Media & Entertainment
There’s still no business like show business. Nowadays, however, media and entertainment are much more than art and culture. It used to be a clearly defined area, but today pervades almost all industries and sectors. Whether as branded content, infotainment, gamification, or following the shift from TV to video on demand. At the same time, virtual and augmented reality already point to where the journey goes next.
SKW Schwarz has an excellent reputation in all of these areas. We were recognized as Law Firm of the Year for Media and Technology at the 2016 JUVE Awards. The trade magazine confirms our firm “to be on the digital fast lane” and “having left behind competitors in several respects” through profound industry knowledge, several renowned partners, and by focusing on close interface consulting. The last point is crucial today. As digital change blurs the boundaries between classical and digital publications, legal advice needs to operate across media and technologies.
SKW Schwarz supports upcoming producer talents and awards an annual scholarship in kind (legal advice & mentoring) for young film- and television producers. For more information see here (information in German) and the application form see here (application form in German).
And now a short commercial break? In times of sponsored content, native advertising, or ambush marketing, the classic separation of programming and advertising content is blurred more than ever. This also increases the area of legal challenges by advertisers, media, PR and creative agencies. The impact of warnings and preliminary injunctions is still underestimated, however. The economic consequences can be catastrophic if advertising needs to be suddenly stopped or products even have to be taken off the market due to incorrect packaging information.
Of course, we can also represent clients in the relevant trials. It is more efficient and meaningful to avoid them in the first place. We therefore see our main task as giving precautionary advice to our clients. We are, however, not a preventive force, but a creative pioneer that should be involved as early as possible.
We know what is permitted in advertising and what is not. And, more importantly, how it can be done after all and what to consider in buyouts or in product placement.
Film & TV
Lights, camera, action: Motion pictures continue to be one of the most important and attention-commanding media. TV series can rightly be described as the trendsetting format of our times. For decades now, SKW Schwarz has been exceptionally deeply involved in all aspects of the movie and TV industry – and it remains a renowned contact even through all media revolutions. Regardless of whether content is viewed at the movie theater, in the living room at prime time, or via video-on-demand services.
We are representing broadcasters, production houses, well-known personalities from film and TV, as well as industry-leading streaming services. We work in all phases of the business. We are accompanying legal reforms that lay the foundations for tomorrow's movie and TV industry. Film funds, private equity companies, and banks rely on our legal support for the financing of movie productions. Ongoing production support is a key part of our legal work. We are also advising when content goes around the world: by designing rental and licensing agreements for international distribution. And even after that, our legal advice may continue, for example, when issues of remuneration are disputed in bestseller trials.
On the way to the next level: The entertainment industry without the gaming sector is unthinkable today. Also thanks to tremendous enthusiasm for innovation that has long since extended beyond technological implementation. Revenue models such as in-game purchases not only survived the digital change, but mastered it superbly. It is specifically because of this high level of innovation that the gaming industry needs legal assistance that is keeping pace with this speed. As a matter of fact, legal requirements can change just as quickly, for example if augmented reality games make the whole world the playing field, thus raising liability and privacy issues that have never before been encountered by publishers in this way.
Music is in the air – because just as other media, it has become transient and cross-medial. The requested song is available from the cloud at any time. Included are information, communities, videos, and entirely intransparent algorithms that evaluate user playlists and suggest the next song. As practical as this may be, it also visualizes that legal aspects such as data protection have long since arrived in this area. We are the point of contact for online music licensing platforms on this topic, but also on issues of e-commerce.
Of course, there continues to be need for legal advice on issues such as music rights or record agreements, and since live music is at least as important to many artists as the sale of CDs and records or distributions from licensing platforms, our legal expertise with respect to festivals, tours, and other performances is also sought after. Obviously, this extends to international events, especially to the U.S. jurisdiction, which is particularly relevant in this area. Another focus is the protection of personality rights of well-known artists, for example in relation to the press. You can find out more about this expertise in personality rights and the right of expression in the following menu item.
Press & Publishing
Everyone has their own opinion. And in times of social media, blogs, and forums, comment sections, and rating portals, everyone also has a platform to make this opinion public. What regrettably cannot be said of everybody, however, is that they have the proper etiquette necessary for good discussion culture. Ever more frequently, it is therefore necessary to clarify the boundaries between freedom of expression and insult or slander. It pays off that our lawyers already acquired a keen understanding in the print era for trial tactics and the handling of the injunctive relief, for example, when it comes to preserving the personality rights of public figures. Today, it is at least as important that we developed innovative consulting approaches at an early stage to adapt this expertise to the digital era.
We are also legal advisors to publishers and their distribution partners, though. Our technological and legal expertise enable us to find innovative approaches to dealing with the increasing expansion of the exploitation chain. Particularly in this area, our clients benefit from our linking of various practice groups: authors and publishers rely on our expertise in the movie industry when books are audio-visually adapted. Our IT and e-commerce expertise pays off when it comes to designing and drafting contracts for digital media.
The realms of TV, internet, and OTT converge. Linear and non-linear media services emerge. It requires qualified legal advice to handle the details of broadcasting and platform regulations. While taking into account the amended Interstate Broadcasting Treaty. This includes licensing requirements, access and placement on platforms, and portability.learn more