The dedicated practice at Dentons advises clients on all media and entertainment matters. The team not only advises on the start-up of business ventures, but also guides them through the media industry, negotiating production deals with streamers, studios and independent content producers. The group’s global reach allows them to oversee all domestic and international matters, including film and television production, distribution, financing, government incentives and advertising. Juliet Smith is well -regarded for her representation of US networks, Hollywood Studios, streamers and Canadian independent production companies. Practising from Vancouver, her expertise includes the financing of productions and related tax incentives. Based in Toronto are the team’s leaders, Ken Dhaliwal and Jim Russell . Dhaliwal utilizes his commercial and corporate law expertise to advise on the establishment of new companies and businesses in the media sector. Russell’s practice focus lies within the production project financing, international and interprovincial productions and co-ventures and copyright. They head up the practice. Jayme Alter is noted for leading cross-border production matters and licensing issues.
Media and entertainment in Canada
Shopify Inc. – Shopify Studios
Sinking Ship Entertainment
WOW Unlimited Media
New Metric Media N
- Advised WOW Unlimited Media, a leading animation-focused entertainment company producing top-end content for all media platforms, on its sale to Genius Brands.
- Acted as counsel to Shopify Inc., a multibillion-dollar Canadian e-commerce company, for the launch of a television and film content and production studio called “Shopify Studios” in 2019.
- Advised New Metric Media on various matters in connection with a number of productions produced in 2021 including: (i) the most recent season of “Letterkenny”, the first season of the Letterkenny spin-off television series “Shoresy” and the first season of the television series “Children Ruin Everything”.
The team at Goodmans LLP specializes in the sectors of film and television, sports, digital media and book publishing. The group combines its entertainment law expertise with the expertise of its regulatory team to provide clients with seamless advice. Its extensive knowledge encompasses film tax credits, talent contracts, foreign investment rules, broadcast regulatory guidelines and the acquisitions of entertainment companies. In addition, the team is tailor-made to advise on the emerging digital media topic, NFTs. Toronto based entertainment expert David Zitzerman leads the practice and has over 30 years’ worth of experience in entertainment law; he is sought by independent producers, Canadian and US networks, film and TV distributors, publishers, talent guilds and performers, amongst many. Carolyn Stamegna is noted for her expertise in international and domestic transactions within the television and media sectors. Mention is also given to Tara Parker for her breadth of knowledge across all aspects of production, licensing, development and financing. Personnel changes include the arrival of Aaron Barrett in September 2021.
‘Their knowledge on the legal media landscape is unparcelled.’
‘Tara Parker has taken the time over many decades to really get to know our business and offers very practical legal and strategic advice that align with our values and goals.’
‘David Zitzerman has a knack for solving complex multi-party issues by instilling a very collaborative mindset in all parties.’
Bell Media Inc.
Creative Wealth Media
Disney ABC Cable Networks Group
DreamWorks Animation Television LLC
The Fred Rogers Company
Media Res Studio, LLC
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
Motion Picture Association – Canada
9 Story Media
Writers Guild Canada
Jack Reacher TV Productions Ltd. (owned by Skydance)
Conquering Lion Pictures
Warner Bros. Discovery
Guru Animation Studio Ltd.
Nickelodeon Animation Studios Inc.
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP‘s team oversees both contentious and non-contentious mandates. Its broad client list includes record labels, film and TV producers, directors, video game developers, concert promoters, composers and broadcasters. In addition to overseeing book publishing agreements, the financing of live theatrical productions, royalty audits and entertainment transactions, the team also has extensive experience advising entertainment clients on government relations matters; these include legislative review of the Broadcasting Act and the Copyright Act. The group has also appeared before all levels of court and tribunal, including the Supreme Court of Canada, in cases concerning entertainment and copyright issues. Casey Chisick and Leonard Glickman co-head the practice.
Casey Chisick; Leonard Glickman
Great Pacific Media
Lilah Fear & Lewis Gibson
International Federation of the Phonographic Industries (IFPI)
Music Publishers Canada (MPC) and International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP)
RGK Entertainment / Open Road Recordings
Blue Ant Media
Entertainment and sports law lies at the heart of Gowling WLG‘s practice, which is sought after by both Canadian and international clients. The team utilizes its broad knowledge to advise on strategic business deal terms and evolving industry standards. Having appeared before all levels of court for both civil and commercial disputes, the practice is also noted for its litigation expertise; entertainment and sports organizations benefit from the team's licensing and sponsorship knowledge. With over 20 years’ worth of entertainment industry experience, Susan Abramovitch leads the practice from Toronto, routinely supporting on the drafting and negotiating contracts, dispute resolution and international industry standard counselling.
‘I went with Gowling’s specifically for Susan Abramovitch’s experience in the publishing field. Not only was I familiar with her work, but she was also recommended by people I respect in the field.’
‘Susan Abramovitch has the experience I needed to get through some tricky agreements. I immediately had the confidence my issues would get resolved and that my business would be protected for the long-term. Her experience in the field was hugely beneficial to our negotiations.’
‘I found the admin support accurate, timely and very smooth.’
‘Susan Abramovitch: one of her key superpowers is combining her incredible legal knowledge and experience, with a keen listening ear that really hears what the client’s goals and situation is. She navigated us through many tricky waters to successful resolutions and long-term good relations with the parties involved – no mean feat.’
‘An introduction from Susan Abramovitch is not to be ignored, and is a high recommendation.’
‘The people at the firm made me feel like I was the most important person in the room and took my negotiations seriously. This gave me confidence going into the working environment this contract set me up for.’
‘Susan’s confidence, her approach and her other level skill set of negotiating made me believe that I was not only in the best and most fair place going into the working environment but that the entire production would respect me in it.’
‘Susan Abramovitch is fantastic. Skilled and excellent!’
Brad Roberts/Crash Test Dummies
Copyright Collective of Canada
Jane Goodall Institute Global
Secret City Records / Publishing
Six Shooter Records
Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN)
Universal Music Canada
- Successfully represented SOCAN, one of 9 collective societies collecting royalties from TV broadcasters (Bell, Rogers, TELUS, Shaw, Videotron), in an appeal before the Federal Court of Appeal from a decision of the Copyright Board of Canada concerning royalties for the retransmission in Canada of distant television signals.