Entertainment in Germany
Within its media law practice, CMS particularly stands out for its deep expertise surrounding digital content. The team advises on media regulation, data protection, copyright and remuneration and gaming. The practice also increasingly handles contentious cases. In a highlight matter, it is representing Eyeo in landmark proceedings regarding the legal admissibility of ad blockers in eight parallel proceedings, in which the firm has already achieved some successes; the counterparties include RTL Interactive, ProSiebenSat.1.Digital and Spiegel Online. Ole Jani is assisting seven ARD institutions (including NDR, WDR and BR), the Alliance of German Film and TV Producers, Allianz der deutschen Film- und Fernsehproduzenten, and the Federal Assocation of Directors, Bundesverband Regie, in an arbitration concerning the establishment of joint remuneration rules concerning the payment of feature film directors. The team also advises the World ESports Association on media and sports law matters. Other clients include Porsche, Getty and Netlantic. Sebastian Cording heads the practice and the very active Pietro Graf Fringuelli is particularly well versed in the area of eSports.
Noerr’s six-partner strong practice remains one of the top destinations for media law matters in Germany and regularly handles cross-border mandates. The range of services includes advice on sector-relevant transactions, joint ventures, financings and contract law matters. Other expertise includes advice on the production and the distribution of cinema and TV films and litigation, including respresentation in copyright disputes. Together with Hans Radau, practice head Johannes Kreile is advising the Allianz deutscher Produzenten Film und Fernsehen, the Alliance of German Film & Television Producers, on high-end series funding. The group is also acting for Sony in a dispute with celebrity Udo Jürgens relating to the transfer of ancillary copyright. Another highlight is the firm’s advice to Warner Bros on the restructuring of financing and license contracts for multilple films, including About a Boy, The Bourne Identity and Gran Torino. Other clients include ZDF, Sport1 and the Bavarian Broadcasting organisation Bayerische Rundfunk. In early 2018, Katharina Domnick and Konrad Zdanowiecki were promoted to partner.
SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte’s broad media practice includes ‘experts for each media-relevant set of problems’ and is noted for its ‘profound knowledge of copyright law, high precision and farsighted advice’. The 20-partner strong team has experience assisting with market entries, transactions, disputes and financings in the media sector, often at the intersection with film production and content advice. Another key area for the practice is augmented and virtual reality, where ‘knowledgeable, quick and forward-thinking’ counsel Ilja Czernik is the key contact across all offices. Highlights included the ‘extremely competent and strong negotiator’ and practice head Martin Diesbach’s advice to a large bank on international media financing transactions. Andreas Bareiss provided assisted a film studio with its market entry in Germany, broadcasting and master agreements, financings, production matters and trade mark protection. Netflix, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Facebook are also clients, among others. The Hamburg office was strengthened in mid-2017 with the arrival of Bettina-Axenia Bugus from Brehm & v. Moers, who has particular expertise at the intersection between media and employment law. In January 2018 media and entertainment lawyer Johann Heyde and Florian Hensel, who is a digital business expert, were promoted to the partnership.
Greenberg Traurig Germany particularly stands out for its broad media law practice, with the team frequently handling matters at the intersection with antitrust, employment, insolvency and insurance law. The team advises on matters relating to film, music and broadcasting law, regulatory issues and copyright. The team frequently coordinates cross-border matters with a European dimension, where it works with its international network. It is also increasingly active advising in the digital media segement and on data protection; Viola Bensinger is the key contact. Practice head Stefan Lütje recently assisted Ehrlich Entertainment with music, competition, broadcasting, personality right and copyright matters and in negotiations with RTL and production service providers. The client portfolio also includes CBS, HBO and NBC Universal. Carsten Kociok, who was promoted to counsel in February 2018, advises on IT and data protection matters and Niklas Conrad, who was promoted to partner in January 2018, regularly handles contentious media matters.
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP advises on traditional entertainment – including broadcasting, music and film law – on transactional and regulatory, copyright, contractual and distribution matters, but is also increasingly visible in the digital media area. Kristina Ehle has expertise in issues concerning streaming, IPTV, platforms and apps; together with practice head Christoph Wagner, she advised United Internet 1&1 on the development of the integrated IPTV and video-on-demand product 1&1 Digital-TV. Co-head of the film and entertainment group Christiane Stützle is particularly active in the film segment and regularly acts for prominent international film and series productions on production matters, transactions and contracts and copyright. Andreas Grünwald is another key figure and the main contact for antitrust, youth protection, copyright and regulatory matters. Other clients include Axel Springer, Sky Deutschland, ProSiebenSat.1 and new client Playmobil.
Clients particularly note the ‘quick feedback, high expertise and extremely pleasant manner’ of Taylor Wessing’s media practice. The focus of the 17-partner strong team remains in the areas of digitalisation, regulation and data protection. Other pillars of the practice are copyright matters and disputes. Axel von dem Bussche heads the TMT practice, which in addition to tech and media corporations also acts for investors, such as assisting various venture capital investors (including Grand Catalyst, Felix Capital and Balderton Capital) involved in financing rounds in start-ups in the IP and IT segments with data protection, IT, IP and corporate matters. Gaming and gambling is another area of expertise; clients in this space include Wargames, Nintendo and Pokerstars. IT and media law expert Thanos Rammos stands out for his ‘fantastic expertise and in-depth knowledge’. In May 2018, Frankfurt-based Svenja-Ariane Maucher was promoted to equity partner. Stefan Alich, who was previously in the Hamburg office, joined Facebook in June 2017.
Boehmert & Boehmert
Copyright law remains the main focus of Boehmert & Boehmert’s media law practice. The team also has relevant expertise in data protection, IT and licensing law. It advises companies in the internet, film, music, book and magazine industries. Recent highlights include the successful representation, led by Jan Bernd Nordemann, of film company Constantin in landmark proceedings against Vodafone regarding the granting of access to the disputed streaming portal Kinox.to. Christian Czychowski is the key contact for data protection matters, while Martin Schaefer is noted for his copyright expertise in the music, architecture, games and software sectors. Anke Nordemann-Schiffel advises scientific publishers on copyright matters and represents clients in cross-border disputes.
Brehm & v. Moers
Brehm & v. Moers’ media law practice has expertise in film financing, legal questions surrounding traditional and digital production processes, video games and broadcasting law. In the video games space, Kai Bodensiek’s advice to Let’s Play Erik Range (also called Gronkh) on a broadcasting license stands out. Clients also include Pantaleon Entertainment, FFP New Media and Zero One. The seven-partner strong team is led by Wolfgang Brehm and Stefan v. Moers; Guido Hettinger and Dirk Poppendieck are other key figures. Bettina-Axenia Bugus joined SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte in July 2017; media law experts Mark Seghezzi and Wilhelm Schulte-Hemming moved to SCHLARMANN AHLBERG in December 2017 following the closure of the Hamburg office. The Berlin office was strengthened by the arrival of Kai Florian Furch, former managing partner at the now defunct Furch Rechtsanwälte, in November 2017.
DLA Piper’s four-partner strong team is ‘extremely competent and creative, thinks outside the box and is able to walk far from the well-trodden paths’. The expertise of the broad practice ranges from traditional copyright disputes, advice on copyright, publishing and regulatory law and assisting with licence contracts and transactions in the digital media, film, TV and music sectors. The team also advises on antitrust, youth protection and advertisement law matters and with Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt and senior associate Christoph Engelmann ranks ‘among the top addresses for gambling law in Germany’; clients in this space include Digibet and Trustly. Highlights included representing Sat.1 Satelliten-Fernsehen against the competent state media authority in proceedings regarding the award of third party broadcasting times and in several proceedings concerning continuous advertisement programmes and advertisement regulation. Other clients include Amazon, EFT Media Productions and ProSiebenSat.1. Stefan Engels heads the practice and has expertise in freedom of speech, broadcasting and online law, as well as data protection matters and issues at the intersection with IP. Counsel Verena Haisch and Kai Tumbrägel are also recommended.
HERTIN & Partner
At HERTIN & Partner, clients benefit from its strong expertise in copyright disputes and contract law, matters surrounding subsequent claims to remuneration and mandates with IP aspects. A main focus remains litigation; the firm regularly acts in landmark proceedings. The team has strong regional roots, but also advises international companies and individuals including actors, directors and scriptwriters. Sandra Wagner has further experience advising online platforms and distributors, associations such as the Interessenverband Synchronschauspieler (an association of dubbing actors), the Verband Deutscher Drehbuchautoren (German Screenwriters’ Association) and the Spiele-Autoren-Zunft (The Game Authors’ Guild). Of counsel Paul Hertin and Hermann-Josef Omsels are other key figures.
K&L Gates LLP
K&L Gates LLP’s media law practice is primarily based in Berlin and provides comprehensive advice to broadcasting organisations and collecting societies on copyright, antitrust and media law matters. The team is also well versed in sports, TV, film and music law and increasingly handles forensic work and acts in landmark proceedings. Practice head Martin von Albrecht is representing longstanding client ProSiebenSat.1 Media in several contentious matters, including ground-breaking proceedings at the district court of Hamburg regarding the copyright claims of a US composer. Other work includes assisting RTL Interactive with settlement and licensing agreements and copyright matters in connection with the use of music online. Another highlight was advising Celebrity News on copyright matters and a media law license from the media authority Berlin-Brandenburg. Clients also include the Deutsche Fußball Liga, Fox International Channels Germany and VG Media. Olaf Fiss was promoted to counsel in March 2018 and is especially active in the digital media segment.
Media law boutique Lausen Rechtsanwälte handles a broad spectrum of work ranging from film, music and design law to advertisement, social media and games. The 21-strong team advises on copyright, media and trade mark law, as well as on data protection matters. It also has additional expertise in youth protection and personality rights. Key figures include name partner Matthias Lausen and the well-regarded Kerstin Bäcker.
Straßer Ventroni Deubzer Freytag & Jäger
Munich-based firm Straßer Ventroni Deubzer Freytag & Jäger handles a broad spread of work in the media sector with relevant expertise in matters related to film, TV, music, advertisement and the internet. The team assists media, IT and telecoms companies, publishers, TV channels and production companies with distribution, copyright and licensing and often handles matters at the intersection with tax, employment and corporate law. Stefan Ventroni, Stefan Freytag and Robert Straßer are the main contacts.
UNVERZAGT VON HAVE
UNVERZAGT VON HAVE’s media practice is best known for its comprehensive advice on media law questions concerning TV and film projects, from financing to production and distribution. The team handles license agreements, copyright and press law matters and also advises at the intersection with IT and IP. Other areas of expertise relate to online, sports and music law. Clients include individuals, banks and film financers, technology providers and production companies, as well as international companies. Harro von Have is the key figure for advice on TV and film matters; he is based in the Hamburg office, which was strengthened by the arrival of press lawyer Michael Philippi from Bub Gauweiler & Partner in January 2017.
Matthias Stecher heads the combined IP, IT and media practice at BEITEN BURKHARDT, which focuses on digitalisation, broadcasting law, sports marketing and gaming. Holger Weimann in Munich is the main contact for all media law matters relating to the sports sector; he recently advised DFB on an invitation to tender for the design competition for the Euro 2024 application logo and, in another highlight, handled the negotiations and the closing of a sports contract for the third league with bwin. Axel von Walter’s expertise lies in broadcasting law and electronic media; he assists Antenne Bayern and 40 private broadcasters in appeal proceedings against the Bavarian broadcasting service Bayerischer Rundfunk concerning the planned distribution of the youth programme Puls. The key figure in the gaming segment is Andreas Lober in Frankfurt: he advises clients, including Bandai Namco, Microsoft and ZeniMax, on youth protection, trade mark and copyright issues. With the promotion to partner of Susanne Klein, Wojtek Ropel and Gudrun Schumacher in January 2018, the firm bolstered its digital media and gaming practices in particular. In February 2018, the team welcomed Johannes Baumann, formely at Bird & Bird, as a new arrival in its Munich office.
Ralph Graef is the main contact at media law boutique GRAEF Rechtsanwälte, which has core expertise in film and TV law and also in copyright, music, IT and publishing matters. Other strengths of the Hamburg and Berlin-based team can be seen in the gaming and internet sectors, in data protection advice and also at the intersection with competition and trade mark law. Christian Rauda is another key figure.
Hengeler Mueller advises media and telecoms companies and platform and cable network operators on contract and copyright matters. The team also handles transactions and disputes in the media sector. Highlights included the advising CTS Eventim on copyright fees for music playback at concerts and assisting Google with ancillary copyright matters for publishers, including acting for the client in landmark proceedings against VG Media and in proceedings concerning copyright compliance relaing to the new Google image search. Vodafone Kabel Deutschland and Deutsche Telekom are also clients. Key figures include the highly regarded Albrecht Conrad, Wolfgang Spoerr, who has expertise in media regulation, and M&A partner Christof Jäckle. Counsel Fabian Seip advises on copyright and data protection matters and Christoph Stadler is the main contact for media matters at the intersection with antitrust law.
Klinkert Rechtsanwälte PartGmbB’s media law expertise ranges from copyright disputes to questions surrounding e-commerce, data protection and social media marketing and includes assistance with contractual and transactional sector-relevant matters. Piet Bubenzer heads the practice and is the main contact for e-commerce and data protection. Hermann Schlindwein and André Soldner, who was promoted to partner in May 2018, are especially active in sports law; the latter, together with Johannes Zindel, represented sports club SV Waldhof Mannheim in proceedings regarding crowd riots.
Clients of Berlin-based media and telecoms boutique KVLEGAL receive ‘an excellent service, competent, clear advice and benefit from very good expertise’. A clear focus for the firm is the representation of IT companies in litigation and arbitration regarding the reprographic levy on devices and storage media. The team also advises on copyright and trade mark matters and has strength in the film, TV, music and digital content sectors. Highlights included the successful representation of an individual in high-profile landmark proceedings against Facebook concerning a digital heritage dispute. The client base also includes platforms, publishers and private clients, including actors, journalists and musicians. Urs Verweyen is noted for his ‘young, pragmatic and quick approach’ and ‘effective and competent advice and good network’. Christlieb Klages is another key figure and of counsel Fabian Haslob stands out for his ‘excellent expertise and flexible diversity of argument’.
Wolfgang von Frentz and Ralf Weisser jointly head the TMT practice at McDermott Will & Emery Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater LLP, which also has expertise in the entertainment sector. It has a core focus advising TV channels on media law matters, transactions and proceedings. Highlights included the representation of RTL Television in proceedings against Save.TV at the regional court in Cologne in connection with antitrust matters. The team is also representing ProSiebenSat.1 in injunction proceedings against Exaring regarding the breach of a supply agreement concerning the TV platform Waipu TV. In other work, it acts for longstanding client VG Media in multiple disputes. Other clients include Deutschland Radio, 1&1 and Constantin Medien. Christian Masch is another key name; Claus Färber was promoted to counsel in January 2017.
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek
Clients of Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek’s media law practice benefit from its ‘very good industry knowledge, quick response rates and a good business sense’. The team was strengthened in 2017 by the arrivals of technology and data protection experts Thomas Jansen and Britta Hinzpeter from DLA Piper and in January 2018 by the arrival of Andreas Schabenberger and his team from Menold Bezler. Recent highlights include advising Zattoo on a technical service contract with 1&1 for the supply of internet and mobile users with TV. Practice head Michael Schmittmann, who is ‘very attentive to detail and keeps an eye on the big picture’, assisted PROdigitalITV with negotiating entire contracts with members of collecting societies such as Gema. Megalon is a client for gambling matters.
Lentze Stopper’s three-partner strong team has an explicit focus on sports law and provides ‘always reliable advice of a high professional standard with the right sense for business models in the games industry’. The team has expertise in media, trade mark, licence and antitrust matters. In a particular highlight, Gregor Lentze and Felix Holzhäuser are advising DFB on sports and contract law matters regarding the application for UEFA Euro 2024. The team is also representing DGV Deutscher Golf-Verband in several court proceedings and is assisting various clubs in the Bundesliga with ticketing enforcement. The German BBL Basketball League, FIFA and FC Bayern München are also clients. Martin Stopper advises at the intersection with antitrust law and senior associate Tim Bagger von Grafenstein ‘convinces with his good industry knowledge in the sports and eSport world’.
Osborne Clarke’s media law focus is clearly on the digital segment with particular expertise in gaming and e-commerce. The digital business practice group is led by Konstantin Ewald and provides domestic and international companies and media houses with comprehensive advice on IT, internet and media law, as well as social media and data protection matters. The group handles sector-relevant transactions as well as advising on software licenses and software distribution law matters. Recent highlights include advising ProSiebenSat.1 Media on the takeover of social advertising provider esome advertising technologies and assisting General Atlantic with the IP, IT and data protection aspects of its strategic-partnerschaft with ControlExpert. Funke Medien, Facebook and Gameforge are also clients. Martin Soppe advises media and advertisement agencies on copyright and licensing law and has additional compliance expertise.
Reed Smith’s four-partner strong team regularly acts for international media companies and online platforms and advises on media regulatory and copyright matters in the digital entertainment sector as well as proceedings and transactions. Other areas of expertise include youth protection and protective rights of titles, as well as matters relating to the reprographic levy on storage media. Munich-based Alexander Klett and Stephan Rippert lead the team, which has a presence in Frankfurt with Anette Gärtner, who has expertise in European copyright law in particular.
Scheuermann Westerhoff Strittmatter
Media boutique Scheuermann Westerhoff Strittmatter’s client portfolio includes celebrities in the film and music industry, content platforms, production companies and advertisement agencies. The team, which is led by Angelika Strittmatter and Oliver Poche, advises on digital and traditional media law matters. Other areas of expertise relate to art, internet and apps. The practice is spread across the firm’s offices in Cologne and Berlin.
White & Case LLP’s media law practice is particularly active advising on social media and cable network matters. The team handles trade mark, antitrust, telecoms and state aid matters and increasingly represents domestic and international companies in the IT and social media sectors in proceedings. The firm’s range of services also includes freedom of speech, digitalisation and digital media matters. Norbert Wimmers’ expertise ranges from media and telecoms law to infrastructure and traffic and Martin Munz advises on copyright, trade mark, data protection, internet and competition law. Hamburg-based Sylvia Lorenz was promoted to local partner in January 2018.
Bird & Bird’s media practice regularly acts for domestic and international companies in the sports, media, communications and internet sectors. The team, which is led by Joseph Fesenmair, advises on copyright, freedom of speech, contractual and regulatory matters and also handles issues at the intersection with antitrust law and represents clients in disputes. It has additional expertise is in sports marketing; here the firm advises the Bavarian broadcasting service Bayerischer Rundfunk on antitrust matters. The team also assisted ProSiebenSat.1 with the sale of NuCom Group’s commerce division to General Atlantic and advised the client on transaction-based IP matters. In another highlight, Niels Lutzhöft represented a developer and distributor of online games in copyright and competition proceedings. The client portfolio also includes Audi, Bitkom and Gema.
Heussen’s media practice is ‘broadly positioned and able to appropriately handle complicated and precarious cases off the cuff’. The three-partner strong team has a multidisciplinary approach and often acts at the intersection with IP and IT. Clients appreciate its ‘deep industry expertise and quick and competent advice’; in addition to traditional media advice (TV, copyright, licence law and regulatory matters), the practice also covers digital media and advises influencers, companies and start-ups on platform design and legal matters surrounding apps and social media. Other areas of expertise are in broadcasting and sports marketing. The highly regarded Hermann Waldhauser heads the practice and the ‘extremely reliable’ Marcus Hotze is noted for his ‘negotiation skills and good sense for economic issues’. Sabine Hohmann is recommended for her expertise at the intersection between media law and IP.