Legal control of content representation in Russia
Producers and distributors of media content are responsible for any content that contradicts Russian law, whose requirements become increasingly more stringent. MGAP has a unique and extensive content compliance expertise in advising production companies and distributors on legal issues related to content use and restrictions in Russia. In particular, legal advice is provided on the following issues:
• Meeting requirements for TV, print media, cinemas, theaters, websites, online stores, VOD services, etc.
• Advertising content subject to special regulations
• Dealing with current social and political situations enhancing restrictive content requirements
• Meeting existing unwritten restrictions (e.g. regarding politics, religion, World War II, etc.)
Web-based platforms, apps and instant messengers
Following a significant increase in demand for content verification services in recent years, in particular due to compliance in Russia by Western companies, a new trend emerged: media platforms operating in Russia were in need of both legal content assessment and control over compliance in accordance with the data protection regime. They also had the necessity of being advised on legal relations with their partners, advertisers, users and especially with licensing and regulatory authorities such as Roskomnadzor.
A law that is constantly changing establishes new sets of rules for business operations run by web-based platforms, apps, and instant messengers in Russia, with a special focus on the grounds for blocking websites and apps due to a wide range of reasons – from copyright violation to failure to comply with personal data localisation rules.
MGAP successfully represents web-based platforms and instant messengers in disputes related to personal data and copyright protection, and the violation of regulatory requirements.
Media content compliance
In the context of rapidly increasing legal restrictions, production companies and distributors take on the responsibility for any content contradicting Russian laws. MGAP has a unique and strong content compliance practice in advising production companies and distributors on legal issues connected with the use of content in Russia.
FIFA 2018: advertising campaigns
The final part of the FIFA 2018 World Cup took place on Russian territory, causing a huge spike in interest from clients regarding legal matters linked with advertising around major football events. On that occasion, MGAP offered consulence to their clients on matters connected with advertising at FIFA 2018 in relation to the Russian laws, including, among others: copyright infringement, ambush marketing issues, antitrust legislation, alcohol advertising, outdoor advertising, etc.
MGAP represents clients whose products / services are related to virtual reality and provides them with legal help regarding the selection of the correct model for their business. Our clients can consult our team of experts on the following legal matters related to VR:
- Content ratings and age classification
- User/customer agreements
- License agreements
- Any applicable law
Product liability and consumer protection
MGAP offers consultations to companies whose business is linked to technology and IP, regarding product liability and consumer protection law on Russian territory. Among their clients, MGAP represents producers of drones and helicopters, consumer electrical goods, fashion goods, electronic toys, etc.
MGAP offers consultations to their clients on the tradability of cryptocurrency in Russia and on investment deals using cryptocurrency, including the structuring of the Initial Coin Offering.
Complex legal support for film and TV projects
MGAP provides legal support at all stages of film development, production, promotion, and distribution, both inside and outside Russia, including:
- Preparing crew contracts
- Providing advice on licensing, merchandising and embedded marketing, including rights clearance
- Solving issues tied to insurance, tax and immigration, especially in reference to enroling non-Russian contractors and talents
- Offering consultation on movie adaptations, and remakes of foreign projects
Due diligence of IP assets
Due diligence allows clients to assess basic risks coming with the acquisition of rights over catalogues or other IP assets; to evaluate risks tied to an existing corporate structure and its management system; and finally, to analyse asset encumbrances. Due diligence is necessary when planning corporate or investment deals, especially if the acquiring party / investor is a non-Russian holding.
Financing, investments, and co-production.
MGAP provides legal support to a large number of co-production and investment deals. Over the years, a powerful set of legal tools was developed to grant proper delivery of a project in respect of all contract obligations and agreements, and in full protection of the client’s rights, in the event of the default of one of the parties.
Corporate and tax consulting
In most cases, the realization of a project is hardly possible without the presence of a well-thought-out corporate structure, allowing to implement both the production and the financial aspects of the project.
MGAP develops corporate and tax solutions both in Russia and abroad, according to the location of prospective business and assets, and the jurisdiction of partners and investors. Our worldwide network of foreign legal partners allows us to provide support on cross-jurisdictional law for projects connected with different jurisdictions.
Due to a constantly changing tax legislation, tax consequences are to be taken into account when structuring transactions that help to predict, properly and in advance, the parties’ financial interests.
MGAP has 20 years of experience in providing high-quality legal support for production and agent transactions in advertising. The company also provides advice on issues related to the wide range of restrictions present in the Russian advertising legislation.
Our team of experts has a deep knowledge of the Russian advertising market, so that they can offer advice on many different transactions, product placement, cross-promotions and other types of indirect advertising, in accordance with Russian law requirements and the Federal Antimonopoly Service practice. This service is of higher relevance especially for paid TV channels in the light of recent changes in advertising legislation, that demand a well-considered and thought-out legal approach to the production and screening of content.
- Smart Course, career guidance for teenagers
MGAP advises the client on various IP, commercial, corporate and regulatory matters.
- Navigator Records
Navigator Records is a major Russian music label. MGAP has provided legal support to the client and its activities in Russia. We have consulted our client on disputes in IP, corporate and commercial matters.
MGAP has advised Bazelevs on various film production and distribution, corporate, tax, commercial and labour issues as well as dispute resolution. Bazelevs is an international film company and the leader of Russia's production industry. Bazelevs works in films and advertisement production, post-production and distribution.
- BAZINA.SASS+ creative agency
MGAP has provided legal support to a leading advertising agency BAZINA.SASS+and its activities in Russia. MGAP has advised the client on various commercial, labour and IP matters.
- Legal support to top Russian animation studio expanding operations in US
MGAP provides legal support to top Russian animation studio expanding operations in US. MGAP developed a corporate structure for its client and covered the Russian tax implications of the proposed business activity in the US. MGAP worked in collaboration with the client’s US legal advisors on development and production issues related to broadcast in US.
- Dirty and Leprosarium, cult Russian online communities
MGAP provides a legal advise to a pool of investors on IP matters for cult Russian online communities Dirty and Leprosarium.
- A complicated investment transaction permitting qualified investors to invest in a 3D animation project
From 2009 to 2011 MGAP participated in a complicated investment transaction permitting qualified investors to invest in a 3D animation project. Participants in the transaction were MGAP’s client, a well-known film production holding, and a major Russian investment company. MGAP was responsible for general coordination of the project, involving companies from three different jurisdictions as well as consulting on corporate law and intellectual property matters.
- MGAP consults on large TV content supply deal
MGAP consulted on behalf of a TV content supplier in a major transaction with Rostelekom Company, one of Russia’s leading IPTV providers. Our IP team was responsible for copyright, IT and liability aspects of the deal
- Russian 3D Mokap animation studio
MGAP advised on the financial and corporate structure of its client’s joint project with Channel One. Our IP team also carried out complex due diligence on the underlying material for the project.
- White Mirror, film company
MGAP has advised White Mirror on various film production and distribution, as well as corporate issues.
- National Instruments
MGAP advises the client on various commercial, tax and corporate matters of its activity in Russia. National Instruments is a major producer of automated test equipment and virtual instrumentation software.
- MGAP assists in incorporating and running The Alexander Piatigorsky Trust
MGAP has recently incorporated The Alexander Piatigorsky Trust registered as a charity.The Trust is created in honour and memory of the recently deceased Alexander Piatigorsky, one of Russia’s most important philosophers and the author of “Remember the Strange Person“ (1999) and “An Ancient Man in the City“ (2001) amongst many other outstanding works.Over the last year, MGAP’s Managing Partner, Sergei Gratchev was involved as both secretary and student in Piatigorsky’s last philosophical classes held in London. Sergei kept invaluable records of these classes which now form part of the philosopher’s legacy. One of the Trust’s aims is to make information about the philosopher and materials from the final classes available to everyone.If you have any questions or would like to learn more about The Alexander Piatigorsky Trust please contact Sergei Gratchev.
- The division of an internet gaming business between its owners
MGAP developed a strategy and prepared a folder of documents on the division of an internet gaming business between its owners, cancelling SHA on the conditions agreed by the parties on the transfer of assets to each of the owners; keeping to the goals as set out of minimising tax and time spent and concluding any lawsuits.
- Popular Russian Internet service – Coub.com
MGAP has advised Coub Limited and its Russian subsidiary on IP, advertising, tax, labour, commercial and corporate matters.
- MGAP advised a client interested in financing films and developing film culture
MGAP provided legal support for rights acquisition to literary works, and negotiated with well-known screenwriters on behalf of its client.
- Celebro Media, a global broadcast TV company who supply production, studio space and networks around the world
MGAP provides coordination from the point of view of Russian law of the process of joining Celebro Media as a new Russian investor.
- MediaZona, popular media portal in Russia
MGAP is advising MediaZona on various Russian legal matters, including IP and corporate.
- DEPARTÁMENT, creative agency
MGAP has been advising DEPARTÁMENT on contractual, IP and privacy legal issues for celebrity management services provided by the client to a manufacturer of mobile devices.
- City food and Local food brands
MGAP advised the client on corporate and IP legal issues in the course of raising investments into one of the popular city food market brands in Moscow.
- Product labelling and instructions for technology project
MGAP consult one of the largest international producers of robot technology on the question of Russian law as it applies to product labelling and the content of instructions accompanying the sale and the use of this technology in Russia.
- The 1st Russian crowdinvesting platforme
Preparing a system of documents for StartTrack.ru that make the crowdinvesting mechanism possible, including a legal matrix for venture capital projects allowing the users of the crowdinvesting platform to complete all necessary procedures for an agreement between the parties in order to formulate the necessary terms and conditions for receipt or payment of private investment funds.
- SPLEAN, Russian popular music band
MGAP has provided legal support to Russian popular music band SPLEAN and its activities in Russia. We have consulted our client on a day to day basis on all commercial and IP matters, etc.
- SDELANO – the first scalable technologic service of home renovation
MGAP provided initial consultation on a client about the choice of optimal corporate structure as well as legal advice on acquiring domain names of interest to the client.
- LLC BU-Media, one of the former owners of Rambler Games
MGAP has been providing legal support of separation of assets between the owners of Rambler Games.
- Magellan Systems Japan Inc
MGAP is advising IT company on various Russian legal matters, such as IT, corporate, tax and labor. Magellan Systems Japan Inc - one of the world’s leading companies providing high sensitivity and high precision GNSS technology.
- MGAP in the interests of Russian popular music band SPLEAN won a case in connection with the cancellation of trade mark protection
- Illegal use of the name of a music group in an advertisement – the first litigation in Russian judicial practice
MGAP represented the interests of musical group “Zveri” in a dispute against the organizer of a concert, which took place in St-Petersburg as part of an advertising campaign for a new residential complex. The concert advertising used the name of the group illegally as the group did not agree to take part in the concert. The name of the group is registered trademark. MGAP succeeded in winning full compensation.
- The first criminal case to be brought in Russia against an owner of an internet resource for illegal film distribution
MGAP successfully represented the copyright holder of the film “Ironiya sudby. Prodolzhenie”. Timiryazevshky district court delivered its judgement in the first criminal case to be brought in Russia against an owner of an internet resource for illegal film distribution. The interests of the copyright holder of the film “Ironiya sudby. Prodolzhenie” were represented by MGAP’s Senior Advocate Yuriy Korchuganov.
- A mediation process in a dispute between a major Russian TV production company and a screenwriter
MGAP successfully conducted a mediation process in a dispute between a screenwriter (MGAP’s client) and a major Russian producer of TV content.
- Trial success in copyright case
MGAP’s client, a film production company, was recently involved in a conflict with a film director. The director was dismissed for illegally posting sketches, on-set photos and the shooting script on his blog, thereby violating the client’s copyright and disclosing confidential information relating to the film’s production. The court ordered the director to remove the items from his blog and charged him over $7,000 for violation of copyright.
- First copyright case in Russia won against mobile phone operator
Mr. Anton Vartanov, leader of the music group “Magnitnaya Anomaliya“, a client of MGAP, has become the first copyright owner in Russia to win a court case against a mobile phone operator. The operator, “Megafon“, had been selling the group’s songs to its customers as ring back tones without Mr. Vartanov’s permission. MGAP’s lawyers demonstrated to the satisfaction of the court that Megafon had failed to carry out chain-of-title checks to ascertain copyright ownership. The court judged that Megafon had infringed the rights of the copyright owner, Mr. Vartanov, and ordered that the company pay him compensation.
- Timur Bekmambetov’s sequel to the original Russian national new year film Irony of Fate whose box office takings exceeded $50 million
MGAP lawyers provide full legal services on the film. MGAP was required to provide a multi-faceted approach to provision of legal services from the start. One of the first steps was the creation of a corporate structure for the production company before going on to provide full legal support throughout production. In order to clear rights for the use of sequences from the original “Irony of Fate“, lawyers at MGAP produced agreements with the film’s many rights holders. In addition, MGAP was responsible for all contracts drawn up with cast and crew. Following the film’s release at the cinema and on DVD, MGAP continue to act as legal consultants regarding the collection and distribution of profits from the project. MGAP has successfully defended the film’s producers in a court case regarding infringement of author’s rights, as well as providing consulting services on ways of protecting the film’s intellectual property.
- MGAP represented a creative agency regarding an interior design project for the offices of a mobile network provider
- MGAP advises a CIS division of FOX 20th Century on various compliance legal issues regarding distribution of content in Russia
- Ostrov Studio, a major Russian documentary film company
MGAP has advised Ostrov on its co-production with an international film studio, including drafting of co-production agreement.
- Option agreements with a screenwriter and a film director
MGAP advised its client on option agreements with a screenwriter and a film director.
- Music for animated TV series
MGAP represented its client, a composer, in a case related to the production of a new animated serial. The lawyers’ task was to make the agreement due for signature reflect the agreement and circumstances of the work planned by the composer with the animation studio, giving composer and studio protection against any possible abuse by the other party.
- The possibility of overseas use of Russian tax advantages for domestic film production
MGAP advised a foreign film company on the possibility of overseas use of Russian tax advantages for domestic film production.
- Insuring risk for a film project
A filmcompany (special programme award winner at Berlinale 2014) approached MGAP Attorneys at Law - as part of preparations for filming its new project - to seek help in securing insurance for the film. MGAP Attorneys at Law prepared the necessary documentation and advised the client on minimising risk. A major international insurance broker (a permanent partner of MGAP Attorneys at Law) prepared a package of risks and placed this with a reputable insurer.
- An ambitious independent short film – «My Dear Fish»
MGAP provides full legal support to the production of an ambitious independent short film – «My Dear Fish». The short film «My Dear Fish» was the creation of over 100 animation specialists from all over Europe and is the most successful short film project using a Russian crowdfunding platform. «In spite of the great number of marriages, divorces, single mothers and fathers, there are still couples that live together and support each other in the most difficult situations. We are all born and die alone and are responsible for our own life, but couples who bring daily a sense of joy into a family are the ones to emulate. Our film is about these people and our hope and belief that there will be more families of this kind. Besides, in our approach to film production, we show that anyone who believes in their work and fearlessly follows their goals, will realise their dreams.» Taya Zybova, director, short film «My Dear Fish».
- “Lend of OZ”, Vassily Sigarev’s new film
MGAP begins full legal support to production of Vassily Sigarev's new film. White Mirror Film Company is a client of MGAP's and has started production on a new film by Vasily Sigarev. Vasily Sigarev is a Russian director, screenwriter, dramatist, winner of film awards from Britain (Evening Standard Award), film festivals in Zurich, Germany, Portugal, France, Wiesbaden and the international press federation FIRPRESCI. Vasily Sigarev's plays have been presented at theatres in London and Hamburg.
- The animated film «Alice Knows!»
MGAP provides legal support to new animation: «Alice Knows!». MGAP provided legal support to the new animated film from Bazelevs studio «Alice Knows» from early stages of development.
- A large international animated project
MGAP has begun work on providing legal support to a large international project for production of an animated film and series.
- An international electro-visual project
MGAP provided preliminary legal advice to a singer and writer of music and lyrics on protection of intellectual property rights and legal aspects of musical composition.
- A licensing agreement between a major UK TV channel and a famous Russian documentary director
MGAP provided full legal support to a licensing agreement between its client Dmitry Vasyukov, a famous Russian documentary director, and a major UK TV channel. The broadcaster bought the licence from Dmitry Vasyukov for broadcast of the European version of “Happy People” (edited by Werner Herzog) in Russia and CIS.
- The comedy “Game of Truth”, film adaptation of a popular French theatre play
MGAP helped major Russian film company Bazelevs buy the rights to the comedy “Game of Truth”. MGAP advised Bazelevs on investing in the production of the film, financial liability, and division of rights and income from distribution between Bazelevs and the owner of intellectual property rights. The film which received high ratings when screened in summer 2013 is adapted from a theatre play popular in France and Russia.
- The film “Gorko!”, the top Russian box office hit of autumn 2013
MGAP advised its client, major Russian film company Bazelevs, in negotiating a co-production agreement for the film “Gorko!”, and prepared deal memos with coauthors. “Gorko!” was the top box office hit of autumn 2013 in Russia.
- Music licensing agreements with iTunes and Google Play
MGAP advised it’s client, a major Russian recording studio, in licensing agreements with iTunes and Google Play.
- MGAP consults on promotional campaign for “Gentlemen of Luck – 2”
MGAP provided full legal support on all issues relating to the marketing of “Gentlemen of luck - 2”, a remake of the well-known Russian comedy “Gentlemen of Luck” directed by George Danelia. The film is produced by MGAP’s client, and leading Russian production company, Bazelevs.
- Developer of mobile applications, App Store
MGAP gives initial consultation to developer of mobile applications, App Store. MGAP advised on questions relating to intellectual property protection and legal aspects of software creation.
- Viacom International Media Networks
MGAP consults its client on compliance issues regarding applicablelegal restrictions inbroadcasting content on Russian TV, parental ratings, advertising, product placement. MGAP provides up-to-date high level advice based on our unique experience in advising international networks in the light of increased legislative attention on mass media. Our clients include: Paramount Pictures, Paramount Comedy, MTV Russia, Nickelodeon, Paramount Channel and others.
- Legal advice to top Russian entertainer and TV producer on Russian comedy feature co-production with US producer
MGAP provides legal advice to top Russian entertainer and TV producer on Russian comedy feature co-production with US producer. Using our substantial experience in cross-border co-production, MGAP represented its client in initial negotiations and drafted term sheets and deal memos on the project in order to fix preliminary arrangements between the parties.
- The release of CD in memory of the poet and social commentator Vasili Stus
MGAP provides full pro-bono support to the release of CD in memory of the poet and social commentator Vasili Stus. MGAP provided and had signed all agreements for production and future distribution of the CD, including agreements with Vasili Stus's descendants, the poems' Russian translators, creators of the image on the CD cover in Stus's memory, cover text authors, actors reading the poems and sound engineers. MGAP provided legal support to Olga Nikolaevna Boitsovoi - a teacher at the M.C. Shelkin Theatre High School of the Maly Theatre State Academy of Russia – for the creation of a CD in memory of the poet and social commentator Vasilii Stus. Included on the CD were poems by Vasili Stus read in Russian by students and graduates of the M.C. Shelkin Theatre High School of the Maly Theatre State Academy of Russia.
- Movie blockbuster “Yolki 2"
Released in December 2011, “Yolki 2“, is the blockbuster sequel to 2010’s box office hit “Yolki“. MGAP provided full legal support to the film during its production, marketing and distribution.
- Bekmambetov’s new comedy “Vykrutasy“ – the first Russian film starring Hollywood superstar Milla Yovovich
MGAP provided legal advice on the film directed by Leo Gabriadze and produced by Timur Bekmambetov.
- Top Russian cinema box office – “Yolki"
Starring Russia’s most popular actors and celebrities, “Yolki“ topped the Russian and CIS New Year box-office. MGAP provides legal support to its production, promo and distribution.
- Werner Herzog’s remake of “Happy People“
MGAP represented Dmitry Vasyukov, Russian documentary director of “Happy People“ in this cross-border deal. The film is a remake of Werner Herzog’s documentary of the same name about a small village in Siberia. Remade with Herzog as producer for Europe and USA.
- The film “Black Lightning“ – MGAP advises
MGAP advised on Timur Bekmambetov’s latest film project “Black Lightning“. “Black Lightning“ was one of the leaders of а New Year box-office in Russia.
- Animation project “9“, created jointly by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov
MGAP advised on the animation project “9“ created jointly by Timur Bekmambetov and Tim Burton. The film’s budget was $30 million.
- “Wanted“, produced by Universal Studios, film starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman
MGAP advised leading Russian film director Timur Bekmambetov on the film project “Wanted“, his Hollywood directorial debut.
- Advising on protection of software programmes
- The Russian film «First Love»
MGAP provides full legal services to production and distribution of the film.
- “The Best Movie 2“, produced by Sony Monumental Pictures
MGAP advised Sony Monumental Pictures on one of its most commercially successful film projects in Russia “The Best Movie 2“.
- The film «Trackman», produced by Sony Monumental Pictures
MGAP provides legal support to the distribution of the Russian thriller of the film.
- The film «Waiting for a Miracle», produced by Sony Monumental Pictures
MGAP provides legal advice in analysing and preparing documents related to the distribution of the film.
- Multiplayer online games
MGAP advises the creators of multiplayer online games on various IP matters.
- Right to be forgotten in Russia
MGAP provides a legal advise to the client on legal matters relating to right to be forgotten in Russia. One of the main tasks of our lawyers was to consult with our client on how to set up a legal mechanism for correcting false information published about person on the Internet.
- Badoo, a major online dating network
MGAP advises Badoo on various IT, corporate, labour and other Russian legal issues.
- Legal support in contracting Hollywood star to Russian film project
MGAP represents Russian film production company in contracting Hollywood star to Russian film project. MGAP advised its client on copyright, tax and immigration issues arising from the contract.
- An European film co-production
MGAP provides full legal support to international film co-production. Followed by the Cannes International Film Festival since its development phase, the film is supported by Europe’s Eurimages fund and major European producers. Distribution rights to be handled by a well known international agent.
- Russian-American film project “The Darkest Hour“
MGAP provided legal support for the filming and marketing in Russia of 20th Century Fox’s. The Darkest Hour, produced by MGAP’s client, Timur Bekmambetov.
- The film “Apollo 18"
MGAP provided full legal support on all issues relating to the marketing of “Apollo 18“ in Russia. The American film was produced by MGAP’s client, Timur Bekmambetov, for Dimension Films.
- The unique methodic of correction pedagogics
Author the unique methodic of correction pedagogics asked MGAP about pro bono legal advice including answers to the questions about intellectual property protection and legal aspects of her methodic creation for publish about correction pedagogics. This methodic is complex linguistic and audio materials for special needs children. By dint of use this material could make the grade in children’s speech defect. MGAP has prepared agreement which provides her intellectual property protection for publish her methodic (including audio materials).
- Aldeburgh Documentary Festival
Aldeburgh Documentary Festival has been being in England more then 10 years. The main Festival's targets are promotional documentary movie, young filmmakers, promotional alternative young international documentary movie in England. More then 3 years MGAP has been providing pro bono legal support for Aldeburgh Documentary Festival: support of Russian filmmakers' workshops on Festival, providing legal advice of migration legislation (questions of arrival and departure in UK of other countries’ citizens and tangible mediums with projects of Festival's participants. MGAP has provided legal support of Sergei Mirishnichenko’s (Ostrov studio) and Sergei Dvortcevoi’s (filmcompany KinoDvor) workshops within the framework of Aldeburgh Documentary Festival. It was good opportunity for English people to see Russian documentary films and for Russian documentary films was being participant of English festival.