Digitalisation, rationalisation and globalisation are increasingly determining the parameters of our working world. Job profiles are being redefined or even dissolve, artificial intelligence and networked processes define the challenges of the new decade. The coordinates for temporal, local and hierarchical structures are shifting rapidly and require prudent, flexible and innovative responses. Last but not least, the subject matter itself is subject to rapid change due to constant amendments to the law and case law from the Federal Labour Court and the European Court of Justice.
We support our clients, whether start-ups, medium-sized businesses, executives, employees, freelancers or works councils, in all classic and highly topical issues with the necessary foresight, comprehensive expertise and commitment. So that challenges become opportunities.
- Employment, service and management contracts
- Commission and bonus arrangements
- Termination and settlement agreements
- Termination, amendment notice and termination protection proceedings
- Flexibilisation, restructuring, rationalisation (working time, remuneration and home office models, outsourcing)
- Liability of directors, managing directors & managers
- Non-competition clauses and compensatory leave
- Corporate compliance
- Part-time and fixed-term employment issues
- Low Performance
- Transfer and Reassignment
- Maternity and parental leave
- Partial retirement and early retirement
- Implementation of BEM measures
- Medical reintegration
- Company agreements
- Reconciliation of interests and social plan
- Decision-making procedures, conciliation boards
Data Protection Law
The legally compliant utilisation of data in times of the GDPR has become a challenge. We support companies in finding legally compliant solutions for their digital presences and applications.
Handling customer and employee data implies great risks for companies, especially because regulators, employees and customers are now much more aware of what happens to their data.
As data breaches attract a lot of attention, the reputation and value of a company can be damaged.
This poses particular challenges for companies operating internationally, as they have to comply with a whole range of national data protection laws independently of each other.
Our data protection law advisory practice includes in particular:
- Acting as a data protection officer for a company
- Data protection-compliant design of digital business models
- Preparation of all templates required by the GDPR and its accountability obligations (processing records, deletion concepts, etc.)
- Customised model contracts for contractors and clients
- Legal support for data protection audits
- Data protection impact assessments
- Individual design of solutions for the data protection-compliant implementation of data subjects’ rights pursuant to Art. 12 et seq. GDPR
- Support in administrative proceedings before the data protection authorities
- Legal support of projects in the company and group for the implementation of data protection and regulatory requirements
Film & TV
In the Film & TV sector our focus lies on the financing, production and the exploitation of feature film and series productions, at all stages of development. We focus on advising production companies, film distributors and film licence traders as well as exploiters such as broadcasters and leading providers of video-on-demand (VoD) platforms (especially subscription VoD) on the acquisition of film and series licences. The drafting and negotiation of option and filming contracts, co-production and service production contracts, contracts with filmmakers (e.g. screenplay, director, actors), film music contracts, errors & omissions and completion bond contracts, licensing, distribution and sales contracts are part of our daily business.
Our advisory services also include supporting VoD and telecommunication providers in their cooperation with other providers in this field and/or manufacturers of end devices (e.g. set-top boxes, smart TV devices, smart phones) with regard to the marketing and (technical) distribution of streaming and TV offers. In this respect, we regularly accompany cooperations between the major players in the industry and are therefore very familiar with the film industry, which has changed permanently in recent years due to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. The online exploitation of audiovisual content in a wide variety of business models and technical distribution channels is the present and future of the industry. Together with our clients, we actively shape the specific marketing, business, distribution and financing models in the ever-changing film industry.
The computer games sector is one of the largest growth markets in the media industry, with production budgets often exceeding those of the film industry. The industry is characterised by rapid technical development, new business models, marketing and distribution opportunities for publishers, platform operators and telecommunications providers. For a long time now, customers have not only been playing on consoles, but on all devices including smartphones, smart TVs, tablets and in the web browser. Cloud-based online gaming platforms offer them access to a variety of games for monthly fees as part of subscription offers. Our law firm advises on all legal issues relevant to the modern games industry and supports publishers and exploiters in drafting contracts for the development, licensing and marketing of computer games.
Commercial & Corporate Law
Establishing of a business, operational running and termination involve numerous complex issues.
Examples of our services in corporate and commercial law:
- Drafting articles of association/statutes and related advisory services on legal and tax aspects
- Conceptual design of holding structures
- Drafting and implementation of company transfers and transformations, including cross-border transactions
- Advice on and drafting of fiduciary relationships, purchase and transfer options
- Analysis of existing structures and optimisation of director and/or shareholder risk
- Advice on capital increases and capital decreases, as well as their implementation
- Advice on tax aspects of company law structures
- Handling of ongoing bookkeeping, payroll accounting and preparation of annual financial statements that are not subject to audit
- Structuring of company succession both in advance and in the event of inheritance.
- Dissolution, liquidation and winding up of companies
Art & Design Law
Design Law regulates the protection of the design you have created. As industrial property rights, designs are fully-fledged autonomous assets and confer exclusive rights to the owner of the design. Registering a design therefore not only protects your own marketing strategy in relation to the competition. Another advantage is that the owner of a design can license it to third parties or even competitors. We assist you in protecting your products and goods on the market, from the design application to the defence of your rights arising from designs, as well as in drafting and reviewing design licence agreements, nationally as well as internationally and always with the important consideration of copyright law and competition law. We also assist you in proceedings before the authorities and courts for the protection of your design rights.
Art Law is a cross-sectional area of law from various fields of law and serves the protection of works of fine arts and applied arts. It includes topics such as the (international) law of sale in the art trade, property law and, of course, copyright. In art law, concrete knowledge of the art market is of great importance. We can advise you on all legal issues relating to art, starting with copyright protection for works of art, its scope and duration, to questions concerning purchase and loan agreements, transport, loss and damage, claims in the case of forgeries, the establishment of foundations and the legal organisation of collections.
Social Law for Artists
“The artist always feels offended when things turn out differently than he thinks.”
Freely translated after Wilhelm Busch
We advise and represent traditional users of creative services as well as artists and publicists in the field of artists’ social insurance law.
Our expertise covers all questions concerning the obligation to contribute to the artists’ social insurance, membership in the artists’ social insurance fund (KSK) and the notification of remuneration the artists’ social insurance fund.
A high risk potential still lies in the disregard of the obligation to pay the artists’ social security contribution (KSA). This not only affects media companies such as publishing houses, advertising and PR agencies as well as radio and TV as exploiters, but also companies that commission independent service providers with artistic services – mostly for self-promotion and not only occasionally. Since in case of default, not only drastic additional payments, but also surcharges for late payment and severe fines can be expected, preventive action is urgently required. In addition, it is often overlooked to factor in the KSA from the outset.
Last but not least, we accompany our clients during tax audits, conduct status determination proceedings and take over objection and complaint proceedings against contribution notices.
Trademark Law / Title Protection Law
We advise you strategically on the establishment and expansion of an effective trademark portfolio and its management. In doing so, we undertake the trade mark searches, conduct the official application, opposition and cancellation procedures (nationally and internationally) and represent your interests both before the courts and before international bodies such as the EUIPO and WIPO. Furthermore, we assist you in enforcing your existing trademark rights, e.g. at trade fairs, in border seizure proceedings and vis-à-vis trade mark offices. Furthermore, we advise you comprehensively on the exploitation and licensing of your trademark rights.
We advise you on securing and protecting your titles, e. g. your book, film, series or magazine title and also support you in enforcing your title rights both in and out of court. In doing so, we help you at an early stage within the framework of a sensible title protection strategy. This includes not only advice in connection with a title protection notice in a recognised title protection medium, but also securing the appropriate period of time until the publication of the product. Furthermore, we also advise you with regard to your title protection abroad, always taking into account the extended title protection through the supplementary use of a trademark.
In media law, as a cross-section of public law, private law and criminal law, our focus lies on media constitutional and administrative law, European and regulatory issues. The interpretation and understanding of international treaties (e.g. Berne Convention), relevant EU directives (e.g. AVMD Directive, Rental and Distribution Directive, SatCab Directive, Online SatCab Directive), federal laws (e.g. Telemedia Act, Youth Protection Act), state laws (e.g. state media laws), various state treaties (e.g. Media State Treaty, Youth Protection Act), and the media law of the Federal Republic of Germany. The knowledge of and contact with the regulatory and supervisory authorities (e.g. state media authorities) are an important part of our service. Our particular expertise lies in advising on the practical application of these diverse legal bases and navigating through the complicated national and international regulations for your business objectives and challenges – for example, licensing or freedom from licensing for broadcasting, operating as a media intermediary, a platform or a video sharing service.
Media Labour Law
Media Labour Law – the interface between Media Law and Labour Law – deals with the special Labour Law issues in the media industry.
In this context, the demarcation criteria under labour and social security law between employees and freelancers play a decisive role. The incorrect qualification of employees as freelancers entails considerable economic risks for all parties involved.
A profound knowledge of the relevant collective agreements and their special features for film and television professionals (actors, staff members and small actors) is just as indispensable for comprehensive professional advice as a customised regulation of granting the rights of protectable work results. Also, the possibilities of time limits for project-related engagements and labour protection regulations are comparable to a minefield that needs to be defused with pronounced sensitivity.
Last but not least the Labour Law regulations in the protection of tendencies for employees of so-called mass media require special attention.
We focus on employment law mandates in the sectors of film and television production, IT, advertising & PR agencies, press and publishing.
The spectrum of our services covers the entire range of Music Law issues. Our clients include major labels, music publishers, music streaming platforms and other companies in the music industry from Germany and abroad, as well as numerous well-known artists and composers. In this respect, our advisory services include in particular the drafting of and advice on the conclusion of artist, producer and band acquisition agreements, distribution agreements, music publishing agreements, management agreements, sponsoring agreements, testimonial agreements and merchandising agreements. We also assist our clients in the establishment and operation of their own music label and/or music publishing company as well as in the acquisition or sale of music rights and catalogues, including the performance of due diligence in this respect. Outside the traditional music industry, our clients from Germany and abroad also rely on our long-standing music law and commercial expertise in the field of music exploitation. For example, we regularly represent film and TV producers, broadcasters, video-on-demand platforms, advertising agencies and other companies in music law matters, in particular in the conclusion of licensing agreements for the use of music in film and advertising as well as in questions concerning GEMA and other music collecting societies. We have demonstrated our expertise in the field of music collecting society law, inter alia, in numerous expert opinions and in (overall contractual) proceedings on the appropriateness of GEMA tariffs before the Arbitration Board of the German Patent Office and in negotiations with music collecting societies. Our many years of experience and the constant view from both sides, from the perspective of the music creators as well as from that of the users, stand as a guarantee for legally sound and economically sensible solutions.
Press Law / Personal rightS law
In the communication age, the publication of editorial and other public statements is not limited to classic press and media coverage; they are also disseminated via social media platforms, rating portals and other digital channels. The question of the admissibility of such statements under civil and criminal law has enormous strategic and economic significance for companies and private individuals. Unlawful statements can cause immense economic damage and existentially threaten or even destroy companies as well as individuals. As specialists in this field, we examine the admissibility of statements in works (e.g. films, books, etc.), media reports or in corporate communication and advertising for our clients in advance of the respective publications. In this respect, we defend admissible statements against unjustified claims for injunctive relief, counterstatement, revocation and/or damages asserted in and out of court. We support affected companies that want to defend themselves against unlawful statements by third parties in asserting their claims out of court and in court. Our many years of experience in this area of law, which often requires quick tactical decisions, helps our clients to find the right communication, negotiation and litigation strategy in disputes relating to press law and the law of expression.
Our partner Alexander Stolberg-Stolberg represents clients in all areas of criminal defence in all factual instances. In addition to accused individuals, in particular managing directors, board members and supervisory board members, he advises and represents companies already during the preliminary investigation and its run-up. He also advises companies in the area of corporate compliance and supports internal investigations.
Copyright Law / Copyright Collectives
As one of the leading copyright law firms in Germany, we advise on all areas in which copyright law, including the law of collecting societies, plays a role. In the modern media world, in which telecommunications companies offer TV series to their customers, football clubs produce audiovisual programmes, branded companies operate YouTube channels and car manufacturers organise music concerts, copyright law has also developed into an area of law that is relevant across all industries. Thus, it is also of enormous and constantly growing economic importance outside the classic entertainment industry. For this reason, not only renowned creatives and well-known companies in the classic media industry (e.g. film producers, TV and radio broadcasters, record producers, publishers, streaming services) trust our outstanding expertise in this area, as attested by lawyer rankings, but also companies in other industries for which copyright law did not play a special role in the past. In this respect, we have been advising numerous large corporations on copyright issues on ongoing basis and across all sectors for many years. Our work includes in particular the judicial and extrajudicial enforcement of and defence against claims for injunctive relief and damages under copyright law as well as the drafting of licence agreements for clients from Germany and abroad. We advise on all stages of development, production and exploitation of copyright protected works.
Another speciality of our law firm is advising on issues related to collecting societies, which play an important role in particular in the drafting of licence agreements and in assessing the economic risks of projects where rights to certain content have to be acquired at the rates published by the collecting societies. On behalf of our clients, we also conduct (arbitration) court proceedings to examine the appropriateness of collecting societies’ tariffs.
Our expertise in copyright law is also in demand at the interface with tax law. Here we prepare expert opinions on licensing law, e.g. for trade tax assessment (e.g. trade tax addition according to § 8 No. 1 GewStG) as well as for VAT or withholding tax classification of contractual relationships and the services exchanged within the framework of such relationships (e.g. on the question of the capacity of a recipient of licence payments as a “beneficial owner” within the framework of double taxation agreements or as a beneficial owner according to § 50g III S. 2 EStG).
Publisher & Press
Our expertise also includes the development, drafting and negotiation of contracts with authors, illustrators, photographers, translators and publishers. Representing publishers in disputes with competitors and authors is also part of our field of activity. In the context of court proceedings, interim legal protection, both the obtaining and the defence of interim injunctions, plays a particularly important role. Our detailed knowledge of the various courts and their particularities helps us to represent our clients’ interests in the best possible way.
Due to our many years of intensive court experience, we also have a keen sense of which litigation tactics are the right ones for each case.
Thanks to our expertise in the field of traditional IT as well as in digitisation and e-commerce issues, we can also provide competent advice to publishers and their distribution partners with regard to the development and distribution of digital publishing products. Our know-how in film and TV, on the other hand, helps publishers and authors when it comes to the audiovisual exploitation of material.
Advertising & Social Media
We safeguard advertising and marketing strategies from the planning and conception phase to the final implementation under all relevant legal aspects. Our comprehensive expertise in this area ranges from advice and contract drafting in classic advertising fields such as print and TV to advertising on the internet and social media, sponsoring and special forms of advertising such as sponsored content, native advertising and ambush marketing. The complexity of the legal requirements, which are also subject to constant change due to new laws and current jurisdiction, requires special foresight. In addition to questions of competition and trademark law, aspects of copyright, protection of minors, personal rights and data protection law as well as – last but not least – advertising-specific peculiarities, e.g. from press and statement law, media law (separation of advertising and programming) or nutrition law, must be taken into account. For many years, we have been advising not only numerous well-known brand-name companies but also leading advertising agencies, for whom we regularly examine the legal feasibility of product launches and advertising campaigns on behalf of their clients.
Our services include, inter alia:
- Drafting of contracts for advertising and brand cooperations
- Legal review of the admissibility of campaign concepts, advertising measures, packaging claims
- Design of online company presences including social media presences
- Implementation of competitions and promotions
- Design of advertisements and advertising campaigns including the required mandatory information
- Drafting of contracts and advice on legal issues relating to influencer marketing
- Drafting of sponsoring agreements, testimonial agreements, product placement agreements
- Drafting of licence and contributor agreements for the acquisition of the rights required for advertising measures, e.g. music rights, photo rights, rights of reproduction under personality law, etc.
We advise you on the planning and implementation of your advertising and marketing strategies as well as on the examination of legally compliant conduct of your competitors so that they do not take advantage of inadmissible advertising measures. We defend your marketing measures in and out of court against legal complaints by competitors or associations. This includes, in particular, the examination of warning letters and the filing of protective letters, but also the examination of the advertising of an attacking competitor for possibilities of counter-attacks. Furthermore, we also take action against imitations by third parties in connection with your products. Where Copyright Law, Trademark Law and Design Law reach their limits, we clarify whether supplementary protection under competition law can provide you with support to secure your rights. For many years, leading international advertising agencies, among others, have relied on our expertise in competition law. On behalf of their clients, we regularly examine product launches and advertising campaigns for their legal and, in particular, competition law admissibility.