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  1. Industry focus: Media and entertainment
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The TMT practice at Allen & Overy LLP draws on the expertise of the firm’s employment, IP, regulatory, antitrust and corporate practices to provide a full service to its clients, which include film and television producers, publishers and advertising agencies. Among a string of recent wins in litigation, Dirk Arts successfully defended Belgian cinema group Kinepolis in proceedings brought by French company UGC concerning an alleged breach of competition law rules. IP and TMT specialist Filip Van Elsen leads the team from Antwerp. Peter Van Dyck was promoted to partner in May 2017.

Altius has a well-rounded media and entertainment practice, advising clients on issues specific to the sector – including advertising, broadcasting and publishing – and a range of IP, finance, competition, corporate and real estate issues. The firm has carved out a strong niche for sports law, where key names Sven Demeulemeester and counsel Grégory Ernes have recently been joined by associate Gauthier Bouchat, who was formerly legal counsel at FIFA. Paul Maeyaert and senior associate Alexander De Bleeckere represented television company SBS Belgium in litigation against SABAM concerning royalty payments.

The ‘professional’ team at Crowell & Moring acts for all industry participants, from gaming and betting companies to sports and media celebrities to book publishers. In addition to advising on the unique legal issues concerning the sector, the team also advises on a range of corporate, commercial, employment and IP law issues. Practice head Jan-Diederik Lindemans has been representing key client Bonzai Records in negotiations with DJs concerning exploitation rights and contracts for retro and classic music tracks. Thomas De Meese is representing Stanleybet in litigation claiming compensation from the Belgian Gaming Commission.

The TMT and IP team at Koan Law Firm is split across the firm’s Brussels and Paris offices and provides counselling, transactional and regulatory advice and represents clients in litigation before national and European courts. Utilising its experience and footprint in both jurisdictions, Agnès Maqua is currently advising a French broadcaster regarding the commercialisation of advertising space in Belgium. Highlights included Christine De Keersmaeker’s advice to a film producer on the co-production of a film, including advising on film financing and copyright issues.

Well versed in contentious and non-contentious issues affecting the sector, Stibbe’s media and entertainment team has developed strong relationships with leading companies, including Kinepolis, Spotify, Sony Entertainment and VRM, the Flemish Regulator for the Media. Erik Valgaeren advised SoundCloud on market introduction issues in Benelux, and an administrative law team led by Nathanaelle Kiekens assisted Napoleon Games with the bidding process for a casino concession. Wim Panis has developed a strong practice advising companies and government authorities on tax shelter for media and entertainment works.

Benoit Van Asbroeck’s media team at Bird & Bird had a busy year in 2017, advising domestic and international companies on advertising and marketing, media content, content licensing and distribution and other issues. It also represents clients in complex IP litigation. Senior associate Julien Debussche and associate Jasmien César are key members of the team.

CMS has a good track record handling M&A and commercial and IP litigation for sports and media companies; it also benefits from the firm’s extensive European office network in EU-wide matters. Key practitioners in the multi-disciplinary team are Tom Heremans, Tom De Cordier and Renaud Dupont.

DLA Piper’s practice spans all sub-sectors of the media and entertainment industry, including gaming, where the firm has developed particular expertise, as well as film and television and music. Patrick Van Eecke has been assisting Unibet with regulatory matters affecting its gambling platform across Europe. Raf Schoefs is another key contact.

Fieldfisher’s clients include audio-visual content providers, film producers and distributors, advertising agencies and large telecoms companies. Much of its work revolves around IP, both contentious and non-contentious. Stijn Debaene is ‘extremely effective and client oriented’. IP partner Hakim Haouideg is another contact.

IP litigation firm Hoyng Rokh Monegier represents leading domestic and international companies in complex litigation. Clients include PlayRight, Simim and the Belgian Entertainment Association, and the firm also acts for individuals. Fabienne Brison and Benoit Michaux head the team, which includes several highly experienced associates.

time.lex is highly regarded for digital media, while data protection is another strength. In recent work, Edwin Jacobs represented various photographers who are members of California and Berlin-based online software platform Pixsy in damages claims for online infringement of their photos. Geert Somers and Frederic Debusseré are other key names.

Major multinational TMT companies turn to Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP for corporate, competition and IP advice and for representation in complex litigation, often with cross-border aspects. Maurits Dolmans and Francisco Enrique González-Díaz are the names to note.

Front runners in the Belgian sports law landscape’, Cresta advises major domestic and international sports clubs, associations, athletes, coaches and agents. Arnaut Kint has developed a strong practice in eSports. Wouter Janssens and Sébastien Ledure are noted.

Marx, Van Ranst, Vermeersch & Partners has an impressive client portfolio that features film and television companies, agents and celebrities. IP and M&A are mainstays. Peter Marx has expertise in complex and international litigation and Herman Croux has strong experience in the creative industries.

Clients praise Modo advocaten / avocats’ practice for its ‘long-term commitment, flexibility and value-driven service’ and ‘out-of-the-box thinking’. The firm has a strong focus on the creative industries; it acts for artists, agents, producers and managers in the sports, music, film and fashion sectors. Didier Deneuter is highly regarded.

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