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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

SINGAPORE

Digital advance and cybersecurity feature dominantly in Singapore’s market activity over the past year as the country prepares for a digital future.


In December 2018, the government introduced

the Media Industry Digital Plan, an initiative designed to accelerate the digitisation of local media businesses.  

 

Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, announced the initiative, which provides SMEs with ‘pre-approved solutions to digitalise their operations and optimise their productivity’.


Ms Sim said the plan was created to help SMEs develop their digital capabilities as the country continues to “evolve at a fast pace”.

 

She explained: “We recognise the need for stronger, more agile companies and higher skilled professionals to seize opportunities in Asia and beyond. Not only must we build creative skills, which remain important in the media sector, but also digital skills, so our media SMEs and professionals can thrive in an increasingly

digital environment.”


In other developments, Singapore’s new Cybersecurity Act came into force in August 2018.

The law creates a licensing regime that requires data security service providers in Singapore to

be registered.


The law also creates a regulatory framework for monitoring and reporting cybersecurity threats.

 

Opportunities for content production have increased in Singapore following the entry of OTT platforms including Netflix and Taiwan’s Catchplay, say lawyers.


The IMDA commented that Singapore-made television content has gained recognition in recent years, gaining audiences from around 70 countries.

 

In May 2018, the IMDA stated: ‘Moving from providing services-for-hire to co-owning and creating original content, Singapore media companies have also proven to be strong co-production partners.’ 

TIER 1

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow is known for its focus on media and advertising law. The firm advises extensively on a range of intellectual property matters, domestic and cross-border. With two decades of experience, Andy Leck leads the team in contentious and non-contentious matters. Lawyers advise on commercial exploitation of intellectual property in the media and technology industries.


Drew & Napier “provides a professional service on a consistent basis” say clients. The practice is distinguished for its media law specialisation and case handling that clients describe as “above expectation”. The firm works closely with media regulator MDA and industry leaders including Spotify, Scripps and Discovery Communications. Department head Chong Kin Lim, who is described by clients as “pragmatic, thorough and responsive”, is recognised for his in-depth knowledge of the pay-television sector.


Media and entertainment specialist Samuel Seow Law Corporation is one of Asia’s leading firm’s that is highly praised for its work with film, theatre and production companies. Under the leadership of founding partner Samuel Seow, the team advises on a broad range of matters including financing and distribution of films, advertising and promotion, book publishing and online media. Lawyers have extensive experience advising on corporate and commercial matters, intellectual property and dispute resolution.


TIER 2

Working closely with its regional offices in Hong Kong and China, Bird & Bird ATMD focusses on commercial services. Core competence areas are sports law, data protection and sector-related tax advice. The practice is well regarded for expertise in intellectual property law, domestic and cross-border transactions. Lawyers also regularly advise government agencies, regulatory bodies and public institutions. 


CMS is instructed by leading media organisations, local and international. The firm’s work includes, corporate, commercial and dispute resolution. Andrew Stott manages the corporate and media division while Matt Pollins is head of digital media. Acting for A+E Networks, the team assisted with the production, sponsorship and distribution of a new series of MasterChef Asia. The firm also advised on the launch of HOOQ, a regional internet television service, a joint venture between Sony, Singtel and Warner Bros.    


Pinsent Masons MPillay has an international focus on cross-border transactions. The practice, co-managed by Jon Howes and Mohan Pillay, is among the local leaders for entertainment and technology matters. Lawyers advise on licensing agreements, copyright and data protection. Clients include social media companies and film studios.


Rajah & Tann is well established in the legal market for its broad coverage of media cases.  The firm integrates media and entertainment, intellectual property, technology and telecommunications. With a full-service approach, the team works across a range of cases, from advisory to corporate and commercial.  


WongPartnership works with media regulatory bodies and some of the world’s best known content producers in the motion picture and music industries. The practice is widely respected for its sector specialisation, attracting television networks and other creative industry clients that include filmmakers, song writers, producers and production houses. Lawyers also advise on sector-related investment, securitisation, distribution and exploitation projects.


TIER 3

Dentons Rodyk is noted by peers for its focus on multiple areas of media, from entertainment law and gaming to publishing and broadcast. The practice is popular among clients including joint venture parties, content creators, start-ups and individual talent. The team works on digital distribution agreements, mobile media arrangements, merchandising and sponsorship deals.


Joyce A. Tan & Partners has a strong focus on media. The firm is gaining recognition for its specialisations across media sub-sectors, from online and print to entertainment and advertising. Lawyers assist with film production, sports and cases of defamation. Areas of focus include regulatory and transactional work.   


TIER 4

Colin Ng & Partners has its primary emphasis on copyright matters connected with media and entertainment. Department head Stephen Soh advises on contentious and non-contentious cases in segments that include film and music. The practice is known for its advice on commercial exploitation of intellectual property rights, sponsorship and brand management, film-making and broadcasting. The team also drafts licensing, distribution and financing agreements.


Sports and media specialist Harry Elias Partnership is one of the few firms that focus on all aspects of sports. Lawyers have extensive experience establishing and reorganising sports associations. The team also advises on international regulations and requirements for various sports. Key practitioners include Andy Lem and Koh Tien Hua who also act for publishing clients in cases of defamation.


Lee & Lee media lawyers are skilled at developing new licensing and transactional frameworks and strategies. With in-depth experience, the team regularly drafts and reviews media, software and related technology agreements. The full-service firm is appointed by entertainment sector clients in cases involving intellectual property and regulatory matters.  


TIER 1

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow

Drew & Napier

Samuel Seow Law Corporation


TIER 2

Bird & Bird ATMD

CMS

Pinsent Masons MPillay

Rajah & Tann

WongPartnership


TIER 3

Allen & Gledhill

Dentons Rodyk  

Joyce A. Tan & Partners

OrionW

Shook Lin & Bok  

Taylor Vinters


TIER 4

Colin Ng & Partners

Gateway Law Corporation

Harry Elias Partnership

Lee & Lee

Withers KhattarWong



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