Our Media and Entertainment Unit (MEU) combines expertise from specialised areas to present the client with the highest quality legal advice required in this field. Our clients include both individuals and companies involved in the media and entertainment industry. Our lawyers ensure that our clients’ needs are comprehensively met affording them protection beyond their immediate requirements.
Our specialist advice mingled with a thorough grasp of the commercial and legal issues surrounding the media and entertainment industry, provide clients with practical advice relating to creative arts such as music, dance, films, theatre, mobile phones, digital technology and television. Our services span from financing arrangements and structuring to dealing with complex legal contractual associated with the protection of works, recording and publishing agreements. Obviously the lawyers in this department work hand in hand with our tax and corporate services unit as well as our IP Unit in giving clients a comprehensive and thorough service.
Whilst appreciating the complexity of this market, our Media & Entertainment lawyers are also sensitive to the need for fast yet, high quality legal advice across this industry such as including, film, television, music and sports. Our typical clients would include film companies, record labels, directors, artists, producers, sports people and agents in areas such as:
- Censorship Issues
- Contract Drafting
- Copyright Protection and Infringement
- Dispute resolution
- Employment Issues
- Film finance
- Intellectual Property Protection
- International Co-Productions
- Permits and/or licences
- Personal Tax Planning
- Tax and Corporate Planning
- Sports Law
- Financial & Fiscal Incentives
- Other related issues
Our firm has assisted clients in both the local television as well as local radio broadcasting industry, having served as trusted advisor to a number of innovative projects in this fledgling sector of the Maltese economy. We provide a number of services to businesses which intend to establish their operations in Malta, including:
- Drafting of all regulatory documentation for the purposes of obtaining relevant permissions
- Negotiations with and representations before the broadcasting and communications authorities
- Assistance with the obtainment of frequency allocations
- Assistance with the sourcing of local infrastructure
- Negotiations with local service providers
Post-licensing, our firm provides a comprehensive advisory service, facilitating compliance with license conditions and providing insight and guidance on legal matters as they arise. Through our network of collaborators, we also provide a range of support services, such as marketing and brand management, recruitment and IT consultancy.
Our MEU assists clients in all aspects of drafting, revision, negotiation and finalisation all arrangements related to this area, including agreements related to:
- Film and Television Production
- Joint Ventures
- Image Rights Protection
- Merchandising and Endorsement
- Music Content
- Online Services Production
- Rights Buy-Outs
- Software and Digital Production
- Web & Wap
Together with our Employment Law Practise Group, our MEU lawyers advise on local employment laws and regulations with special emphasise related to filming, copyright, production and other related matters.
Our firm offers expert commercial and legal advice to start up and established clients in both the local and international film and television industry. The firm has represented clients ranging from small film production entities to global television and film distribution companies, on issues spanning from straight-forward copyright matters, permits and authorisations to funding, complex tax advice and corporate structuring, and film development deals. Our experience ranges from advising clients at the very start of the film production process through to representing clients in negotiations, applications and authorisations locally and internationally.
By assisting clients in the whole process of film production, we can offer expert advice on the following:
- acquisition of the rights in the underlying material
- exploitation of all the rights in the film
- security matters concerning local lending facilities
- copyright issues
- the attainment of the necessary permits and/or licences
- location arrangements
- general advice on regulatory issues, licenses and authorisations.
For more information on our filming and production services please visit our specialised page on Filming in Malta.
Drawing on the expertise of our lawyers in the Banking and Financial Services Unit, our team advices clients on all aspects of film finance, from equity to debt or bank finance.
Our IP Unit assists clients in the Media and Entertainment field in all aspects of intellectual property protection, including copyright protection, services in this field include the registration of trademarks, patents and designs within the jurisdiction of Malta; protection of trademarks within the EU; trademark, design and patent searches in local databases and registers; negotiating and drafting confidentiality, development, distribution, technology transfer, licensing and joint venture agreements for both domestic and foreign entities; advising on copyright protection as well as preparing and prosecuting domestic and foreign patent applications in all technologies.
For more information on our IP services please visit our specialised page on Intellectual Property.
Since filmmaking is such an expensive exercise, many films made outside the country of inception usually take the form of international co-productions. This is facilitated though agreements between countries which would usually qualify as a national production in each of the partner nations and would have access to benefits that are available to the local film and television industry in each country. Benefits may include government financial assistance, tax concessions and holidays and inclusion in domestic television broadcast quotas.
In co-productions, even though the film might originate from one country and would have actors from that country, most of it would be shot in a studio in a third party country. International co-productions open new markets for films and television programs and can increase the output of high quality productions through the sharing of equity investment. If no governmental framework for co-productions is available such as with countries that do not have an agreement in place, or projects that do not satisfy official co-production criteria, co-productions can still be possible. in fact, a co-production can be attained in one of the following manners:
- a bilateral / tripartite co-production contract between several production companies or
- within the terms of an official co-production treaty.
Co-productions are becoming more frequent since they lessen the problem of raising finance to cover the current growth in the average costs of film production.
Currently Malta has a co-production treaty with Canada and has ratified the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production. The Convention has opened new opportunities for Malta in that Malta now has in effect bilateral co-production treaties with twenty-eight other European countries (Austria, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It has also been signed by Armenia, Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey and the Holy See).
Our MEU assists clients in the drafting, revision, negotiating and finalisation of any co-production agreements they might require. For a film to qualify, one needs to understand all aspects of the treaty and convention listed above. Our lawyers guide potential and existing clients in all aspects involved in the structuring of the most appropriate co-production arrangements.
TAX & CORPORATE STRUCTURES
Our firm boasts a fully fledged Tax and Corporate Department whose professionals assist clients on all corporate and commercial issues, including structuring and planning. company set-up, tax optimisation and fiscal benefits and incentives. copyright and other intellectual property rights issues, banking and financial transactions and any tax and property matters that may arise.