Copyright © Media Law International 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
China’s short video and live streaming market is among the media industry’s rapidly growing segments, with music and sports among the most popular video categories, according to Statista.
In a market with no Netflix, China has a diversified ecosystem for online video content. The domestic market is divided between the country’s three largest platforms - iQiyi, Youku and Tencent Video.
In industry developments over the past year, China's Weibo Corp increased its share in Inmyshow Digital, a media marketing firm, with a USD315 million acquisition. Weibo Corp announced the deal in March 2023 and will become the largest shareholder on completion of the deal, with a cumulative share of 26.57 per cent.
In other developments, China’s video game regulator granted licenses to 84 domestic games in December 2022, following an eight-month license freeze that was lifted in April. Restrictions were imposed as part of measures to prevent gaming addiction among minors.
The issue of fake news continues to be a global challenge, as well as a domestic one, with Chinese government advisers calling for new laws to prevent “fabricating and disseminating fake information online”.
The Cyberspace Administration of China has introduced a first-of-its-kind regulation on “deepfakes”, that is, synthetically generated or altered images or videos. The result of deepfakes is fabricated media that appears real but is not.
The regulation became effective on 11 January 2023 and is intended to prevent the misuse of this technology as industries adapt to the rapid development of artificial intelligence.
Sports and digital media are Bird & Bird’s core focus areas. The firm represents high profile clients in the sports industry, including Jazeera’s beIN Sport. The team advises mobile game publishers and corporate clients on sports-related sponsorships. Data protection is also a key area of focus for the firm, which works with clients from the Asia-Pacific region on related-matters.
Lawyers at Fangda Partners advise on commercial and regulatory aspects of the telecommunications, media and internet markets. The team works with content providers and broadcasters on licensing and outsourcing contracts, e-commerce, advertising, intellectual property and advices on regulatory changes.
Media and Entertainment expert Hylands Law Firm is recognised by peers and clients for its film and television specialisation. The team advises on adaptation and creation of script, investment and financing, Sino-foreign co-productions and the import and export of film and television content. Lawyers also represent music and recoding companies, print publishers and sports industry clients.
O’Melveny & Myers is a recognised leader for media law. Its sector coverage includes entertainment, sports, internet and emerging technologies. The team acts for high profile television, music and new media companies, strategic investors and individual talent.
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is known for its sector-related corporate and transactional work. Lawyers advise strategic and financial investors on all aspects of the TMT sectors in Asia, including strategic acquisitions and joint ventures. The firm’s clients include, DreamWorks Animation, Tencent and Universal Studios.
Baker McKenzie has been doing business in China for 40 years. With its primary emphasis on intellectual property, the firm is a popular choice for copyright cases across segment including entertainment, sports and technology. The team also focusses on cross-border litigation and enforcement in both regions.
Clifford Chance’s cross-border advice dominates its TMT work. The practice is well regarded by peers for its advice on anti-trust and competition law. Practitioners specialise in sector-related public-to-private transactions, mergers and overseas acquisitions.
Simmons & Simmons has a dedicated TMT practice specialising in corporate and commercial matters. The firm has a diverse portfolio that includes leading online, e-commerce and entertainment companies. The team has extensive experience representing multinational companies, including software companies and venture capital investors in China and the US.
Wanhuida Intellectual Property is among the region’s leaders for copyright, enforcement and litigation. Present since 1992, the firm has a high profile client base that includes multinational companies. Lawyers at the firm are highly reputed for their litigation skils.
Covington & Burling is appointed by Hollywood studios and leading independent production studios. The team advises television companies, sports organisations, funds and investors, individual actors and directors. The practice is also known for advice on complex regulatory matters.
Deacons primarily focusses on intellectual property advice to media and entertainment clients. The firm is appointed by multinational companies that include Hollywood studios, production houses and distributors, music publishers and advertisers. Llawyers assisted Hong Kong’s largest television network, advised Twentieth Century Fox on high-profile film projects in China and advised on the establishment of a distribution company.
Grandall Legal Group concentrates on intellectual property advice with key areas of work including unfair competition, licensing, investment and financing of rights. Lawyers also assist with overseas mergers and acquisitions and act for companies establishing a presence abroad. Other service areas include telecommunications, IT and e-commerce.
King & Wood Mallesons has a global focus on entertainment, data protection and privacy. The media group advises on complex regulatory requirements, transactions and disputes. Other areas of focus include digital advertising, technology and sector-related tax.
Liu, Shen & Associates specialises in intellectual property. Founded in 1993, the practice has an established copyright division with long-standing emphasis on protection and enforcement. The firm’s media group also handles litigation and dispute resolution.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges acts for media and entertainment clients on corporate and transactional cases ranging from spin-offs and IPOs to financings and restructurings. The team has extensive experience advising overseas clients on complex contractual and licensing disputes.
Bird & Bird
Hylands Law Firm
O'Melveny & Myers
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
Morrison & Foerster
Simmons & Simmons
Wanhuida Intellectual Property
Covington & Burling
Haiwen & Partners
Herbert Smith Freehills
Vivien Chan & Co.
Zhong Lun Law Firm
Grandall Law Firm
King & Wood Mallesons
Liu, Shen & Associates
Weil, Gotshal & Manges
RANKING AND EDITORIALS
REGIONS WE COVER
Middle East and North Africa
Central and Eastern Europe