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Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
The Czech media industry is shaped by the dominance of commercial television, parliamentary debates over the threat to national media freedom and ongoing contention over media ownership.
Controversy has been in overspill for some time in the Czech Republic, from the anti-Babiš law in 2016 restricting government members from media ownership to the resignation of the country’s minority government in 2018.
After losing a vote of confidence in January this year, Mr Babiš’ ANO party stepped down. Mr Babiš was, however, immediately given a mandate by conservative President Milos Zeman to form another cabinet.
Other developments over the past year include cable consolidation with Investment group Kaprain acquiring the third largest cable operator nationally, Rio Media, in September 2017.
The deal allows Kaprain to extend its Czech footprint, expanding its portfolio that also owns the country’s second largest cable broadband and TV provider, Nej.cz.
Pay-television network O2 TV secured exclusive rights in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the UEFA Champions League, starting live broadcasts in August 2018.
In legal developments lawyers say there is an increase in disputes related to media and IP. Practitioners attribute this to a stable economy which means plaintiffs “have more money and are more willing to litigate”.
Like elsewhere in the European Union, compliance with data protection is among the most important topics ahead of GDPR implementation. Privacy and online marketing policies are among areas being reviewed by clients for compliance.
The Czech Gaming Act came into force at the start of 2017, creating business opportunities in a “rapidly evolving market”. Among other changes, the legislation allows foreign-based operators to obtain gambling licenses in the Czech Republic.
Baker McKenzie is appointed by international television and entertainment networks in multiple cases involving licensing, intellectual property and disputes. Jiří Čermák manages the division which also works on IT and communications matters. The team assisted Fox Entertainment in a case involving regulatory matters. Lawyers advise on various aspects of media law including defamation, unfair competition, publishing and distribution.
Clients praise for its “broad knowledge and practical approach in negotiations”. Led by Vojtěch Chloupek, the practice works with world leading media companies including publishers, entertainment companies and motion picture studios. The firm’s historic focus on technology attracts clients from the digital media sphere looking to exploit rights, deal with data and privacy issues and develop platforms. Other areas of advice include content distribution, technology licensing, competition, regulation and tax-related matters.
Havel, Holásek & Partners is praised by clients for “professionalism and the quality of their legal counsel”. Another client commented: “For us, HHP is truly one of our key partners and definitely the most important partner in the legal field.” Led by Robert Nešpůrek and Václav Audes, the team advises on multiple cases involving broadcasting, advertising, online streaming and data protection. In highlighted work the team assisted Fox TV, Indian Paintbrush and Anthropoid Productions on drafting co-production agreements. In other work, lawyers advised Discovery Czech Republic on assessing advertisements in foreign languages aired in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
Vyskocil, Kroslak & Partners has multiple areas of specialisation across various media industry segments. Distinguished for its extensive coverage, the firm advises on film and music, copyright, advertising, libel, publicity and corporate defamation. Key practitioners Petr Ostrouchov and František Vyskočil also advise on regulatory issues in print, radio and television media, including representation before the Council for Radio and TV Broadcasting and other public bodies or courts.
Copyright specialist Čermák a spol. is widely recognised by competitors as one of the country’s leading firm’s for media and copyright focus. Managed by Karel Čermák jr, the team also advises on commercial law, advertising regulation and unfair competition. Lawyers are noted for their litigation experience and advice on sector-related corporate transactions.
Glatzova & Co. has a leading reputation for its copyright and IT emphasis. Key practitioner Jindřich Jelínek works with the wider team covering the entire spectrum of distribution and licensing with an emphasis on uniformity and universal application.
Martin Lukas manages the media division at Weinhold Legal, which incorporates IP and IT areas of practice. Clients include Havas Media, to which the firm provided advice on a 60 per cent share acquisition deal. The firm also acted for Grada Publishing on its launch of an e-commerce platform and advised a gaming company on intellectual property matter. Clients praise the firm for its “responsiveness, business understanding, technical expertise and reasonable fees”.
CMS’s Prague practice is led by managing partner whose leadership drives the firm’s M&A activity in the CEE region. The firm’s TMT work involves advice on IT and internet start-ups and liability arising from new commercial models.
Peterka & Partners’ sports, media and entertainment department, led by Zdenek Beranek, handles cross-border cases involving television rights and sponsorship deals on behalf of leading national football clubs. The team also advises on defamation, media rights, regulation and domestic competition.
Within the TMT sector PRK Partners is best known for its transactional services. The firm’s multidisciplinary lawyers advise on all aspects of media law and are routinely mandated by clients in Germany and Kazakhstan. Lawyers have extensive experience advising on corporate, regulatory and anti-trust matters. Other areas of focus include litigation and licensing.
Randa Havel Legal is notably active in cases connected with data protection and online media. Lawyers advise on entertainment and television. Other areas of focus include advertising, e-commerce and copyright.
Rowan Legal specialises in the protection of reputation and of author’s rights. Print publishers and operators of digital media form part of the firm’s client base as do television and radio broadcasters. and Lucia Menkeová are the firm’s key practitioners, both specialising in media law and representing clients before the courts and regulatory bodies.
Traplová Hakr Kubát specialises in copyright, unfair competition and licensing. The practice is widely recognised for its leadership and sector focus. Head of department Jana Šuranová Traplová is highlighted for her knowledge of media law and expertise in all aspects of copyright law.
Combining media and telecommunications, bpv Braun Partners focusses on market entry and exit, financing of start-ups and joint ventures. Lawyers also advise on press law, data protection and copyright. Managing partner Arthur Braun leads the team which also acts for media clients in cross-border expansions.
Pokorný, Wagner & Partners is recognised by peers for its work with clients from the advertising sector and its broader specialisation in unfair competition, copyright and data protection. Co-founder Radek Pokorný is the firm’s sector specialist managing the team which also advises on commercial aspects of intellectual property, licensing, franchising and disputes.
With expertise in traditional broadcast, White & Case is recognised for its work on content distribution via cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcasting. The firm’s cross-practice team advises on convergence between traditional distribution and internet-based services, cross-border acquisitions and spin-offs. Other areas of services include dispute resolution and advice on complex regulatory issues.
Data protection and intellectual property are Vejmelka & Wünsch’s key areas of focus. The practice is known for its advice on the transfer of personal data abroad and its work on license agreements and other contractual matters regarding copyright. Co-founder Josef Vejmelka focusses on commercial law.
BBH has transactional, regulatory and litigation experience in the TMT sector that makes it a relevant practice for industry clients. Key practitioners and advise on a broad range of aspects including, M&A transactions, protection of personal information and dispute resolution.
Kinstellar’s work with media clients includes advice on mergers and acquisitions, regulation and compliance, antitrust and tax. The team works closely with industry regulators and government bodies. Lawyers also acts for clients in complex, cross-practice intellectual property cases and related licensing and joint ventures.
Havel & Partners
Vyskocil, Kroslak & Partners
Čermák a spol.
Glatzova & Co.
Rott, Ruzicka & Guttmann
Peterka & Partners
Randa Havel Legal
Traplová Hakr Kubát
Allen & Overy
bpv Braun Partners
Pokorný, Wagner & Partners
White & Case
Vejmelka & Wünsch
Weil, Gotshal & Manges
RANKING AND EDITORIALS