Firms To Watch: Industry focus: Media and entertainment

Founded in February 2021, and spearheaded by the highly experienced Agnès Maqua, AdaStone Law works with a diverse cross-section of clients, spanning the areas of advertising, television and film production, broadcasting, and e-gaming.
Monard Law‘s focus spans the music, events, arts and gaming sectors, working with renowned festival organisers, multinational video game publishers, and industry associations on a host of matters.

Industry focus: Media and entertainment in Belgium

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP's sizeable, cross-practice team is routinely sought out by a litany of high-profile production studios, publishers, and major corporations for assistance with the full gamut of media and entertainment matters. The firm has a strong track record in cross-border contract negotiations and strategic advisory mandates, while on the contentious side, the team handles copyright litigation and trademark enforcement proceedings for some of the leading names in film and music distribution. Practice head Filip Van Elsen's broad expertise spans intellectual property, defamation, and broadcasting law. Geert Glas is an experienced litigator who regularly appears before the Belgian and European courts and Edward Taelman frequently works with broadcasters, publishers, and content providers on issues surrounding liability and personality rights.

Practice head(s):

Filip Van Elsen

Other key lawyers:

Geert Glas; Edward Taelman

ALTIUS

A key name for clients seeking representation in sports law, the arts, media, and leisure, the team at ALTIUS also works with a diverse array of leading clients from the worlds of music, gaming, publishing and film. Patent infringement litigation, personality rights, data protection and high-profile sports talent transactions are all key workflows for the reputed team. Co-practice head Sven Demeulemeester is praised by clients for his ‘commercial and hands-on approach’ in sports litigation and arbitration, handling instructions both within Europe and throughout the Middle East, the Far East, and Africa. Grégory Ernes consistently works with athletes, sponsors, clubs, and governing bodies on a host of EU sports law matters. Olivier Vrins stands out for his wide-ranging IP rights expertise in the music and video-gaming sectors. Libel and defamation specialist Alexander De Bleeckere is also noted.

Other key lawyers:

Alexander De Bleeckere

Testimonials

‘The team has a unique practice in the sense that it can offer a full service with specialists in every sub-branch of sports law. Their motivation to think outside of the box and not limit themselves to merely applying the applicable sports regulations is their main strength.’

‘Sven Demeulemeester is one of the most experienced sports lawyers in Belgium and stands out due to his commercial and hands-on approach. They way he thinks with the client is unique for a lawyer.

‘Grégory Ernes stands out in litigations.’

‘Niels Verborgh is an ascendant figure in the Belgian sports law scene – fantastic theoretical and analytical skills.’

Key clients

Moët Hennessy

Pace Rights Management

XXI Music Publishing

Sandy Volckaert

Mood Media

Kevin De Bruyne

Sports and Entertainment Group

Wasserman

Youri Tielemans

Leander Dendoncker

UEFA

City Football Group

Cardiff City

Red Star Belgrade

Al Nassr

TP Mazembe

Trek Factory Cycling

Standard de Liège

RSC Anderlecht

Club Brugge

KAA Gent

Racing Genk

Royal Antwerp Football Club

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented the proprietor of the Dom Pérignon trademark in proceedings against a company selling a large series of artworks (under the name “Damn Perignon”) depicting the Dom Pérignon trademark.
  • Representing Cardiff City in litigation before the Court of Arbitration for Sports against FC Nantes regarding the highly meditated Emiliano Sala case.
  • Assisted the Belgian football player, Kevin De Bruyne, with the extension of his contract with Manchester City FC.

Crowell & Moring

Praised by clients for its multidisciplinary team of ‘talented individuals‘ and ‘profound knowledge of the media sector‘, Crowell & Moring assists with the full spectrum of media and entertainment sector work, including IP infringement actions and cases before the Administrative Court. In recent months, the team has developed its position as an adviser to betting and gambling companies, as well as handling a growing number of instructions for broadcasters and film industry players. Thomas De Meese is highly experienced in matters concerning broadcasting rights and gambling regulatory frameworks and Jan-Diederik Lindemans represents blue-chip computer game developers, TV producers and music event organisers in an array of contentious proceedings. Since publication, Judith Bussé left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Thomas De Meese; Jan-Diederik Lindemans

Testimonials

‘The Media and Entertainment practice of Crowell has a unique combination of talented individuals in various legal fields (IP, telecom, data protection, advertising, …) having a profound knowledge of the media sector in Belgium.’

‘Thomas De Meese (for telecom and competition) as well as JD Lindemans (for IP) are outstanding.’

Key clients

Federation of Flemish Music Festivals

Bonzai Records

Telenet

Liberty Global

Universal Music

Dutch Filmworks International Holding BV

Dingie

Belderbos

Weareone.world / Tomorrowland

DPG Media

CSI Sports Media

Events Confederation

Electronic Arts

IPM Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Electronic Arts, the creator of the popular online game Apex Legends, on how to deal with various cyberattacks by a hacker.
  • Assisted a major Belgian TV broadcaster with both contentious and non-contentious matters related to advertising, data management, and regulatory issues (e.g., licences).
  • Advised different clients on the Belgian regulatory framework, advertising, copyright, and regarding licence termination.

Stibbe

Stibbe‘s cross-disciplinary media practice is regularly sought out by some of the largest companies in the media, entertainment, gaming, and sports industries, both domestically and internationally. Led by experienced TMT partner Erik Valgaeren, the team handles a broad range of technology, regulatory, and IP matters, and has recent contentious experience before the Court of Appeal and the EU Court of Justice. Elizabeth Matthys anchors the firm’s sports law offering, advising various federations and handling litigation regarding transfer rules, discrimination, match fixing, and anti-doping. Ignace Vernimme is noted for his expertise in patents, designs, and trademarks.

Practice head(s):

Erik Valgaeren

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Matthys; Ignace Vernimme

Key clients

AGB Kunsten en Design

Belgian Football Association

Captains of Cycling

European Investment Fund

Fiberklaar

Flemish Government (Sport Vlaanderen)

Fonds culturele infrastructuur

Lannoo editors

Microsoft

Morris Comics

National Lottery

Norkring

Proximus

RTL

Sofindev

Soundcloud

StriveCloud

UnifiedPost

Warner Media

Zodiak

Work highlights

  • Advising Warner Media in relation to Covid-19 and various measures and precautions to be observed by a camera crew coming from the US to Belgium for a new HBO production on Joe Biden.
  • Defending The Royal Football Association of Belgium in several lawsuits regarding Financial Fair Play regulations, licensing, contract and corporate law, third party ownership regulations, and transfer issues.
  • Assisting Fiberklaar with the implementation of new ‘fiber to the curb’ networks.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird's media, entertainment and sport practice works across a broad sweep of industries including broadcasting, television, radio, film, and advertising. The team is regularly engaged by major global corporations and associations for representation in trademark enforcement actions, compliance reviews, content licensing, and distribution matters. Benoit Van Asbroeck is noted for his expertise in intellectual property and tech, advising on proposed legislative changes and securing victories in cases before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Pierre Hechtermans is recommended for his focus on rightsholder and intermediary advisory, and works alongside Van Asbroeck at the CJEU.

Practice head(s):

Benoit Van Asbroeck; Hein Hobbelen

Other key lawyers:

Pierre Hechtermans

Key clients

Crossfit Inc.

RELX Group

Digital Europe

FIFA (International Federation of Association Football)

CMS

A litany of blue-chip media conglomerates, sports associations, and major corporations turn to the sizeable team at CMS for assistance with contentious and non-contentious assignments. IP disputes are a key strength for the cross-practice group, with recent highlights including high-profile anti-counterfeiting actions, trademark infringements and contractual breaches.  Tom Heremans acts for world-leading entertainment companies and international football organisations in a range of copyright and patent litigation proceedings. Managing partner Renaud Dupont is noted for his expertise in distribution agreements.

Practice head(s):

Tom Heremans; Dirk Van Liedekerke

Other key lawyers:

Renaud Dupont

Key clients

Amazon

Airbnb

Betfirst

City of Brussels

Clear Channel

Deliveroo

EURid

Facebook

FIFA

Netia

Proximus

Rank Group

Superbet

Tipik

Work highlights

  • Assisting Proximus with regard to the acquisition of Mobile Vikings, a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, from DPG Media.
  • Representing Facebook before the Belgian Courts in proceedings brought against Facebook, Inc., Facebook Ireland and Facebook Belgium by the Belgian Data Protection Authority for a series of alleged infringements of EU and national rules on privacy protection regarding the use of cookies and pixels.
  • Representing Airbnb in a preliminary ruling procedure before the EU Court of Justice in a transnational matter.

HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER

HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER enjoys a stellar market reputation across the media sector for its expertise in IP disputes. The team acts for a range of leading public broadcasters, rights management companies and multinational computer game developers on copyright litigation, trademark infringements, and strategic advisory mandates. Practice head Fabienne Brison  routinely defends a range of artists and publishers in litigations and CEPINA-governed arbitrations.

Practice head(s):

Fabienne Brison

Testimonials

‘What makes HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER unique is that it does not take over disputes from its clients. As a client you remain involved in every step. Every dispute is analysed in terms of the global operation of the client and every strategic decision is assessed accordingly. In this way, the team functions as an extension of the internal legal service, an extension that can demonstrate a very broad expertise that is impossible to build up internally.’

‘HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER is about the people and the people only. Whether partner, associate, counsel or intern, everyone that works at HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER is a subject matter expert, who isn’t shy about learning from their client.  They breathe diplomacy.’

Key clients

APEDA

Co Peer Right Agency

Gemeente Herselt

Imageselect

Nintendo

PlayRight

SBS Belgium

SABAM

SEMU

Wilde Production

Work highlights

  • Advising Playright on various IP-related questions and litigation, inter alia v. cable distributor Telenet re. the communication to the public of tv (and radio) programmes by using the ‘direct injection’ technique and v. Telenet, Proximus, Voo and Brutélé re. the cable retransmission of tv (and radio) programs. Additionally act for PlayRight in several procedures before both the Belgian Constitutional Court and the Belgian Council of State against the Belgian State regarding e.g. the right to an equitable remuneration for performers.
  • Representing SABAM in a copyright litigation against the main Belgian internet service providers, namely Proximus, Telenet, Nethys and Brutele.

MVVP

A number of public bodies and leading companies from the worlds of film, television, advertising, publishing, and concert promotion turn to the team at MVVP for broad commercial capabilities and experience in disputes, including appearances before the European Court of Justice. Copyright licensing, broadcast rights negotiations, and production contracts are all key workflows. The practice is jointly led by three partners: sports IP specialist Peter Marx, music industry-focused Olivier Sasserath, and Herman Croux, who concentrates on film and performing arts sector mandates.

Practice head(s):

Peter Marx; Olivier Sasserath; Herman Croux

Key clients

Sabam

IMPS SA (“Smurfs”)

A Private View

Walking the Dog

Rosas

Wiels

CRESTA

CRESTA's boutique sports law practice works with numerous athletes, agencies, and clubs on a host of high-profile commercial and contentious mandates. Managing partner Sébastien Ledure, Arnaut Kint, and Wouter Janssens are names to note.

Practice head(s):

Sébastien Ledure

Other key lawyers:

Arnaut Kint; Wouter Janssens

DLA Piper

Drawing on the firm’s substantial global network, the ‘very knowledgeable and responsive‘ cross-practice team at DLA Piper advises on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters for a strong mix of renowned corporate multinationals and media clients. Alexis Fierens is noted for his IP and commercial capabilities, most notably in the fields of copyright, know-how protection, and unfair practices. Heidi Waem heads up the Belgian data protection team, acting for major entertainment companies on privacy and cybersecurity issues, including proceedings before the data protection authority.

Practice head(s):

Alexis Fierens; Bob Martens; Kristof De Vulder

Other key lawyers:

Heidi Waem

Testimonials

‘My company requires multi-national legal service spanning across Europe. DLA Piper’s network of offices and partners across Europe (and the world) allows my company to receive a uniform level of service in various countries while saving us time and resources. It is advantageous from a strategic and cost perspective to have one law firm in control of legal cases that span several different borders and jurisdictions. This reduces the need to do the same work more than once and allows all stakeholders to quickly have a unified direction and purpose.’

‘DLA Piper’s network also gives our company access to the best 3rd-party technical experts when subject matter expertise is required. This is a must-have key requirement for highly-technical IP and media related litigation where the smallest minutiae can decide a case.’

‘I would like to recognise Alexis Fierens at the Belgium office. He is my main point of contact for multi-national legal advice and litigation. His professionalism, litigation, and organisational skills give me the utmost confidence that my company’s legal matters are in the right hands. Alexis is able to assemble DLA Piper’s massive resources from across the globe and handily orchestrate them in order to efficiently carry out his client’s instructions.’

‘Alexis works hard for his clients to achieve total customer satisfaction.’

‘The DLA IP teams in Belgium and Luxembourg are very knowledgeable and responsive.’

‘Alexis Fierens is a top-tier lawyer with a sharp business acumen and great communication skills.’

‘The team takes a collaborative approach to advising on cross-jurisdictional matters. Partners are responsive and prompt to co-ordinate with other colleagues where required, while a single point of contact effectively keeps clients informed and up to date.’

‘Alexis Fierens is one of the most responsive and helpful lawyers I’ve worked with. His advice is clear, efficient and commercial, and he goes above and beyond to proactively share useful know-how which is a real value-add for clients.’

Key clients

The Walt Disney Company

DPG Media

Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie (VRT) (Flemish Public Broadcasting Company)

Kinepolis

Duracell

Zenimax

Smartbit

Work highlights

  • Representing Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie (VRT) in the termination of an exclusive cooperation contract with a TV presenter.
  • Assisting the Walt Disney Company in relation to Disney+, IP disputes and the launch of new products.
  • Advising Dentsu on a collective dismissal and the drafting of a termination agreement.

timelex

Praised by clients for its 'practical and academic' expertise, the multidisciplinary team at time.lex has significant capabilities in IP transactions and patent litigation, working with a mix of high-profile musicians and public bodies. The group is jointly led by Frederic Debusseré, Edwin Jacobs and the 'excellent' Geert Somers.

Practice head(s):

Frederic Debusseré; Geert Somers; Edwin Jacobs

Testimonials

‘Strong team who are experts in their field.’

‘Geert Somers is excellent and I cannot recommend him highly enough.’

‘They have unique expertise (both practical and academic) in the area.’

‘Their approach is always professional, supported with strong expertise.’

‘Timelex have an exceptional TMT practice with some of the most prominent experts in this area that I have had the pleasure to meet. They have tremendous experience and are widely looked up to as trend-setters and innovators in this area.’

Key clients

DJs Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, and Tomorrowland

Anagram International

Belgian Data Protection Authority

European Commission

Alfavision

AXA

EuropeActive

Uitgeverij Van In

Cosmeyer

International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE)

Work highlights

  • Advising DJ brothers Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike and the festival Tomorrowland on the creation of a digital assets marketplace that brings fans and collectibles together, making use of non-fungible tokens.
  • Representing the Belgian Data Protection Authority before the EU Court of Justice in its lawsuit against Facebook regarding the scope of the GDPR’s one-stop-shop mechanism in the context of Facebook’s use of social plug-ins, cookies and screen pixels to track internet users.
  • Representing some digital privacy organisations and activists in their GDPR complaint proceedings before the Belgian Data Protection Authority against the European ad-tech sector organisation IAB Europe regarding its Transparency & Consent Framework for the real-time bidding system OpenRTB for online behavioural advertising.