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Copyright © Media Law International 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

FEATURED ARTICLE BY


PETKO ANGELOV AND YOANNA IVANOVA

GUGUSHEV & PARTNERS


BULGARIA

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Bulgaria is emerging as a popular destination for international filmmakers. Big budget American and European films shot in Bulgaria include Ghosts of War, filmed in Q2 2017, and feature production Hunter Killer, filmed in Q3 2016.


“The film industry is looking good”, noted lawyer Hristo Nihrizov at Dimitrov, Petrov & Co. He continued: “A lot of movies are being shot here and Bulgarian movies are winning prizes and awards. We have a big Bollywood studio that is one of our clients and is also shooting in Bulgaria.”


Film sector activity has led to an increase in legal instruction as the need for advice on related services peaks. Mr Nihrizov explained: “We have more productions shot here which puts together complex copyright and tax matters.”


Lawyers say reasons that Bulgaria is becoming a preferred destination for filmmakers include the availability of technical equipment, skilled

manpower and infrastructure including studios for film shooting.   


The broadcast sector in Bulgaria is traditionally one of the country’s strongest segments of media, with television being the most popular medium.


Part of broadcast activity in the past year includes the closure of Super7, a children’s television

channel owned by Crown Media, which closed in September 2016 after its license was revoked

by the Council for Electronic Media. Sister channels TV7, New7 and Sport7 closed down at the same time.


Mr Nihrizov commented: “Digital terrestrial partners are merging and splitting. In the last two years they have been trying to get a market share in the satellite and online TV market but commercially the terrestrial digital broadcasters are struggling. It’s a difficult time for broadcasters.”


In other developments, while the print sector is strong, national research commissioned by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation shows confidence in media independence is low.  


Published in the Q1 2016, the report states: ‘The ownership of print outlets is not transparent and this causes problems with the independence of print media.’


It continues: ‘Only 12 per cent of consumers believe in the independence of media so confidence is very low.’   

 

TIER 1

One of the largest firms in Bulgaria, Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov is widely described by peers as one of the most prominent. The full service firm is known for its transactional work in the TMT sector and advice to entertainment and sports clients. Lawyers have particular experience advising cable broadcasters, film producers, advertisers and publishers in the area of financing, rights acquisition and regulation.


Dimitrov, Petrov & Co has a reputation for excellence in the area of privacy and personal data protection. Lawyers, who clients describe as “extremely competent and very responsive”, advise on cross-border compliance, corporate restructurings and e-commerce. Under the leadership of Hristo Nihrizov the firm acted for an international television broadcaster on matters including privacy policies, compliance, licensing and content requirements. Lawyers also represent clients with success before the local media regulation authority.


Established in 1988, Kambourov & Partners has a long-standing presence in Bulgaria and equal focus on the TMT sector. Mitko Karushkov manages the team which is notably known for its work on large scale corporate structuring of radio and television operators and structuring of products and services. The firm also has a significant number of instructions from media and entertainment clients including motion picture producers, television companies, theatre and publishing companies.


TIER 2

Andrey Delchev & Partners - Eurolex Bulgaria affirms its position in the legal market with a steady influx of corporate instructions from media clients that include television and radio operators. The team advises on licensing, distribution and regulation. Severina Liubenova manages the media group, which acts for newspapers and other printed publications, advertising agencies and website operators.


Arsov Natchev Ganeva’s specialisation in media and sports is local and global. Lawyers act for foreign media companies acquiring local media entities, advise on licensing and administrative procedures and represent clients in cases of intellectual property. The team assisted entrepreneurs with establishing and acquiring sports clubs in Bulgaria while ensuring compliance.


Boyanov & Co has a prominent reputation and is known by peers for its expansive client portfolio. The firm focusses on media and telecommunications with advice to broadcasters ranging from regulatory and licensing to bids and auctions. Leading practitioners include Damian Simeonov and Peter Petrov who advise on complex due diligence connected with mergers and acquisitions.


BWSP Ilieva, Voutcheva & Co has a background in media work that includes the establishment of a crowd-funding scheme for feature film production. The firm acts for multiple clients on film and video production, financing and distribution of media products and newspaper and magazine publishing. Lawyers also advise on cross-media ownership, interactive media and copyrights issues.


Gugushev & Partners has developed an established position in the market and is rising as one of the region’s most widely respected practices. Founding partner Stefan Gugushev has exceptional experience advising a broad range of clients and leads the team in its advice on broadcasting, programming and regulation.  Working with peers, leading lawyer Petko Angelov advises on advertising, sponsorship and licensing matters.


TIER 3

CMS is one of the few international firms that has established a strong position in the legal market. The firm’s technology, media and communications group works across a number of jurisdictions on substantial transactions advising broadcast clients. Working in collaboration with the commercial team, media lawyers assist with distribution agreements, commercial contracts and data protection.  


With a media and advertising specialisation, Kalaidjiev & Georgiev advises on the issuance of licences for telecommunication activities, broadcasting and television production. The firm’s media lawyers draft agreements for advertising campaigns and media planning. Lawyers also litigate in cases connected with copyright and related rights.


Popov & partners regularly assists broadcasters with registration, programming and distribution agreements. Led by managing partner Emiliyan Lubomirov Arnaudov, the team advised a pay-television operator on distribution rights, rights holders on copyright levy and advertising industry clients. Angel Stefanov Buzalov is among key practitioners highlighted by competitors.


TIER 4

The primary focus at Borissov & Partners is on intellectual property, telecoms and technology - from which media and entertainment cases stem. The firm works on a range of matters from franchising, licensing and dispute resolution to advice on radio frequency spectrum and geo-stationary orbit. Managing partner Plamen M. Borissov leads the practice and specialises in sector-related work as well as neighbouring segments.


Combining transactional and commercial expertise, Penev advises on cross-border cases, regulatory compliance and lobbying. The TMT group also assists with data protection, privacy and licensing. In highlighted work the firm advised a leading US radio broadcasting company on an acquisition deal in Bulgaria. The firm is also appointed by internet and e-commerce companies.


Tsvetkova Bebov & Partners focusses on data protection and copyright. The team drafts licensing and transfer agreements, advises on mergers and acquisitions and corporate restructuring. Lawyers also assist with data protection compliance and represent clients before the courts and personal data protection authorities.


TIER 5

Mandzhukova, Shopov, Petrov Law Firm acts for TMT clients from publishing and online segments. The full service practice is managed by Asya Mandzhukova, Milen Shopov and Roumen Petrov who are established practitioners in the local legal market. The team runs an advisory and transactional practice that also works with clients form the entertainment sector.

Ranking and editorials

TIER 1

Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov

Dimitrov, Petrov & Co

Kambourov & Partners  


TIER 2

Andrey Delchev & Partners - Eurolex Bulgaria

Arsov Natchev Ganeva

Boyanov & Co

BWSP Ilieva, Voutcheva & Co   

Gugushev & Partners  


TIER 3

CMS

Georgiev, Todorov & Co

Kalaidjiev & Georgiev  

Penkov, Markov & Partners

Popov & partners  

Schoenherr


TIER 4

Borissov & Partners

Georgiev, Nenkov and Partners (GNP)

Penev

Tsvetkova Bebov & Partners   

Wolf Theiss


TIER 5

Kolcheva, Smilenov, Koev & Partners - Novel Consult

Mandzhukova, Shopov, Petrov

Tocheva & Mandazhieva Law Office

RANKING AND EDITORIALS

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