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Practice Area Definition

Media Law Definition

The term “media law” refers to the practice of advising and representing clients in the media sector, which includes both the traditional “mass” media, such as newspapers, magazines, films, book publishing, television, radio and cable broadcasting, as well as the new media or “digital media” sector, which includes online news and information services, streaming audio and video services, Internet portals, online gaming services, information aggregators, and providers of downloadable content in the form of movies, television shows, podcasts, e-books, and e-magazines. Traditionally, the work of a media lawyer involved representation of mainstream publishers and broadcasters before the courts on matters such as freedom of the press, confidentiality of sources, access to court records, and defamation, as well as before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on broadcast licensing and regulatory matters, the Copyright Board of Canada, and various advertising and content clearance authorities including provincial film agencies. It also included an entire range of entertainment-related advice on the production and distribution of film, television, news and sports content, including talent contracts, location agreements, co-production agreements, distribution agreements, visual effects agreements, production grants, tax credits, and Canadian content certification. Media lawyers also traditionally advise clients on mergers, acquisitions, and financings in the media sector, including on Canada’s broadcast and foreign direct investment rules which are unique in this sector of the economy. Although media lawyers continue to provide all of these services to their clients today, in a world where information and entertainment content is rapidly shifting to the Internet, media lawyers also provide advice and representation to clients in the digital media sector on a variety of issues that are unique to the online world, including e-commerce rules, data privacy and security laws, anti-spam rules, cross-border data transfers, domain name issues, content ratings, cybercrimes, Internet-based claims of copyright and trademark infringement, invasion of privacy and defamation, online advertising and gaming rules and the preparation of Internet-related contracts for consumers, app developers, content creators, third party suppliers, and Internet providers.

Gordon Esau, Partner
Kirsten Embree, Partner
Dentons Canada LLP

Dentons Canada LLP logo

The term “media law” refers to the practice of advising and representing clients in the media sector, which includes both the traditional “mass” media, such as newspapers, magazines, films, book publishing, television, radio and cable broadcasting, as well as the new media or “digital media” sector, which includes online news and information services, streaming audio and video services, Internet portals, online gaming services, information aggregators, and providers of downloadable content in the form of movies, television shows, podcasts, e-books, and e-magazines. Traditionally, the work of a media lawyer involved representation of mainstream publishers and broadcasters before the courts on matters such as freedom of the press, confidentiality of sources, access to court records, and defamation, as well as before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on broadcast licensing and regulatory matters, the Copyright Board of Canada, and various advertising and content clearance authorities including provincial film agencies. It also included an entire range of entertainment-related advice on the production and distribution of film, television, news and sports content, including talent contracts, location agreements, co-production agreements, distribution agreements, visual effects agreements, production grants, tax credits, and Canadian content certification. Media lawyers also traditionally advise clients on mergers, acquisitions, and financings in the media sector, including on Canada’s broadcast and foreign direct investment rules which are unique in this sector of the economy. Although media lawyers continue to provide all of these services to their clients today, in a world where information and entertainment content is rapidly shifting to the Internet, media lawyers also provide advice and representation to clients in the digital media sector on a variety of issues that are unique to the online world, including e-commerce rules, data privacy and security laws, anti-spam rules, cross-border data transfers, domain name issues, content ratings, cybercrimes, Internet-based claims of copyright and trademark infringement, invasion of privacy and defamation, online advertising and gaming rules and the preparation of Internet-related contracts for consumers, app developers, content creators, third party suppliers, and Internet providers.