Archer

Proball Event Management

Zelos

ULEB

Belgian Federation of Football Agents

Side by Side

Work highlights

  • Advised Belgian national team all-time scorer Romelu Lukaku on his transfer from Manchester United FC to Italian football club FC Internazionale Milano.
  • Successfully represented the Belgian Olympic Committee in proceedings initiated by former athlete Ria Van Landeghem relating to a claim for damages following an alleged wrongful doping-ban imposed by the BOIC.
  • Advised Belgian Pro Basketball League on regulatory matters regarding youth players.

Modo advocaten / avocats

Modo advocaten / avocats acts for clients in the creative industries including the music, publishing, fashion and sports sectors, and benefits from 'a balanced mix of experienced lawyers, up-and-coming younger lawyers, and dedicated paralegals'. Practice head Didier Deneuter attracts praise for 'his expertise and effectiveness in entertainment negotiations'.

Practice head(s):

Didier Deneuter

Testimonials

They offer a hands on pragmatic approach and are able to translate legal issues into comprehensive language.

MODO is a boutique law firm and only one of 3 reputable uber-specialized entertainment law firms in Belgium.

They are very client-oriented and offer a highly personal service. The small team is a balanced mix of experienced lawyers, up-and-coming younger lawyers, and dedicated paralegals. They also have a great gender balance within their ranks.’

Didier Deneuter and Ellis Vandorpe’s are always very straightforward and transparent, and offer advice that is based on a very deep understanding and first-hand knowledge of how the entertainment business works and what the needs of our organisation are.

time.lex

time.lex is a niche law firm recognised for its 'strong focus on IT and privacy work' paired with IP, media and entertainment expertise. The group handles a range of contentious and non-contentious matters and is representing the Belgian Data Protection Authority in high-profile litigation against Facebook. The practice is jointly led by IT, software and e-business expert Frederic Debusseré, Geert Somers, who handles data protection, privacy and IP matters; and Edwin Jacobs, who focuses on IT and data protection work.

Practice head(s):

Frederic Debusseré; Geert Somers; Edwin Jacobs

Testimonials

Strong focus on IT and Privacy. Great team of lawyers.

Frederic Debussere is focussed and friendly.

Key clients

Belgian Data Protection Authority

Anagram International

Pixsy

Fuze

Work highlights

  • Representing the Belgian Data Protection Authority in litigation against Facebook in the Brussels Court of Appeal regarding Facebook’s use of social plug-ins, cookies and screen pixels to track internet users.
  • Acting for Anagram International, the world’s largest manufacturer of foil balloons, in a copyright infringement case against a Belgian company.
  • Representing various photographers, who are members of Pixsy, a California and Berlin-based online software platform that identifies unlicensed image use on the internet, in obtaining damages for online copyright infringement of their photos.