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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

Media funding and regulation have become significant topics this year after President Andrzej Duda signed a bill to fund Poland’s public media with a sum of PLN2 billion (USD510 million).


The funding bill was signed in March 2020 and will support state television and radio amid campaigns for this year’s May presidential election.


Lawyers say that, while the market welcomes funding, there are concerns about the government’s use of public media.  


In October last year, the ruling Law and Justice party announced plans to regulate journalism. A 232-page party manifesto was published in the same month, intended to ensure ethical and professional standards among journalists.


Other developments over the past year include growth in streaming services. Lawyers say industry segments that are expected to produce the highest level of growth in the next year include OTT, video games and online advertising.


In the same month last year, Cyfrowy Polsat announced a joint-venture agreement with Discovery Communications Europe and TVN to launch an OTT streaming platform.

The streaming service will offer domestic and foreign viewer content ranging from films and documentaries to sports and other entertainment features.


Commenting on the launch, Maciej Stec, deputy president for strategy at Cyfrowy Polsat, said: “We are glad to be co-creating a project which is likely to become a real alternative to international OTTs.


“Our ambition is for the platform to offer the best and most advanced technological solutions. It is especially important that this project has the capability to bring Polish content to international viewers, too.”


Kasia Kieli, president and CEO at Discovery EMEA, said: “Polish audiences will have a dizzying number of streaming options for international content, but this will undoubtedly be the home of the best Polish productions.”

TIER 1

Baker McKenzie Krzyzowski i Wspólnicy has a strong position nationally and is regularly praised by competitors. Marek Rosinski manages the Warsaw practice which focusses on copyright and technology. The firm’s multidisciplinary approach brings together a range of sector-related service areas that include commercial law, litigation and unfair competition.


Krzysztof Czyzewski’s leadership drives media activity at Czyżewscy Kancelaria Adwokacka. The boutique firm’s sector coverage is admirable. The practice specialises in book publishing, press, entertainment, film and advertising. Lawyers have extensive experience advising on film productions, television formats, protection of journalistic confidentiality and personal data protection.  


With distinct emphasis on advertising, media and promotional law, Traple Konarski Podrecki & Partners brings together leading industry experts. One client noted: “Xawery Konarski earns a place among Poland's most highly regarded individuals. He frequently advises the Polish government on legal issues involving legislative reform.” Co-founder and media law specialist Elżbieta Traple advises multiple Polish and foreign entities operating in the industry.


WKB Wierciński, Kwieciński, Baehr is firm headquartered in Warsaw, with a branch office in Poznan. Its staff consist of over 100 experienced lawyers who specialise in all areas of business law. The firm has expertise in mergers and acquisitions (including privatisation projects), court and out-of-court restructurings of commercial entities, project financing, energy law, competition law, public procurement, and infrastructure projects, including those based on public-private partnership. The firm also specialises in real estate, environmental and investment projects, and advises its clients on a broad variety of company law issues (including corporate governance), intellectual property, media and new technology regulatory frameworks, telecommunications, competition, labour, tax and insurance law. WKB lawyers advise Polish and foreign businesses on large privatisation, acquisition and restructuring transactions. Its services are always tailored to meet the needs of each client.


TIER 2

The Dentons media group is led by Igor Ostrowski who “has excellent client managing skills“ according to one client while another commented, “I find the performance of Dentons’ office very professional. Memorandums were prepared thoroughly, even if on short notice. The evaluation of time spent on particular works was also satisfactory.” Karol Laskowski is singled out for his advice on intellectual property law. Working with HBO, lawyers advised on its launch of HBO Nordic, a new platform in Scandinavia. The team assisted with licensing and litigation across Poland, Romania, Russia and the UK.  


Domanski Zakrzewski Palinka assist’s clients in dealing with local intricacies impacting multi-national marketing projects involving both ATL and BTL advertising (co-marketing agreements, marketing materials’ clearance, establishing T&Cs, regulatory matters, esp. with gambling schemes, loyalty schemes and bonus sale schemes). The firm advises leading publishers on distribution systems, distribution agreements, press registration, protection of intellectual property rights, newspaper formats and disputes over personal rights. The firm’s services are also focussed on the dynamically developing video games market, particularly as regards new business models for on-line games, games of chance, free-to-play, pay per play, and digital content distribution models.


GWW is widely acknowledged to be one of Poland’s leading advisory practices. The firm acts for clients from film and broadcasting sectors and is praised by peers for its work in these fields. Lawyers include Wojciech Krupa, Wacław Knopkiewicz and Michał Sękowski who are among the firm’s media law specialists. The team advises on the film production and trading in television and marketing rights.   


Driven by a focus on sports and intellectual property, Wardyński & Partners is prime choice for sports companies. The practice covers commercial and corporate areas of work on behalf of television and radio broadcasters, operators of digital platforms, advertising agencies and producers of audio-visual recordings. The team includes key practitioners Jan Ciećwierz and Paweł Mazut and is renowned for its primary specialisation in copyright law.


TIER 3

With a primarily focus on telecommunications, Chajec, Don-Siemion & Żyto’s work within the TMT sector also includes ongoing advice to one of Poland’s largest private television stations and satellite television platforms. Led by Andrzej Chajec, the team has wide ranging experience including transactional, advisory and regulatory.


Jakubowski & Pluta and Partners’ press law focus is matched by its advertising and copyright specialisation. The team works with publishers and radio broadcasters on freedom of expression, publishing corrections and advises on the use of artistic works. The practice is under the leadership of its founders Janusz Jakubowski and Krzysztof Pluta.


As highlighted by its clients, Linklaters has “very good knowledge of law and the regulatory environment”. Clients also note the firm’s litigation experience and highlight Cezary Wiśniewski for his skill and adeptness. In representative work, the team advised Bonnier Business Polska on all IP aspects of its acquisition of media company Grupa Bankier from the Dutch Naspers Group. The firm regularly handles cross-broader cases involving broadcasting, data protection and technology contracts.


TIER 4

Tomasz Koryzma leads with TMT/ IP practice group at CMS The firm is known for its advice on user generated content, e-commerce issues and infringement on the internet. Lawyers advise on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious cases.


Led by Ewa Kurowska-Tober, the media division at DLA Piper Giziński Kycia

combines commercial and regulatory aspects in cases involving internet law, cloud computing, e-commerce, broadcasting, distribution contracts and licensing agreements. The firm’s global competence and cross-border expertise makes it a relevant component of the legal market and a trusted brand say peers.


Weil, Gotshal & Manges impresses its clients repeatedly. One client commented: “Weil’s Warsaw

office is based on attorneys who bring unique insight to the complex transactional matters they handle.” The team’s expansive sector coverage is highlighted by another client who noted: “Weil advised us in the area of broadcasting law, trademarks and copyrights matters. Their media and IP practice was engaged in highly sophisticated due diligence projects, connected with IPO, high yield bond offering, M&A and others.” Head of department Pawel Rymarz manages a range of cases including the sale of a controlling stake in one of Poland’s leading television broadcasters.


TIER 5

Allen & Overy is praised by peers for its IP focus. Key practitioner Magdalena Bartosik is singled out for her expertise with one competitor stating: “Magdalena is experienced IP/ TMT lawyer advising on various aspects connected with media and technology law. She is business oriented and has a good theoretical background”.


With a focus on new technology and intellectual property, FKA Furtek Komosa Aleksandrowicz’s sector-related work is derived from converged areas of media. Lawyers have in-depth knowledge of electronic market regulation and regularly advise on financing and distribution agreements.


Kopeć & Zaborowski specializes in media law and protection of personal rights,  as well as civil litigation and criminal press law. Our clients include well-known politicians,  journalists, actors, celebrities, publishers, media owners, sports agencies and businessmen. KKZ work in partnership with both private and public media in the following areas:  pre-release material control, audio visual material at the production and post-production  stages both in respect of legal matters pertaining to Press Law and copyrights issues. Maciej Zaborowski and his department are frequent guests and commentators
on television, the radio, social media and in the press.


The TMT group at Norton Rose Fulbright is formed of experienced lawyers who have a thorough understanding of regulatory and transactional matters. Other core areas of focus include copyright and other intellectual property-related matters.


Stolarek & Grabalski is appointed by television and radio broadcasters in cases involving corporate transactions such as mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. The firm’s sector involvement is derived from its multidisciplinary approach that brings together various cases connected with media industry investment, start-up ventures and contractual work.

Top

TIER 1

Baker McKenzie Krzyzowski i Wspólnicy

Czyżewscy Kancelaria Adwokacka

Traple Konarski Podrecki & Partners

WKB Wierciński, Kwieciński, Baehr


TIER 2

Bird & Bird

Dentons

Domanski Zakrzewski Palinka

GWW

Wardyński & Partners


TIER 3

Chajec, Don-Siemion & Żyto

Jakubowski Pluta and Partners

Linklaters

LSW Leśnodorski Ślusarek and Partners

SK&S - Sołtysiński Kawecki & Szlęzak

Eversheds Sutherland Wierzbowski


TIER 4

APLaw Artur Piechocki

CMS

DLA Piper Giziński Kycia

Greenberg Traurig Grzesiak

Kochański & Partners

Maruta Wachta

Weil, Gotshal & Manges


TIER 5

Allen & Overy

FKA Furtek Komosa Aleksandrowicz

Kopeć & Zaborowski

Hogan Lovells

Norton Rose Fulbright

Stolarek & Grabalski  

Zagajewski & Skowron

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FEATURED ARTICLE BY


AGNIESZKA WIERCINSKA-KRUZEWSKA & PAULINA MASLAK-STEPNIKOWSKA

WKB WIERCINSKI, KWIECINSKI, BAEHR  

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