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Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
The industry’s most important developments are related to the pay-per-view market, the role of OTTs and streaming, say lawyers.
According to IM Media Consulting, price wars have reduced margins for pay-per-view operators, which are now forced to adjust their models in view of intercepting traditional television content.
Fabrizio Cugia di Sant'Orsola, a partner at Cugia Cuomo, explained: “A debate has been triggered, as it has elsewhere in the EU, on the contribution OTTs should give to network operators and in general for subsidising the universal service.”
He added: “This debate could modify the general Electronic Communications Code with regards to the possible extension of universal services, authorisation obligations of OTTs operating in the territory and fiscal impositions on services offered in the territory.”
The focus on intellectual property remains unwavering as legislative changes continue to reshape legal frameworks.
Mr Cugia di Sant'Orsola commented: “On the legislative field the most important novelty is that the government has launched a series of initiatives for overcoming the digital divide, with public tenders aiming at covering non-digitalised areas.
“We still need to see if this will turn out a success in view of the 2020 EU objectives, but the program is very much of interest for the possible development of quadruple play offering.”
Other developments include transactional activity in what has been “a terrific year for media”.
Commenting on a string of media acquisitions, Giangi Olivi, a partner at DLA Piper, said: “Normally you would not get more than one deal a year. This means the market is more open, and open to foreign operators, and this is a positive thing. I would expect more in the future and more reorganising.”
He added: “Another thing that is extremely positive is there are more ways of distribution. One is through effectively all telcos. They have OTT platforms that are becoming more relevant which means more opportunity for content distributors to monetise their content.”
Film financing and tax credits are also expected to prompt growth and boost the film industry.
Giangiacomo Olivi is recognised internationally for his extensive knowledge and experience. Another client noted: “The reputation and expertise of DLA Piper and their partner Giangiacomo Olivi in the media and broadcasting field played a large part in the selection of DLA Piper.” The team advises extensively on mergers and acquisitions, licensing agreements, on-demand content transmission deals and audio-visual production.
Media work at Hogan Lovells is handled by head of division Giovanni Ghirardi, whose specialisation includes litigation. Sabrina Borocci also advises on TMT matters with a focus on antitrust matters at a compliance and litigation level. The team represents press publishers and broadcasters on regulation, distribution, franchising, unfair competition and copyright matters. The firm’s international focus on media and entertainment makes it a popular choice among local and global clients.
Bird & Bird specialises in TMT and IP matters. Co-managed by Massimiliano Mostardini and Giovanni Galimberti, the practice is recognised for its historic strength in technology and communications. Lawyers provide transactional support in the exploitation of rights, advice on data and privacy issues, content distribution and regulation. Other areas of expertise include sector-related tax, acquisitions and competition.
Media lawyers at Working with Roberta Mollica, head of the media department Luca Arnaboldi advises on broadcasting and programming regulatory frameworks, convergence of media and network technologies and commercial contracts.
Chiomenti Studio Legale has exceptional transactional experience acting for media clients including some of the largest commercial broadcasters. Paolo Bertoni manages the TMT practice which represents operators in the administrative and judicial courts, assists with regulatory matters and advises on the structuring of products and services. One broadcast clients commented: “Both senior and junior associates proved to have the required expertise. They are very strong in corporate law, M&A and antitrust.”
With an international focus on media and advertising, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is recognised as a leading firm for all matters connected with television, radio and publishing sectors. The
practice is distinguished for its expertise in antitrust, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and sales of programming distribution rights.
International firm Ponti - De Sanctis & Partners is highlighted by competitors as a “super leader for cinema.” The firm acts for entertainment and new technologies companies on film and television financing,
production and distribution, multimedia, music recording and publishing. The team also specialises in copyright, assisting with rights management, stage rights licensing and talent representation.
Cugia Cuomo & Associati is well regarded by its clients who say, “Work was conducted against very challenging time scales. The firm produced detailed and clearly considered results to meet the deadlines set.” Fabrizio Cugia di Sant’Orsola manages the TMT group which is active in regulatory matters, data protection and entertainment. Another client highlighted: “The complexity and innovative features of the issues under review meant it would have been very difficult for a general commercial law firm to have supported this work. We felt confident from the written advice provided and related discussions that the lawyers advising had a strong underlying knowledge of and experience”.
Giorgio Mondini, the team assists clients from the music, cinema, home video and publishing industries in litigation and non-judicial matters. Giacomo Bonelli, who also specialises in IP, is among the firm’s key practitioners.
Vittorio Noseda’s TMT practice also works with producers of video games and advises on corporate transactions that include joint ventures.
Media lawyers at BonelliErede have rigorous experience drafting contracts for convergence projects with
mobile networks for digital television, outsourcing digital broadcasting networks and advising on the creation and operation of national digital broadcasting networks. The firm’s key practitioners Eliana Catalano and Tommaso Faelli also advise film, music and print companies.
As noted by one client, “Gallavotti Bernardini & Partners has prominent experience in the audio-visual and theatrical industries”. Clients also praise the firm’s co-heads of practice, highlighting: “Mario Gallavotti has a long-standing industry experience and Antonio Bernardinihas has a deep understanding and practice of international acquisitions and rights exploitation.” In representative work the firm acted for Turner’s group companies, part of Time Warner Group, on mergers and acquisitions, business development transactions, contractual and regulatory matters.
Data protection, IT and IP segments drive media activity at Macchi di Cellere Gangemi. Work involves all aspects of privacy and data protection connected with the establishment and operation of websites in Italy. Lawyers also draft privacy policies and advise on data acquisition. The team, which includes Stefano Bartoli and Simone Gumbuto, works with entertainment sector clients on copyright matters and neighbouring rights.
Tonucci & Partners focusses on the broadcasting sector and has notable expertise in this area. The
firm’s work ranges from advice on film and television production and distribution to stage productions and
publishing. Managed by Mauro Baldissoni and Alessandro Vasta, the TMT group also assists with the exploitation of all types of IP rights, online gaming and e-commerce.
Legance provides specialist advice on competition matters connected with traditional media and the
internet, before national and EU regulators. TMT lawyers, including Gilberto Nava and Valerio Mosca, advise on contractual matters, data protection and regulation. The team also drafts and negotiates agreements for the supply and management of communications services. Other areas of focus include corporate transactions that include mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs and capital increase.
Pirola Pennuto Zei & Associati’s work involves assistance with applications for licenses and
authorisations for television broadcasting. With notable expertise in audio-visual law, the team’s work is wide-ranging and includes advice on contracts relating to financing, production, distribution of films and television programmes - and related tax incentives. Lawyers also advise on compliance and regulation.
Studio Legale Sutti focusses on advertising, copyright and competition. Head of department Simona Cazzaniga leads the team in its handling of contentious and non-contentious cases. Lawyers advise on licensing, unfair competition, antitrust, distribution and franchising. Litigation and arbitration are also among the firm’s key areas of practice.
Boutique firm Studio Ubertazzi focusses on IP and advertising. Co-founder Luigi Carlo Ubertazzi leads the firm with a specialisation in related laws and unfair competition. The practice is described as active in the local legal market with a respectable portfolio that includes clients from the entertainment industry - domestic and foreign.
Valli Mancuso & Associati acts for several foreign and local broadcasters. Lawyers assist free-to-air and pay-television companies with content acquisitions through purchase and license agreements. Led by joint founders Andrea Valli and Marcello Mancuso, the team also represents sports clients on FIFA and the Italian football league on their trading of television, internet and radio rights.
Ranking and editorials
Bird & Bird
Chiomenti Studio Legale
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Ponti - De Sanctis & Partners
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Gallavotti Bernardini & Partners
Macchi di Cellere Gangemi
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
Tonucci & Partners
Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappeli & Partners
Libertini Mario Studio Legale
Monaco Studio Legale
Pirola Pennuto Zei & Associati
Studio Legale Sutti
Valli Mancuso & Associati
RANKING AND EDITORIALS