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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

      M E D I A   L A W   

      I N T E R N A T I O N A L   ®

      

CANADA

Justin Trudeau’s government has passed a bill to regulate social media in a move to prioritise Canadian content and streamline requirements for all media, including traditional broadcasters.


The controversial legislation, known as Bill C-10, will set the same requirements for tech companies as traditional broadcasters, effectively compelling companies such as Netflix and TikTok to finance and promote Canadian content.   


Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault explained: “There are other issues we have to address when it comes to broadcasting and creation, and we will.” He added: “Bill C-10 is a first step in that direction.”


In other developments, subscription OTT services have helped to increase Canadian viewership, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast.  


Research shows that the number of video viewers is expected to reach 28 million by 2024.


Canada has a growing digital economy. Almost all sectors in the country’s entertainment and media industry are shifting to digital, including traditional TV. Lawyers say it’s a promising industry with TV productions increasing in revenue.


The gaming sector is “moving to the next level” say lawyers, with music and gaming collaborations that allow gamers to stream music while they play. PwC’s latest report outlines findings showing that Canada’s games industry has the potential to reach CAD3 billion by 2023.


TIER 1

Cassels Brock & Blackwell is one of the most established entertainment and copyright law practices in Canada. The firm is appointed by publishers, producers, broadcasters, animators and concert promoters. Among industry work, the team assisted Canadian Football League with Grey Cup performance agreements for the Black Eyed Peas and Shania Twain. Other focus areas include gaming and sports law.


Gowling WLG is an established leader in the area of media law. The firm works across several service areas that include entertainment, defamation, gaming, advertising and social media. Each division is managed by a dedicated partner, which means in-depth industry knowledge and broad expertise. The firm’s size and scale amplified after Gowlings merged with UK firm Wragge Lawrence Grahman & Co in January 2016, creating double the capacity nationally and abroad.


The Stikeman Elliott media team specialises in entertainment and sports law and has extensive experience in the financing of films and television programs. Other focus areas include licensing of intellectual property including publicity rights and rights of personality. The firm’s media lawyers also advised on competition issues arising from the purchase of a newspaper chain and advise on the sale of sports franchises.


TIER 2

Dentons advises several Hollywood studios, US-based independent production companies and television networks on communications and entertainment law. The practice that is visible across a range of cases that include mergers and acquisition. The team also assists US-based animation and visual effects companies on establishing Canadian studios. Well positioned nationally, the firm has offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.


Goodmans has a high profile portfolio of clients from the entertainment sector. The practice specialises in film, television, digital media and book publishing. The firm represents American and Canadian studios, broadcasters, independent producers, game companies and talent agencies.


Lawyers at McCarthy Tétrault have in-depth knowledge of cyber security, privacy, data protection and copyright. The firm is widely recognised for its sector expertise, and notably for its experience advising clients from the video game and music industries.


With a cross-border focus, Torys regularly advises international clients in a range of service areas, from traditional media and corporate transactions to commercial exploitation. In representative work, the team acted for Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in its USD142.4 million acquisition of a 17.9 per cent stake in Entertainment One from Marwyn Value Investors.


TIER 3

DLA Piper has seven offices across Canada with diverse market coverage. The firm’s capacity was expanded in March 2015 after the firm merged with Vancouver-based law firm Davis. The team works with regional partners representing the sports and entertainment industries. The firm represents local and international clients on finance, corporate issues, production and rights acquisition and competition law.


McMillan’s media work ranges from financing, syndication and sponsorship through to securing international production and distribution rights. The media, communications and entertainment team, advises recording artists, gaming companies, film and television producers and multimedia companies.


Toronto-based Stohn Hay Cafazzo Dembroski Richmond specialises in entertainment, marketing and copyright. The team is highlighted by peers who say both partners “are active in media and entertainment law and have been opposite us on numerous transactions in recent years.”  The firm acts for clients in the film, music, broadcasting, publishing and sports industries.

TIER 1

Cassels Brock  

Gowling WLG  

Stikeman Elliott


TIER 2

Baker McKenzie   

Dentons

Goodmans

McCarthy Tétrault   

Torys


TIER 3

Blake, Cassels & Graydon

DLA Piper

McMillan  

Norton Rose Fulbright  

Stohn Hay Cafazzo Dembroski Richmond


TIER 4

Bennett Jones

Fasken  

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt

Smart & Biggar


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