Media and entertainment in Canada
A leading advisor to clients in the film industry, Dentons routinely advises major Hollywood studios on transactional and regulatory issues, and also acts for digital platforms, media companies and individual artists and performers. The team is best known for its strength in film finance, where it acts for borrowers and lenders, though the group also leverages the firm’s full-service offering to shine in assets sales and acquisitions, distribution and commercial agreements, IP, litigation and tax matters. Key contacts in Toronto include Ken Dhaliwal, whose practice spans the film, television, book publishing and live theatre spheres, and cross-border specialist Jim Russell. Senior associate Jayme Alter, also in Toronto, is rated for her ‘deep industry knowledge’. In 2019, Vancouver’s Gordon Esau moved into a senior counsel role.
Other key lawyers:
‘Dentons consistently provides us with timely, practical and useful advice. They have great industry relationships and knowledge.’
‘We work with Jayme Alter, who is truly amazing; her deep industry and legal knowledge have been a huge help to us. She consistently provides us with advice on nearly impossible deadlines and is able to provide us with industry and practical insight, not simply legal knowledge.’
Canadian Broadcast Standards Council
CorrCan Media Group (CRCMG)
Corus Entertainment Inc.
Iridium Communications Inc.
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., (dba Lionsgate)
Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation
New Metric Media
ole Media Management LP
QVC, Inc. / VMedia Inc.
Universal Media Studios International Limited
WOW Unlimited Media Inc.
- Advised Lions Gate Capital Holdings on its $550m offering of senior notes.
- Advised New Metric Media on a C$50m agreement with Bell Media, through its Crave TV entity, relating to the ‘Letterkenny’ television series.
- Advised Shopify on the launch of a television and film content and production studio called ‘Shopify Studios’.
Goodmans’ premier media and entertainment practice is widely recognized for its service across an array of film, television, digital media and book publishing matters, with strong representation of US-based companies and high-profile individuals. The group’s ability to link up with other departments across the full-service firm marks it as a top choice for transactional matters, which recently included advising Kew Media on the corporate, media and tax aspects of its acquisition of Essential Quail Media Group. The team also routinely advises on distribution matters, IP and regulatory issues. Group head David Zitzerman, who led on the media aspects of the Kew deal, iss among the most sought-after specialists in the market. Other names to note are Tara Parker and Carolyn Stamegna, who has extensive experience in multi-jurisdictional transactions.
‘Goodmans’ breadth of experience is one of its strongest assets; lawyers have truly seen it all and done it all, thus, when you have a complex situation to resolve, their advice usually is based on their previous experience with the exact same situation (not just a best guess).’
‘This team specializes in financing transactions in the global media space. It is responsive, flexible and world-class.’
‘Goodmans has amazing market intelligence, which it is able to provide to their clients as value-added advice .’
‘When it comes to structuring certain projects, David Zitzerman is truly the most knowledgeable person in the country. His advice is always both sound and practical.’
‘Carolyn Stamegna and her team are exceptional. She understands the uniqueness of every transaction and how best to be flexible while still protecting the the client.’
‘Tara Parker offers both great insights and practical legal solutions. She makes it a point to always provide us with information relating to changes in applicable laws and is available whenever needed.’
Bell Media Inc.
Creative Wealth Media
Disney ABC Cable Networks Group
Dreamworks Animation Television LLC
The Fred Rogers Company
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Kew Media Group
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
Motion Picture Association – Canada
9 Story Media
The Toronto Arrows
Turner Broadcasting System Inc.
Writers Guild Canada
- Advised Alcon Entertainment on production matters related to all seasons of ‘The Expanse’ television series.
- Acted for Kew Media on its A$32.8m acquisition of Essential Quail Media Group.
- Advised 9 Story Media Group and 9 Story Distribution International on its acquisition of Breakthrough Entertainment’s kids and family library and development slate.
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP has a specialist entertainment group that is highly regarded for its cutting-edge expertise in copyright law. The compact but effective Toronto-based team focuses on advising TV and film producers, musicians, authors and other artists on contentious and non-contentious copyright matters. Key figures include Casey Chisick and Leonard Glickman, who chairs the American Bar Association Entertainment and Sports Law Forum, and is also rated for his experience in transactional and intellectual property matters.
Best known for its regulatory focus, Fasken’s robust media and entertainment team also capabilities in intellectual property and commercial transactions. Moreover, the industry group is further complemented by the firm’s impressive strength in communications law. Toronto-based Barbara Miller has a strong profile in the market and advises clients within the telecoms and broadcasting industries on investment matters, financing issues and asset acquisitions and disposals.
Other key lawyers:
Rogers Communications Canada Inc.
Bell Canada, Cogeco, Google, Rogers, Shaw, Videotron, and Spotify
Rogers Communications Canada Inc. and Rogers Media Inc. (“Rogers”)
AD IDEM/Canadian Media Lawyer Association
Bell Canada, Cogeco, Google, Rogers, Shaw, Videotron and Spotify
A & E Television
- Advised Rogers Communications Canada on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s public proceeding to examine aggressive or misleading sales practices by Canada’s largest telecoms carriers.
- Advised Rogers Communications Canada and Rogers Media on pay-per-view sports agreements, and certain other sports agreements, for content on its cable television service.
- Advised Thomson Reuters on commercial matters related to publishing agreements.
Gowling WLG acts for a varied base of sports, theatre, fine arts, multimedia and book publishing clients, which it advises on regulatory, transactional and contentious issues. The team is also valued for its ability to plug into the firm’s globally respected intellectual property practice for support on branding, copyright and design matters. Experienced entertainment specialist Susan Abramovitch, who is qualified in Ontario, Quebec and New York, heads the group from Toronto.
Six Shooter Records
Great Big Sea
Secret City Records
Miller Thomson has strengths in all the key pillars of media and entertainment law, with strong specialist experience in film, television and gaming matters. Vancouver-based Eva Schmieg is highly regarded for her corporate and commercial transactional expertise. The national group also has robust platforms in Montreal, Toronto and Calgary.