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Copyright © Media Law International 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

Politics and market developments are shaping a complex and varied media market. The former dichotomous media system, with conflicting regulatory rules for broadcast and internet, has been firmly replaced by cross-segment regulatory scrutiny.


Legislative changes in the past year have taken into account media ownership, advertising and data localisation laws.


In November 2016, Russian regulators blocked access to social networking site LinkedIn for non-compliance of the personal data localisation law, which requires all internet companies to store data of Russian users within Russian territory.


The access ban has remained effective into Q2 2017 after the Moscow City Court upheld an enforcement request made by the telecoms and media compliance watchdog, Roskomnadzor.


Brian Zimbler, a partner at Morgan Lewis, commented on the changes to ownership rules, which restrict the share of foreign ownership in any Russian media to 20 percent.


He said: “2016 was a year of implementation where foreign companies have been very active in Russia. They have enjoyed growth but last year they had to make a decision about whether to make a

joint venture to comply or leave the market. Most clients have decided to stay and go the joint venture route.”


Mr Zimbler added: “It is clear that Russia is a place where if you want to be involved in publishing, TV or radio you are going to have to think about the regulation of content. It has become very heavily regulated. Over time it may discourage investment.”


Business developments in the last year include the exit of Finland’s Sanoma from the Russian market.


The company closed its transaction on remaining assets in March 2016, which included Sanoma’s 50 per cent stake in Fashion Press and a 50 per cent stake in Mondadori Independent Media.


In March 2017, leading Russian broadcaster CTC Media struck an exclusive content deal with NBCUniversal Dreamworks for animated series.


In a statement, Vyacheslav  Murugov, CTC Media CEO, commented: ‘Animation is the cornerstone of children’s content programming for CTC network.’


TIER 1
Dentons’ international reputation for having a high level of media law expertise is upheld in Russia, where the firm advises on multiple cases. Led by Victor Naumov, the team advises broadcasters, entertainments companies, conglomerates and online media businesses. In representative work lawyers assisted with the launch of a television channel, distribution of advertising and related regulations. The team also advised on privacy regulation.  


Hogan Lovells is a leading choice among media clients. The firm’s areas of practice cover all aspects of media, with a particular emphasis on television, radio broadcasting, social network operators and gaming. Natalia Gulyaeva manages the firm’s media activity and advises on restructuring, regulation licensing and data protection. The firm acts for high profile clients, local and international.


Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has rapidly established a position among Russia’s leading firms. Led by Brian L. Zimbler the team acts for print publishers, entertainment companies and film studios. The firm has notable experience advising on television and video-on-demand services. Lawyers regularly advise on new technologies for the distribution of television programming.


TIER 2

ALRUD Law Firm’s focus is on media and advertising. The team advises on all aspects of publishing, broadcasting and filming. Well regarded by peers, the practice is described as a leading choice for media law. Practitioners have in-depth knowledge of the television, radio and internet sectors. The team regularly advises on advertising, regulation, individual rights issues related to film, interviewing and photography.


Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners is highly regarded for its defamation dispute resolution. In highlighted work the team acted for a publishing house, part of Gazprom Media Holding, in a landmark defamation dispute which led to a reversal of the Moscow Arbitrazh Court award on appeal. Key practitioners include Alina Kudriavtseva and Dennis Turovets who are well regarded by peers.


Herbert Smith Freehills has an international focus on transactional work, regulation and disputes. The firm’s media and technology specialisation attracts high profile clients. Leading lawyer Justin Vaughan advises on joint ventures, restructurings and mergers. In highlighted work Mr Vaughan acted for Interros on its disposal of 100 per cent of shares in ProfMedia, a leading Russian media holding company with television, radio and film distribution assets, to Gazprom-Media Holding.


Squire Patton Boggs works on a range of high profile industry cases. Under the leadership of Sergey Treshchev the team advises on marketing, advertising, publishing, content and licensing matters. Other areas of focus include cyber security, intellectual property and data protection.


TIER 3

Data privacy and cyber security specialist Dechert advises local and European clients on compliance and regulation. The team works with telecommunications and technology companies on intellectual property, licensing and dispute resolution. Practice leader Laura M. Brank manages the TMT group, which assists with broadcasting agreements and corporate transactions including joint ventures.  


King & Spalding has a global focus on sports and entertainment. The practice acts on multiple corporate and regulatory cases focussed on mass media and broadcasting matters. The division is managed by Sergey B. Komolov who works with media specialist Xenia A. Melkova. Advising foreign television channels, Ms Melkova is well regarded for her knowledge of film production, distribution, licensing and data protection.


Pepeliaev Group is known for its sector-related tax advice and telecommunications specialisation. Led by Natalya Ivashchenko the team acts for clients on corporate and commercial cases, data protection and copyright. Other highlighted practitioners include Rustem Ahmetshin.


TIER 4

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton works on industry-specific corporate transactions, including acquisitions and restructurings in the pay-television market. With a media and advertising emphasis, the practice attracts broadcasters, print publishers, radio networks and marketing businesses.

 

CMS handles cross-border TMT matters ranging from licensing, outsourcing and mergers. Managed by Maxim Boulba, head of the TMT and competition practice, the team advises on regulation and compliance and has a highlighted emphasis on technology development system integration. The firm also specialise in sports law and intellectual property.


Established in 2009, Peterka & Partners’ Moscow office is an expansion of the firm’s CEE presence. Lawyers act for clients in a range of advertising cases with aspects of commercial agreements and competition law. The firm’s broader focus areas include sports and entertainment. Country practice leader Vlad Rudnitsky is highlighted for his litigation and copyright experience.


Ranking and editorials

TIER 1

Dentons

Hogan Lovells

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius


TIER 2

ALRUD Law Firm

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners

Herbert Smith Freehills

Squire Patton Boggs


TIER 3

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld  

Dechert

King & Spalding

MGAP Attorneys at Law

Pepeliaev Group


TIER 4

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

CMS

Peterka & Partners

White & Case

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