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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

INDIA

Digital growth and data privacy are

among the most significant areas of development in India’s media market over the past year.   

 

The government introduced a draft privacy bill to address rising concerns in an increasingly digital economy. Announced in August, the 2018 Personal Data Protection Bill includes provisions for individual consent to data sharing, data storage and awards rights to users.


Rodney D. Ryder, Partner at Scriboard law firm said: “The most significant development in India has been Data Privacy from both legislative and a business point of view.  With the publication of the draft Data Protection Bill 2018 and the Supreme Court ruling on the Aadhaar programme, this entire year has been impacted with Data Privacy.”


Mr Ryder added: “Businesses in India are actively trying to comply with Data Privacy regulations, be it the EU GDPR or other guidelines and advisories issued by various Governments.”


In related news, PwC announced plans in November 2018 to invest in digital services in India. The professional services firm will invest INR 1 billion on developing digital solutions and plans to hire one thousand digital technology experts over the next three years.


Sivarama Krishnan, Partner at PwC India, said: "We ourselves operate in a 'cloud-first' environment and we are now leveraging our experience to create relevant solutions for our clients. The focus is on building a digital ecosystem of solutions adoptable for plug-and-play to solve client problems using emerging technologies.”

In February 2018, the Finance Ministry announced provisions in the Interim Budget 2019-2020 that support the entertainment industry. The initiative aims to enhance the ease of doing business with a single-clearance window for Indian filmmakers.

 

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal commented: “Entertainment industry is a major employment generator. To promote entertainment industry - Single window clearance for ease of shooting

films, available only to foreigners, is now going to be made available to Indian filmmakers as well. Regulatory provisions will rely more on self-declaration.”


He continued: “We will also introduce anti-camcording provisions in the Cinematograph Act to control the menace of piracy.”


Speaking of industry expansion, Frank D’Souza, Entertainment and Media Partner at PwC India, said: “It is not surprising that India continues to be one of the fastest growing entertainment and media markets.”


He added: “However, what is encouraging is how non-linear media is expected to grow on the back of increase in device penetration, lower internet prices, consumer content demand and portability preferences. This will manifest in significant growth in OTT, e-sports and internet advertising.”


FEATURED ARTICLE BY


PRAVIN ANAND AND PRACHI AGARWAL

ANAND AND ANAND    


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.

 

Lall Lahiri & Salhotra 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 Lall Lahiri & Salhotra 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.  


Luthra & Luthra 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.


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.


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.  


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 out of New Delhi and Mumbai offices by Navin Syiem and Anjan Dasgupta respectively. 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.    


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.


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 Kulkari 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.


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.


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.



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Ranking and editorials

MUMBAI

TIER 1

Anand and Anand

J. Sagar Associates

Naik Naik & Company

Nishith Desai Associates    


TIER 2

ALMT Legal

Desai & Diwanji  

DSK Legal    

Khaitan & Co

Krishna & Saurastri Associates  

Luthra & Luthra

Trilegal


TIER 3

ARA Law

Gagrats   

Gandhi & Associates    

HSA Advocates  

Majmudar & Partners

Manilal Kher Ambalal & Co

Lall & Sethi  


TIER 4

Bharucha & Partners

Lakshmitumaran & Sridharan Attorneys

Poovayya & Co.

Saikrishna & Associates

Surana & Surana

Vaish Associates Advocates


TIER 5

Advaya Legal

Economic Laws Practice

Shardul Amarchand  Mangaldas & Co

Wadia Ghandy & Co

W.S. Kane & Co

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NEW DELHI

TIER 1

Anand and Anand

Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A.Shroff & Co

AZB & Partners   

J. Sagar Associates   

Singh & Singh


TIER 2

Khaitan & Co

Kochhar & Co.

Luthra & Luthra

Lall Lahiri & Salhotra

Lall & Sethi

Trilegal   


TIER 3

Advaita Legal

Archer & Angel

Fox Mandal

Lakshmitumaran & Sridharan Attorneys

Link Legal

Saikrishna & Associates

TMT Law Practice


TIER 4

Bhasin & Co.

Dhir & Dhir Associates

HSA Advocates  

Pavan Duggal

Poovayya & Co.

Rajani Associates

S&R Associates   


TIER 5

Dua Associates

K.G. Bhagat & Co.

LexCounsel

Scriboard

Singhania & Partners

Titus & Co.  



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