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Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
Poland has had a spectacularly interesting year with the launch of multiple streaming services, industry mergers and acquisitions and controversial attempts to reform media ownership laws.
Polish public broadcaster TVP lunched its new English language Internet channel, TVP World, in November 2021. In the same month, Poland’s Kanal Sportowy launched its OTT service offering sports-related content.
In August, OTT service CDA TV made its debut nationally. The online television platform offering almost 40 channels. In January 2022, investment group Media Development Investment Fund, backed by Hungarian billionaire George Soros, finalised its purchase of the publisher of Poland’s leading newspapers.
Amsterdam-based Pluralis BV bought ta 40 per cent share in Gremi Media for PLN97 million (EUR21.4m) in the third deal involving Mr Soros in the Polish media market in the past five years.
In legislative developments, the government announced controversial plans for a media law reform intended to limit foreign ownership.
In August, more than 1,000 journalists in Poland signed an open letter to oppose the media bill in a move that marked the largest ever initiative in the country’s journalistic community. Critics feared the law would restrict media freedom and pluralism.
The government stated that the law is intended to protect the country from potentially hostile actors. In December, however, President Andrzej Duda vetoed the media bill. Mr Duda commented, in a televised statement, that the bill raised significant concerns over property rights and the protection of investments as well as media pluralism.
Krzysztof Czyzewski’s leadership drives media activity at Czyżewscy Kancelaria Adwokacka. The boutique firm’s sector coverage is admirable. The practice specialises in book publishing, press, entertainment, film and advertising. Lawyers have extensive experience advising on film productions, television formats, protection of journalistic confidentiality and personal data protection.
With distinct emphasis on advertising, media and promotional law, Traple Konarski Podrecki & Partners brings together leading industry experts. Speaking about the firm, one client said it “earns a place among Poland's most highly regarded individuals”. Lawyers frequently advise the Polish government on legal issues involving legislative reform. The practice advises multiple Polish and foreign entities operating in the industry.
WKB Wierciński, Kwieciński, Baehr is firm headquartered in Warsaw, with a branch office in Poznan. Its staff consists of over 100 experienced lawyers who specialise in all areas of business law. The firm has expertise in mergers and acquisitions (including privatisation projects), court and out-of-court restructurings of commercial entities, project financing, energy law, competition law, public procurement, and infrastructure projects, including those based on public-private partnership. The firm also specialises in real estate, environmental and investment projects, and advises its clients on a broad variety of company law issues (including corporate governance), intellectual property, media and new technology regulatory frameworks, telecommunications, competition, labour, tax and insurance law. WKB lawyers advise Polish and foreign businesses on large privatisation, acquisition and restructuring transactions. Its services are always tailored to meet the needs of each client.
Baker McKenzie Krzyzowski i Wspólnicy has a strong position nationally and is regularly praised by competitors. The Warsaw practice ocusses on copyright and technology. The firm’s multidisciplinary approach brings together a range of sector-related service areas that include commercial law, litigation and unfair competition.
Dentons’ media team advises key media players in the Polish market, including commercial broadcasters, OTT providers (present and entering the Polish market), cable and satellite operators, as well as film producers, music and game publishers. The team has substantial experience in film production and television broadcasting advice. Speaking of the firm, one client commented: "I find the performance of Dentons' office very professional. Memorandums were prepared thoroughly, even if on short notice. The evaluation of time spent on particular works was also satisfactory."
Domanski Zakrzewski Palinka assist’s clients in dealing with local intricacies impacting multi-national marketing projects involving both ATL and BTL advertising (co-marketing agreements, marketing materials’ clearance, establishing T&Cs, regulatory matters, esp. with gambling schemes, loyalty schemes and bonus sale schemes). The firm advises leading publishers on distribution systems, distribution agreements, press registration, protection of intellectual property rights, newspaper formats and disputes over personal rights. The firm’s services are also focussed on the dynamically developing video games market, particularly as regards new business models for on-line games, games of chance, free-to-play, pay per play, and digital content distribution models.
GWW is widely acknowledged to be one of Poland’s leading advisory practices. The firm acts for clients from film and broadcasting sectors and is praised by peers for its work in these fields. The team advises on the film production and trading in television and marketing rights.
Kopeć & Zaborowski is recognised as one of the leaders in media law and protection of personal rights, as well as in civil litigation and criminal press law. The increasing prestige of the law firm and the number of successful cases have led to a growing number of clients. The firm has almost 550 clients that include politicians, journalists, actors, celebrities, publishers, media owners, businessmen and managers of large and small companies. KKZ lawyers also cooperate with private and public media in the following areas: pre-release material control, audio visual material at the production and post-production stages both in respect of legal matters pertaining to the press law and copyrights issues.
BWHS Wojciechowski Springer and Partners advises top TMT companies such as P4 (PLAY) and UPC on media, competition, consumer and regulatory issues. The firm represents clients in unfair competition and misleading advertising disputes. Another pillar of its activity is supporting companies operating on the publishing market, for example Dressler Dublin. Andrzej Springer is head of practice, and a notable practitioner with an extensive background. Mr Springer is praised by the clients for having a combination of business focus and effectiveness. Other team members involved in media cases include partners Mirosław Skrycki, who leads disputes concerning infringement of personal goods in media and advises telecoms clients on unfair competition issues, Katarzyna Racka who successfully represented PLAY in a dispute against TVN and Mirosława Zytkowska-Kocik who advised UPC on proceedings against Netia.
Jakubowski & Pluta and Partners’ press law focus is matched by its advertising and copyright specialisation. The team works with publishers and radio broadcasters on freedom of expression, publishing corrections and advises on the use of artistic works.
Driven by a focus on sports and intellectual property, Wardyński & Partners is prime choice for sports companies. The practice covers commercial and corporate areas of work on behalf of television and radio broadcasters, operators of digital platforms, advertising agencies and producers of audio-visual recordings. The firm is renowned for its primary specialisation in copyright law.
The media law desk at WP Law spcialises in audio and audiovisual media which covers media law, copyright law and legal issues related to the operations of digital platforms and services. The team provides legal assistance on the production, acquisition and distribution of audiovisual and audio (musical) content. Lawyers support clients such as broadcasters of TV channels and operators of internet platforms in their operations regarding the production, acquisition and distribution of their services. The firm handles cases that require expertise in the sale of advertising space and time. The firm’s advice covers the use of technology in the media sector, such as dynamic ad insertion.
With a primarily focus on telecommunications, Chajec, Don-Siemion & Żyto’s work within the TMT sector also includes ongoing advice to one of Poland’s largest private television stations and satellite television platforms. The firm’s media team has wide ranging experience including transactional, advisory and regulatory.
The TMT/ IP practice group at CMS is recognised by peers for its industry engaggment. The firm is known for its advice on user generated content, e-commerce issues and infringement on the internet. Lawyers advise on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious cases.
The media division at DLA Piper Giziński Kycia combines commercial and regulatory aspects in cases involving internet law, cloud computing, e-commerce, broadcasting, distribution contracts and licensing agreements. The firm’s global competence and cross-border expertise makes it a relevant component of the legal market and a trusted brand say peers.
As highlighted by its clients, Linklaters has “very good knowledge of law and the regulatory environment”. Clients also note the firm’s litigation experience and highlight partners for their skill and adeptness. In representative work, the team advised Bonnier Business Polska on all IP aspects of its acquisition of media company Grupa Bankier from the Dutch Naspers Group. The firm regularly handles cross-broader cases involving broadcasting, data protection and technology contracts.
Allen & Overy is praised by peers for its IP focus. The firm’s lawyers are singled out for expertise within IP/TMT areas, notably technology law. Lawyers are praised for being ‘business oriented’ and having a good level of ‘theoretical background’ when dealing with industry cases.
With a focus on new technology and intellectual property, FKA Furtek Komosa Aleksandrowicz’s sector-related work is derived from converged areas of media. Lawyers have in-depth knowledge of electronic market regulation and regularly advise on financing and distribution agreements.
Stolarek & Grabalski is appointed by television and radio broadcasters in cases involving corporate transactions such as mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. The firm’s sector involvement is derived from its multidisciplinary approach that brings together various cases connected with media industry investment, start-up ventures and contractual work.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges impresses its clients repeatedly. One client commented: “Weil’s Warsaw
office is based on attorneys who bring unique insight to the complex transactional matters they handle.” The team’s expansive sector coverage is highlighted by another client who noted: “Weil advised us in the area of broadcasting law, trademarks and copyrights matters. Their media and IP practice was engaged in highly sophisticated due diligence projects, connected with IPO, high yield bond offering, M&A and others.” The firm’s media team also manages a range of cases including the sale of a controlling stake in one of Poland’s leading television broadcasters.
Bird & Bird
Traple Konarski Podrecki & Partners
Baker McKenzie Krzyzowski i Wspólnicy
Domanski Zakrzewski Palinka
Kopeć & Zaborowski
LSW Leśnodorski Ślusarek and Partners
APLAW Artur Piechocki
BWHS Wojciechowski Springer and Partners
Jakubowski Pluta and Partners
Kochański & Partners
SK&S - Sołtysiński Kawecki & Szlęzak
Wardyński & Partners
Chajec, Don-Siemion & Żyto
DLA Piper Giziński Kycia
Hasik, Rheims & Partners
SSW Pragmatic Solutions
Allen & Overy
Eversheds Sutherland Wierzbowski
FKA Furtek Komosa Aleksandrowicz
Stolarek & Grabalski
Weil, Gotshal & Manges
Zagajewski & Skowron
RANKING AND EDITORIALS
REGIONS WE COVER
Middle East and North Africa
Central and Eastern Europe