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Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
The film industry has shown substantial growth throughout 2015 making it one of the country’s most profitable media segments by investment value.
According to the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL), market investment reached USD 32.4 million in 2015 with 31 films produced, an increase from an annual average of USD 8.8 million and 11 productions - an average measured over the preceding four-year period.
Local audio-visual production is increasing with output dominated by television commercials, programmes and feature films. IDAL statistics show that more than three quarters of content that is broadcast locally is produced within the jurisdiction.
The government provides financial incentives such as a 100 per cent tax exemption on film industry corporate profits for a period of up to 10 years, granted by IDAL.
Further competitive advantages include grants of up to USD 10,000 for each film, awarded by the Ministry of Culture.
The theatre industry is also playing an important role in the development of the entertainment sector. Independent producers are reviving and demonopolising the industry with new talent, sponsors and investors.
Commenting on sector activity, Leila Laila from Alem & Associates said: “What we often see as lawyers are clients that have amazing creative content and are ready to produce; they have a script and cast but need funds for production, so we build necessary legal structures for the raising of funds for such production, be it through joint ventures, private placements or commissioning. Investment in the media industry is indeed a new trend in the region.”
According to a media analysis report by Bankmed, one of the top five national banks, digital advertising achieved the highest level of growth between 2009 and 2014, at 18.5 per cent. Other areas of growth include book publishing, television advertising and out-of-home advertising.
Ms Laila explained: “Internet and digital media is playing an important role in the regional industry.
“Successful television programs can be watched over the internet through IPTV and OTT platforms and the acquisition of television rights usually includes the acquisition of ancillary rights for the distribution of content through digital media.”
Abou Jaoude & Associates leads the market with a dedicated new media law practice, advising traditional and digital companies on corporate and transactional cases. The firm’s media lawyers advise on advertising, and intellectual property, production and post-production. Other sector-related work includes advising on unfair competition law and acquisitions.
Clients highlight Alem & Associates for its “outstanding delivery, out-of-the-box solutions and strong negotiation skills”. Leila Laila, head of the media and entertainment department, is routinely singled out by clients who describe her as an industry expert. “Her negotiations skills are excellent and the service provided is of international standards” said one client. In representative work the team advised Charisma Group on its acquisition of regional exclusive license and production rights from CBS Studio for the television format of Entertainment Tonight.
Badri and Salim El Meouchi’s media focus is driven by its IP and IT department, which covers multiple segments including entertainment, sports and advertising. The team advises local and international clients on copyright, e-commerce, internet, licensing and sports sponsorship. Lead practitioner Chadia El Meouchi manages the firm’s Lebanon and Qatar offices.
Recognised as a regional leader, Baroudi & Associates specialises in media and advertising. Lawyers assist with dispute resolution, unfair competition, copyright and regulation. In representative work, the team acted for a leading Gulf-based media network in a dispute with the Lebanese Ministry of Information over an exclusive broadcasting contract.
El-Khoury & Partners is highly specialised in intellectual property protection within
the media and entertainment sector, assisting governments, publishing and e-commerce
companies. The team advises on media, advertising, franchising and distribution agreements.
Other areas of work include unfair trading and competition.
Levant Law Practice’s media focus is combined with its telecommunication work. The firm represented a leading international operator in the negotiation of licenses and advised on related agreements. Lawyers also acted for a leading television network in all its corporate activities and litigation matters.
Chedid Law Offices is a Dentons-associated firm. With access to an international network, the firm’s TMT group works on a broad range of cases. The team advises on cable and satellite television, advertising, regulation and unfair competition. Lawyers also act for clients from the publishing, film and music industries.
Intellectual property forms the foundations of Obeid Law Firm’s sector specialisation. From cross-border advice to commercial law, the team works across a range of services. Team activity includes copyright protection, contract analysis, licence acquisition and technology transfer.
Ranking and editorials
Abou Jaoude & Associates
Alem & Associates
Abouhamad, Merheb, Chamoun, Chedid
El-Khoury & Partners
Levant Law Practice
Moghaizel Law Offices
Airut Law Offices
Albert Najm & Ziad Najm
Baroudi & Associates
Chedid Law Offices (Associated with Dentons)
Tyan & Zgheib
Antoine E Henoud Law Office
Berti Law Firm
El-Aref International Law Office
Nabil B. Abdel Malek Law Offices
Obeid Law Firm (OLF)
RANKING AND EDITORIALS