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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

INDIA

Lawyers say high-value work over the past year has undoubtedly been in the area of broadcasting regulation, given 2020 rules that were subsequently challenged by broadcasters. Meanwhile high-frequency work is notably attributed to copyright infringement actions for films, music and TV broadcasts.


Abhishek Malhotra, Founding Partner of TMT Law, commented: “There has been an expected but massive upsurge in viewership of content on OTT platforms. Resultantly, this has also attracted a lot of litigation, over the quality of content, censorship of the platforms.”


Mr Malhotra added: “The constant push from Public Interest Litigation Petitioners and a nudge from the government has led the Industry Association to adopt certain self-regulatory guidelines to govern their content. These guidelines, though submitted to the relevant government department, have not yet been formally approved.”


There has been increased scrutiny, over the past year, of traditional and new media. Amit Kiran, Partner at Poovayya & Co., explained: “From investigations of traditional media channels by

state governments to the summons of social media entities by legislative committees, the past year has seen a significant increase in the general interest around the impact of the industry and the potential legislative measures required to regulate this sphere.”


Mr Kiran continued: “In keeping with this, we have seen a growing number of social media entities proactively self-regulating content and participating in the litigation process.”


In other developments, the government limited foreign direct investment (FDI) to 26 per cent in the digital sector. The FDI limit was imposed in September 2019 and was applicable to print media only. This limit was reinforced in November 2020, incorporating digital media.


The rules apply to uploading and streaming news as well as current affairs through digital media. Lawyers say the FDI cap is likely to lead to restricted foreign investment in this sector.


TIER 1

Specialising in entertainment, sports and copyright, Anand and Anand is vastly involved in a range of cases. The firm’s prominence is highlighted by competitors nationally who describe the firm as one of India’s leading practices. Appointed by national broadcasters including CNN-IBN, Star TV and VH1, the firm handles wide-ranging matters including corporate, advisory and regulatory. Other clients include internet companies, radio networks and motion picture production companies.


J. Sagar Associates’ core focus is broadcasting. The firm’s work includes advice on regulatory approvals, compliance and licensing and spectrum allocation. Lawyers also assist with acquisitions and divestments. Clients praise lawyers for their knowledge of content creation and acquisition. The team has considerable experience assisting national cable operators, entertainment companies and print publishers.


Clients highlight Naik Naik & Company for its “exceptional strength in litigation and arbitration both at strategy and execution level”. Lawyers are highly reputed for their in-depth knowledge of laws and regulation. One client noted: “Naik Naik & Co. has a deep understanding of media laws and media businesses in India, their advisory service and solutions are an amalgamation of both and therefore adds tremendous value to us. Their agility and timely response on issues is noteworthy.” Competitors single out the firm for its “large volume of work in the media industry with several leading filmmakers”.


Media work at Nishith Desai Associates ranges from advice on entertainment tax through to co-production treaties and DTH licensing. Peers single out the firm for its “Strong focus on media and entertainment”. The team advises television networks, advertisers and new media companies. In addition to its six offices in India, the firm has a presence in Munich and New York.

 

TIER 2

ALMT Legal has a well-established TMT practice recognised for its non-contentious work with artists, celebrities and sports personalities. Managed by Hitesh Jain, the media group regularly assists with drafting and negotiating agreements and advises on film production and distribution. Lawyers also litigate in a broad range of cases.


The focus at DSK Legal is on intellectual property, corporate law, information technology and related tax. Anand Desai manages the department, which represents celebrities, production houses, film financiers and distributors. Areas of advice include regulation on content and broadcasting, antitrust and corporate matters.


Khaitan & Co advises extensively on privatisation, regulatory approvals and cross-border transactions. Rabindra Jhunjhunwala manages the TMT practice which is notably active in corporate and transactional cases. In highlighted work the team acted for Prime Focus Limited in relation to its acquisition of Reliance MediaWorks Limited’s film and media services.


Media lawyers at Krishna & Saurastri Associates are experienced in litigation and arbitration. The media and entertainment group advises a range of clients on licensing, production, post-production and contracts. Clients include publishers and multimedia companies, local and international.


L&L Partners is highlighted for its IP litigation experience. Corporate transactions are an important area of focus for the firm, which regularly assists clients with structuring, licensing, franchising, joint-ventures and IP audits. Managing the practice, founding partner Rajiv K. Luthra advises extensively on competition law and anti-trust matters.


Focussed on broadcast and sports law, Lall & Sethi provides advisory and transactional advice to a wide range of clients.. The firm’s work includes advice  to clients including Dish TV, Siti Cable and Taj Television on carriage charges and payment of entertainment tax by DTH operators. The firm is widely respected by peers and recognised for its industry dedication.


Rahul Chaudhry & Partners is managed by leading copyright specialist Rahul Chaudhry who has detailed experience advising local and international media corporations including print publishers. One client noted: “What sets Rahul Chaudhry & Partners and its team apart from other firms is that they have, without fail, been exceptional in their responsiveness. We look at the firm and the team more as associates rather than as external partners.”  Established in 1983, the firm has built a substantial client base that includes entertainment, media and publishing companies.  


TMT Law Practice with offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, is a boutique, mid-size law firm offering a broad array of services in the Technology Media and Telecommunications sectors. The firm’s services include practice area offerings such as Intellectual Property, Dispute Resolution & Arbitration, Regulatory Advisory, Corporate/Commercial and Transactional support, Competition Law, and Policy and Legislative support across industry verticals such as Media & Entertainment. TMT Law represents Fortune 500 companies, MSMEs and start-ups. The firm is heavily invested in the niche areas of emerging technology, including Commercial Space and Satellite Communications, Life Sciences and Healthcare, Data Protection, Sports & Gaming, E-commerce and Cybersecurity, FinTech, HealthTech and AgriTech.


Trilegals core areas of expertise include broadcasting, technology and IP. The practice provides advice to some of the largest TMT companies in India and globally. Lawyers advise on commercial, regulatory and transactional matters. Other areas of focus include outsourcing and e-commerce.      


TIER 3

ARA LAW has considerable experience advising television and media companies on the establishment of new radio and television networks. Lawyers regularly draft and negotiate agreements for film and music sector clients. The team also  assists with corporate finance arrangements.  


Archer & Angel is highly praised by peers nationally and recognised for its broad coverage of entertainment, gaming and sports sectors. Lawyers advise advertisers, broadcasters and television companies with corporate issues, commercial contracts and disputes. In highlighted work the team advised a Mumbai-based film production company on agreements with writers, designers and production personnel for television shows and documentaries.


Gandhi & Associates advises on all segments of the media and entertainment industries. In highlighted work led by Vishal Gandhi, the team advised BSK Network & Entertainment on its joint venture with Vistaar Entertainment in a case involving refinancing. In other work the team assisted Stardomania Entertainment with negotiating a joint venture with Cineyug Entertainment. The firm’s broad client based includes actors, directors, producers, talent management companies and internet companies.  


The TMT division at HSA Advocates is managed by Bharat Sharma in Mumbai and Gaurav Sahay in Bengaluru. The firm has diverse involvement with clients within the film and television industries. Lawyers drafts and negotiate co-production agreements between local and Hollywood studios. The team also advises on competition law, copyright and licensing agreements and handles litigation.

 

Manilal Kher Ambalal & Cos media and entertainment contentious work involves contractual disputes, copyright infringement, defamation and privacy. The team also assists with non-contentious matters such as licensing, programming and rights acquisition. The firm is managed by Vikram Trivedi who advises leading entertainment channels and music companies.    


Core focus areas of Saikrishna & Associates include online and digital media. The firm is known for its specialisation in copyright law, competition law and regulation. In highlighted work led by managing partner Saikrishna Rajagopal the team assisted Fox Stars Studios India in a high value deal with Dharma Productions for the acquisition of the distribution rights of nine feature films.


TIER 4

Dhir & Dhir Associates has a notable emphasis on the entertainment and broadcasting sectors. The team advises on the creation, production and dissemination of advertising, particularly interactive technology and consumer-generated content. Lawyers also assist with privacy, censorship and dispute resolution.


Gagrats works with a cross-selection of international clients based in European and the US. The firm’s corporate department, notably focussed on mergers and acquisitions, handles all media related cases including indirect acquisitions, shareholding transfers and other sector-related transactions.  


Full-service firm Lakshmitumaran & Sridharan Attorneys has an expansive reach with ten offices around the country specialising in intellectual property. Based in New Delhi, co-founding partner V. Lakshmitumaran handles high profile litigation in local and global cases. The team, which includes Mumbai-based V. Sridharan, advises on the preparation, licensing and management of IP rights.


Cyber law expert Pavan Duggal handles cases connected with e-commerce, copyright and privacy. Founding partner Pavan Duggal advises the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology on internet law and governance. The firm is praised by its peers and widely respected for its niche focus.


Poovayya & Co. represents leading internet companies on third party content regulation, free speech and safe harbour principles. The firm’s client base also includes regional satellite news channels, radio stations and print media companies. Joint heads of division Siddhartha George and Manu Kulkarni are extensively involved in contentious litigation involving broadcast sector clients and in cases of defamation.  


Rajani Associates advises on film financing, broadcasting rights, product endorsement, film sponsoring and programming contracts between production houses and television channels. The team also assists clients with all copyright-related matters.


Surana & Surana is well regarded for its intellectual property law expertise. The team handles contentious and non-contentious copyright cases on behalf of local and international clients. Led by Vinod Surana, the team advises on matters ranging from protection and enforcement to licensing and distribution.


TIER 5

Dua Associates is an established name in the legal market and recognised for its industry expertise. The practice works with government authorities including the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology - advising on regulatory and legal issues arising from emerging technologies and changes to the licensing legal framework. The team handles joint venture negotiations, mergers and acquisitions and business transfers.


Media work at Singhania & Partners is primarily focussed on intellectual property relating to advertising and e-commerce. The team’s IP and TMT department work collaboratively, providing clients with cross-practice advice on sector-related transactions.

MUMBAI

TIER 1

Anand and Anand

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

Naik Naik & Company

Nishith Desai Associates    


TIER 2

Desai & Diwanji  

DSK Legal   

J. Sagar Associates  

Krishna & Saurastri Associates  

L&L Partners

Trilegal


TIER 3

ALMT Legal

ARA LAW

Gandhi & Associates    

HSA Advocates  

Khaitan & Co

Majmudar & Partners

Manilal Kher Ambalal Co.

Lall & Sethi  

LexOrbis

Saikrishna & Associates


TIER 4

Bharucha & Partners

Gagrats   

IndusLaw

Lakshmitumaran & Sridharan  

Poovayya & Co.

Surana & Surana

Vaish Associates


TIER 5

Advaya Legal

Economic Laws Practice

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

Wadia Ghandy & Co



RANKING AND EDITORIALS

 REGIONS WE COVER

 Middle East and North Africa

 North America

 Asia-Pacific

 Western Europe

 Central and Eastern Europe

NEW DELHI

TIER 1

Anand and Anand

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

AZB & Partners   

Singh & Singh


TIER 2

J. Sagar Associates   

Khaitan & Co

Kochhar & Co.

L&L Partners

Rahul Chaudhry & Partners

Lall & Sethi

Saikrishna & Associates

TMT Law Practice

Trilegal   


TIER 3

Advaita Legal

Archer & Angel

Fox Mandal

HSA Advocates  

IndusLaw

LexOrbis

Poovayya & Co.


TIER 4

Bhasin & Co

Dhir & Dhir Associates

Lakshmitumaran & Sridharan  

Link Legal

Pavan Duggal

Rajani Associates

S&R Associates   


TIER 5

Dua Associates

LexCounsel

Scriboard

Singhania & Partners

Titus & Co.  


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