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Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
Al Tamimi & Company has a prominent position nationally and regionally, with emphasis on multiple media segments. The firm’s TMT group acts for film studios, advertisers and television companies. The team advised on a US motion picture production filmed nationally, negotiated production services agreements and local contracts for the production team. Lawyers also advised on campaign developments and television content production.
Charles Russell Speechlys is well renowned for its expert media lawyers based in the Middle East and internationally. The lawyers in the Middle East are particularly well known for their specialised expertise and industry focused experience in the media, entertainment and events industries. The team, led by Mark Hill (Partner), has over 20 years of experience in the region and has a broad understanding of these industries both locally and internationally. The firm provides specialised legal advice to a varying range of clients including media companies, broadcasters, publishers, newspapers, producers, rights holders, platforms, writers, actors and performers as well as celebrities.
Clyde & Co provides commercial media and broader TMT advice to a broad client base, global and national. With a high profile client list, the firm’s experience includes complex transactions. Head of division Joycia Young leads on media cases that include defamation, online media and regulatory matters.
DLA Piper is highly regarded nationally and is frequently highlighted by peers for its media commitment. Primarily focussed on entertainment and sports, lawyers act on a range of cases from corporate to advisory. Led by regional managing partner Abdul Aziz A. AL-Yaqout, the media group assists with production and rights acquisitions and the exploitation of media rights and regulatory matters.
Bird & Bird is widely respected by peers and noted for its TMT commitment. The firm’s practitioners have extensive media sector experience that includes regulatory and commercial advice. Well regarded by peers, the firm is notably recognised for its work on motion picture production, distribution, online media regulation and video games.
BSA is a regional full-service law firm headquartered in the DIFC. BSA’s TMT practice is well recognised and its media experience is varied providing commercial, regulatory and contentious advice. The firm’s clients include international and regional media conglomerates as well as social media platforms and regional start-up media entities. Thanks to its regional presence, the firm also advise on sizeable matters in KSA and Oman. Nadim Bardawil manages the team that advises on TMT matters across the firm.
Independent firm Hadef & Partners is gaining recognition among peers. The firm’s TMT division works on acquisitions, disposals, commercial transactions, e-commerce and data privacy. Michael Lunjevich is the firm’s key contact for sector-related work, including advice on licensing and media contracts.
Established in 2016, The Bench specialises in the TMT sector. The firm is managed by former Dentons partner Joby Beretta, who is widely known for his expertise in the media, entertainment and sports industries. Lawyers advise on media commercial contracts, events and regulations. Clients range from local and international broadcasters to sports and entertainment companies.
Allen & Overy has a firm position nationally with its focus notably on intellectual property. Present since 1978, the firm’s full-service scope provides broad sector coverage that includes technology and telecoms. Key practitioners include Ibrahim Mubaydeen and Simon Roderick who advise on multinational cases - transactional and advisory.
Dentons focusses on multiple areas of work, from mergers and commercial contracts to media events and regulation. The team advises on film production and franchising agreements. In representative work includes advise to television station OSN on its bid for media rights to international cricket matches, for the Middle East and North Africa region, organised by the International Cricket Council for the period 2015-2023.
Digital technology spurs activity at Pinsent Masons, which represents technology suppliers, central government departments and international telecoms providers. The firm is well regarded by peers for its work on dispute resolution, which is managed under a separate TMT litigation practice. Sachin Kerur manages the practice and handles cases connected with communication licensing, data protection
Simmons & Simmons has a strong reputation backed by its international industry focus. The firm’s traditional emphasis on technology supports the growth of its media sector coverage. Lawyers advise on commercial and regulatory matters involving television broadcasting and film production.
Charles Russell Speechlys
Clyde & Co
Bird & Bird
BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates
Hadef & Partners
Allen & Overy
Cedar White Bradley
Simmons & Simmons
On the surface, clearly, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a massively detrimental impact on the media and entertainment industries the world over. No less so in the Middle East.
However, one thing that has impressed is how businesses within the region have sought to
refocus their energies and approach. The pandemic has accelerated many trends that were already underway.
We have seen cinemas closing or allowing only limited attendance and so we have seen changes
to the way that content is distributed.
Operators have been driven towards using alternative platforms including direct-to-consumer streaming services in an effort to ensure continuing availability. For example, we have seen the renewal of Front Row Entertainment’s deal with beIN Media Group with the addition of SVOD output to the deal.
As the CEO of Front Row Entertainment said in
the press recently, this is all about their “search
for untapped audiences across the region through innovative acquisitions”. In other words, we are seeing operators adapting and remodeling to the current market situation. This remodeling will continue in other sectors also.
Telecoms providers have the opportunity to shape a new future for businesses and consumers including through the development of new and more advanced wireless technologies and next-generation networking, all from a redefined focus on customers’ needs in the new modality of customer engagement after a socially distanced 2020.
We will also, I believe, see the convergence and adaptation of entertainment experiences. We are advising on everything from local events, private business to consumer events, and larger global events such as the upcoming Qatar World Cup in 2022 and a big part of our strategic input is to assist in putting in place flexible new strategies that can enable a new kind of business and entertainment experience based on dynamism
We have already seen the day-to-day recommencement of activities within the region, however difficult it has been and continues to be.
I see production houses finding ways to reengage with all of the difficulties of social distancing, PCR testing, travel limitations and so on.
This ingenuity and flexibility will drive recommencement across the media and entertainment industries and, more importantly, continuation of some of the positive patterns that had already begun before we were all faced with the practical implications of a pandemic.
By Mark Hill, Partner, Head of TMT, IP & Commercial For Middle East,
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, UAE
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