Press and publishing in Germany
Damm & Mann
Hamburg-based firm Damm & Mann remains one of the top choices in the German media landscape for the representation of publishers and those affected by press coverage. The highly regarded Roger Mann recently represented the consumer organisation Stiftung Warentest in proceedings brought by Wilkinson against Procter & Gamble subsidiary Gilette regarding an advertisement concerning the client’s test results. In another highlight, he represented newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in a negative declaratory judgment against state-affiliated Polish foundation for the protection of the honour of Poland in connection with critical reporting in the FAZ. Holger Nieland represented RTL in a copyright action brought by ITV Media for damage claims regarding the unauthorised use of individual episodes of a TV series. The firm also assists Susanne Klatten in personality rights mattes. Other clients include Sixt, Axel Springer, DuMont, Bertelsmann and Handelsblatt.
The ‘quick, competent and flexible’ media team at DLA Piper stands out for its ‘high-service level’ and ‘deep knowledge in the relevant areas of law’. The practice, which is led by Stefan Engels, is comprised of four partners who advise TV channels, magazines, publishers and companies outside the sector on press and publishing matters, but also crisis communication and issues at the intersection with copyright and competition law. Highlights included the representation of Axel Springer in multiple contentious matters, such as proceedings against Yvonne Kaiser regarding omission and remuneration. The dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur regularly seeks the firm’s advice on press and freedom of speech issues and WeltN24 and publisher Heinrich Bauer Verlag are also part of the client portfolio. Counsel Verena Haisch is particularly active in the healthcare sector.
Clients of the press law and freedom of speech practice at NESSELHAUF Rechtsanwälte benefit from its ‘very good quality advice, deep expertise and longstanding experience’. The firm, which focuses solely on the representation of those affected by press coverage, advises on media law matters (both preventative and in contentious cases) and IP matters and now also increasingly handles data protection issues. Clients include individuals, associations and companies, as well as federal and regional authorities. The three key figures are practice head Till Dunckel, Michael Nesselhauf and Stephanie Vendt, who is noted for her ‘quick, clear and reliable assessments’.
Raue’s ‘outstanding’ practice stands out for its ‘very professional, punctual and accurate, high-quality advice’. The team’s expertise ranges from copyright to press law and freedom of speech with a focus on the representation on the side of the media. Jan Hegemann heads the five-partner strong group, which has seen increasing work in data protection matters. A highlight is the successful representation of Bild in proceedings against the heiress of the NS war criminal John Demjanjuk regarding remuneration claims and inheritance issues. The firm also acts for Axel Springer in proceedings concerning the right to free speech, including against Helene Fischer, Boris Becker, Herbert Grönemeyer and Katharina Witt. Buzzfeed, mabb and the Federal Chancellery are among its other clients. Robert Heine, who also advises on trade mark-related matters, is recommened. Renowned media and press lawyer Ulrich Amelung passed away in January 2018.
Schertz Bergmann Rechtsanwälte
Schertz Bergmann Rechtsanwälte is particularly well known in Germany’s media landscape for advising those affected by press coverage in sector-specific matters. Clients include prominent politicians, entertainers, associations, companies, production companies and family offices. The eight-strong team advises on press and freedom of speech matters and is equally well versed in preventative advice, crisis communication and forensic mandates. Another increasingly important core area of the practice is advice on reputation management on the internet. The highly regarded Christian Schertz and media and copyright expert Helge Reich are the key contacts.
CMS’ press law and freedom of speech practice provides comprehensive advice to publishers, broadcasting corporations and online providers on crisis communication, the protection of privacy, and copyright and competition matters. Michael Fricke is the key name. It acts for longstanding client Gruner + Jahr in disputes concerning the right to free speech and copyright and press law matters. The team also represents the Norddeutsche Rundfunk (Northern German Broadcasting Company) in various matters relating to freedom of speech and copyright, including disputes with commercial enterprises, celebrities and politicians. Fricke advises multiple parties impacted by press coverage, such as food producers, management boards and DAX-listed companies in disputes with the media. Clients include newspaper Morgenpost, various ARD institutions, Porsche, the Hessische Rundfunk (Hessian Broadcasting Service) and Eyeo.
Hamburg-based IP, technology and media law boutique KNPZ Rechtsanwälte provides comprehensive advice on copyright, freedom of speech and competition law matters and increasingly focuses on the digital world. The team assists companies across a wide variety of industries, including the financial, real estate and healthcare sectors, with crisis communication and in disputes, but has also seen a rise in preventative advice. Practice head Gerald Neben advises domestic and international publishers as well as advertisement and PR agencies and TV providers. Kai-Uwe Plath has key expertise in data protection and corporate law matters.
Prinz Lüssmann Perten
Prinz Rechtsanwälte is particularly known in the German media law market for its representation of those affected by press coverage in press and freedom of speech matters and advises a diverse client base that ranges from individuals, DAX30-listed corporations, mid-sized companies and production companies to banks and financial service providers. Porsche, Network Movie and SAP are part of the firm’s portfolio, among others. Founding partner Matthias Prinz assists Volkswagen with media law advice in connection with the emissions scandal. Nina Lüssmann, who heads the private client practice, and Volker Perten, who focuses on corporate clients, were promoted to the partnership in April 2018. Dirk Dünnwald joined IRION | DÜNNWALD Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB in April 2018.
Redeker Sellner Dahs
Redeker Sellner Dahs’ Bonn-based practice acts for those affected by press coverage as well as on the side of the media. The firm’s expertise lies in preventative advice on press and freedom of speech matters, reactive crisis management and media regulation. Christian Mensching recently represented Deutschlandradio in a constitutional complaint regarding a radio broadcast and, together with practice head Gernot Lehr, assisted multiple state media authorities in landmark proceedings concerning various topics, including third party broadcasting time, license transfers and the admission as broadcaster. The client portfolio also includes Arte, ZDF and Bayer, as well as celebrities.
SSB Söder Schwarz Berlinger Rechtsanwälte
SSB Söder Schwarz Berlinger Rechtsanwälte has made a name for itself in media law particularly with its comprehensive advice to the publisher Burda-Verlag and its subsidiaries, but also stands out for its breadth of expertise. The team advises traditional and digital media on press, freedom of speech, data protection, IT and competition law matters and represents clients in landmark proceedings, as well as advising on licensing issues, digital transformation and the design of new online-based business models. Stefan Söder is the key figure and Johannes Berlinger advises clients at the intersection with employment and trade mark law.
With an explicit emphasis on advising those affected by press coverage. HÖCKER’s ‘absolutely outstanding’ practice notably acts for political figures and parties, managers, banks and insurance companies. It has a focus on preventative advice on press and media law matters, but is also well versed in dispute resolution and has ‘additional expertise in peripheral areas of press law and complicated legal issues’. A recent highlight is Carsten Brennecke’s advice to Annette Kulenkampff on the enforcement of press law claims to injunctive relief against various press articles. Marcel Leeser is successfully defending Jürgen Schneider in an action brought by the municipality of Weilerswist in connection with a Facebook post about the conditions in a refugee home in the municipality. Name partner Ralf Höcker is also a key figure and Ruben Engel ‘stands out for his high expertise and reliable, solution-oriented advice’.
IRION | DÜNNWALD Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB
Since April 2018, Hamburg-based media law firm Irion operates under the name IRION | DÜNNWALD Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB following the arrival of Dirk Dünnwald from Prinz, Neidhardt, Engelschall to strengthen the team. The practice focuses on acting for those affected by press coverage, advises on media and copyright matters and is also increasingly active in the areas of digitalisation and data protection. Dünnwald is recommended for his ‘profound experience’ and his ‘fine sense for appropriate solutions, analytical precision and confident approach to complex interests’. Tanja Irion stands out for her ‘clarity, straightforwardness and hands-on approach’ and her ‘ability to appropriately assess complex correlations under time pressure’. Clients include banks, insurance companies, managers and corporations.
Berlin-based four-partner strong firm Irle Moser focuses on copyright and media law and advises domestic and international companies and individuals in the economics, politics and entertainment and arts sectors. Ben Irle is the key contact for media law matters and Christian-Oliver Moser is particularly well versed advising on matters at the intersection with IP. The client portfolio includes publisher Kein und Aber, celebrity Heidi Klum and football club Hertha BSC.
Romatka & Collegen
Romatka & Collegen in Munich focuses on advising publishers, but also has expertise in acting for those affected by press coverage. The three-partner strong team handles press, copyright and trade mark matters and is also well versed in related employment law issues. Ulrich Grund has notable expertise in employment; Gero Himmelsbach is active in publishing and press law crisis management and competition law matters. In addition to its non-contentious advice, the firm also regularly acts in court proceedings. The client portfolio includes publishers such as Bauer Verlag and Atlas Verlag as well as the Bayerische Landeszentrale für neue Medien, the Bavarian Regulatory Authority for Commercial Broadcasting.
SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte
SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte’s team, which is led by the highly regarded Konstantin Wegner, focuses on acting for publishers and advises on the entire spectrum of copyright, press and publishing law issues. The practice’s range of services also includes transactional, financial, contractual and forensic matters. Corporate and M&A partner Stephan Morsch also regularly handles sector-relevant matters.
Sven Krüger Rechtsanwälte
Sven Krüger Rechtsanwälte has a dedicated practice handling media, copyright and publishing matters and also has IP expertise. The Hamburg-based team advises individuals, public figures, companies, organisations and associations. Bonnier media Deutschland, Thienemann Verlag and Ullstein Buchverlage are part of the firm’s portfolio, among others. Sven Krüger is the key figure.