We are Gutsch & Schlegel, allow us to introduce ourselves: Dr. Hans-Martin Gutsch and Thomas Schlegel, as well as our dedicated team of attorneys and staff. Our professional roots are in the music industry, having started out as in-house lawyers for the former edel records GmbH. So it’s no surprise that legal issues in the music industry have been the focus of our work since we founded our legal practice back in 2003. Many of our established musician clients have been represented by us since way back before they signed their very first contracts. From experience, we are well aware of the budget limitations facing newcomers – come and talk to us about it.
We advise and represent creative individuals and companies from a wide range of sectors in the creative industry – both national and international – in all matters of copyright, trademark and license law. Among our clients are composers, authors, managers, producers, film directors and agencies as well as record companies and book publishers, film producers, distributors and advertising agencies. Even branded and industrial companies turn to us when faced with copyright challenges, e.g. acquiring creative companies or shareholdings, purchasing licenses, licensing music for advertising spots, signing actors or hiring designers. We can also assist you by providing our networks, which are useful in themselves additionally for non-legal purposes, e.g sourcing music, finding designers or establishing contact with artists or companies.
In addition to negotiating contracts as well as the legal drafting and supervision of creative projects, another focus of our work lies in both the out of court and in-court enforcement of your rights. After all, representation in court is a science of its own. It requires in-depth knowledge of procedural law as well as experience in court appearances and trial tactics. Therefore, we have specialists who deal with this specific area alone. After all, even the most elegant legal case is worth nothing if it cannot be enforced.
Lawyers have a tendency to tell you that what you are planning to do will not work, that you won’t have a chance in court or that the situation could be viewed like this or like this. That is little use to you. Our goal is to find solutions and, even in the most difficult cases, devise attack or defense strategies, to provide you with clear answers and help you come to decisions and, above all, to ensure you are not left out in the cold. That we promise you.
“Music is spiritual. The music business is not.“ (Van Morrison)
Music is not just an art, above all it is a business, one in which laws and contracts play just as important a role as they do in other economic sectors. Who has which rights, who earns what, how long parties are committed and who must provide what exactly, all of this should be carefully thought through, expressed in words and set out contractually. We have a long-standing experience of the sector and know all its protagonists. Our experience and expertise go beyond the legal issues. We can advise and support you comprehensively, regardless of whether the market in itself is concerned, or whether strategies, perspectives, the assessment of parties involved or creative processes are concerned.
We lay the possibilities and limitations on the table for you. With us at your side, you can avoid missing risks or pitfalls as well as any misjudged consequences. Our advice can help you to avoid potential problems in future. Whether a composer, musician, band, manager or producer, record label, music distributor, music publisher, event manager or merchandiser: we protect your interests in all areas of the music business. We advise you, negotiate contracts for you and assert your rights. Whether you’re a national or international artist, we can guide you. At the start of your career? We can help you grow. Already established? We can help you stay on top.
“The entertainment industry is as it always has been. It’s a rough bunch of people and a rough industry.” (John Perry Barlow)
The entertainment industry is both glamorous and trend-setting, the people are exciting and easy-going. But we are under no illusions: It’s business, nothing comes for free and those who do not take precautions will be quickly left behind. This has been the basis of our many years of work in the entertainment industry, which is by no means restricted to music. Books, film, TV, fashion, photography and anything internet-related – we are familiar with and operate in the relevant networks and have at our disposal the necessary contacts: a crucial benefit to you as our client. Whether you yourself are a creative individual, or whether you market the creative services of others, we are on hand to advise and assist you, support you in the set-up of your projects, find commercially viable and legally sound solutions and represent your interests in all negotiations as well as before court.
We advise authors, agents, publishers and distributors in contract drafting and negotiations as well as the in- and out-of-court enforcement of their interests and claims.
But our exploits in the book sector are not restricted to the legal concerns: our colleague, attorney Tilman Winterling, is one of the most well-known literature bloggers in Germany thanks to his blog 54books.
We represent actors, agents, (screen)writers, directors, production firms and distribution companies, both in terms of their contracts, and with regard to entire productions.
We represent designers, fashion companies and fashion retailers.
We advise and represent photographers as well as all those who use photography commercially.
We represent the operators of online stores and websites as well as web designers. We advise influencers and firms on the legitimate implementation of advertising campaigns and collaborations.
„Our technology is re-innovation on the of continuous developments from overseas that we have adapted.“ (Liu Zhijun, Chinese Rail Minister)
The imitation of goods and the unauthorized use of trademarks (product and brand piracy) is a business worth billions, with distribution channels becoming ever more diverse, particularly via the internet. Product and brand piracy leads to losses of sales and damage to image, i.e. due to the poor quality of the pirated goods. This affects rights holders as well as retailers and consumers. Whether screws, vehicle spare parts, writing utensils, fashion and merchandise items, CDs or DVDs, almost every sector is affected.
We assist our clients in taking legal action against product and brand piracy, protect their rights both in and out of court and fight to have any costs incurred by them recovered. Where repeat violations are anticipated, together we can develop tailored strategies which fit in with you and your rights, in order to enable efficient cooperation and the best possible protection for the future. This includes, but is not restricted to, searches and monitoring; we can also enlist the help of attorneys outwith Germany where necessary. For us, keeping an eye on your costs and keeping these as low as possible goes without saying. One fact of benefit to you, specifically in the case of rights violations in Germany, is that the costs of legal actions are generally borne by the infringer – i.e. your opponent – meaning that, in many cases, a lawsuit will not incur any extra costs for you.
“You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.“ (Warren E. Buffett, major investor and entrepreneur)
We also advise our clients, usually from the entertainment industry, in their general everyday commercial affairs. The topics involved are multi-layered and relate to diverse fields of law, from corporate and labor law, trademark and design law right through to competition law.
We guide and assist our clients in all corporate legal issues. Here, our advisory role is not just restricted to the set-up of companies and selecting the right legal form, it can also involve future issues, e.g. capital increases, shareholder rights or the formal and substantive requirements for shareholder meetings and resolutions.
One core area of our work in corporate law is the acquisition and sale of companies in the entertainment industry, from due diligence – i.e. assessing and analyzing a company with regard to its commercial, legal, fiscal and financial circumstances – right up until the conclusion of the company acquisition contract. Our long-standing experience and specialist knowledge of the entertainment industry can be particularly beneficial where copyright and trademark rights constitute a company’s key assets. We know what risks we need to look out for in the due diligence check and how to assess the value of rights. And, when it comes to contract drafting, we know which special clauses need to be included in the contract to safeguard you against the special risks associated with any such company acquisition.
We advise both companies as well as employees, managers, company executive and CEOs in all issues surrounding labor law.
We advise and represent our clients in the selection, registration, protection and use of their trademarks, company symbols, work titles and designs.
The law against unfair competition contains the rules of play for fair conduct in competition which every company must obey.
Invalid GTCs, the absence of a cancellation policy in the case of online trade, an incorrect legal notice on a website, product placement or advertising with false test results, certificates etc. may for example constitute a violation against this law. We help our client to abide by these rules, to take legal action against violations by their competitors or to defend themselves if they themselves stand accused of a violation..
„A court is a body whose purpose is to find out which party has the smartest attorney.“ (unknown source)
There’s an old German saying that goes “Gut Recht bedarf guter Hilfe.“ (roughly translated: “your rights require the right lawyers”). That rings true and we have made it our business to do all we can, not only to safeguard your rights, but also to protect them. This applies to product and brand piracy as well as to all our other working areas, i.e. anywhere copyright and trademark law is concerned. While they may be skilled in the negotiation of contracts, not every attorney can handle in-court litigation. This requires specialist knowledge in litigation law and experience of tactics and in-court appearances. That is why we have a team of litigation attorneys that deal solely with in-court disputes and possess long-standing experience in handling these. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, we are well-versed in the case law of the courts which can sometimes vary considerably from one state to another, and we know which tactics should be employed when. This means we can ensure optimum tailoring of our counsel and litigation to your interests and the specific case in hand. Right at the beginning of a case, we discuss both your expectations and objectives with you so that we can keep these in mind as the dispute progresses. We always speak your language and will not confuse you with legal jargon. We always aim to give specific answers to your questions. For us, providing you with a realistic estimation of the cost risk is a natural part of our work. That is why we always discuss whether litigation makes economic sense for you. No action should be brought as an end in itself. Unfortunately, even we cannot always guarantee the desired outcome. But we can maximize your chances of success through expert advice and litigation as well as an in-depth knowledge of case law..
His work primarily includes the out-of-court and in-court enforcement of claims on behalf of national and international photographers, musicians and merchandising companies. His opponents usually include re-commerce retailers, well-known wholesale and retail companies as well as providers of streaming services both nationally and internationally.
He began to specialize in industrial property protection (IP/IT) while training and now has at his disposal long-standing experience in all “green area” sectors, specifically in trademark law, competition law as well as copyright and media law.
While a research assistant at Greifswald University, he contributed to work on the textbook ‘Unfair Competition’ by Prof. Dr. Axel Beater.
Jan Ehlers is a member of the German Association for Industrial Property and Copyright (GRUR) and the Hamburg Copyright and Media Lawyers’ Working Group.
From 1999: studied law at EMAU Greifswald, major: competition law, anti-trust law and intellectual property rights
2006: first state legal examination (distinction)
From 2006: traineeship, Hanseatic Higher Regional Court (OLG) of Hamburg
2008 second state legal examination
From 2009: research assistant of Prof. Dr. Axel Beater, Chair of Civil Law, Commercial Law and Media Law
End of 2016: successful completion of specialist lawyer training course in copyright and media law
March 2019: certified specialist lawyer for copyright- and media-law (Fachanwalt für Urheber- und Medienrecht)
Dr. Stefan Ellenberg
Dr. Ellenberg started to specialize in the media industry during his trainee ship. He has completed internships and held stages in the legal departments of a number of different media companies and held the position of research assistant at a legal firm specializing in copyright law. Dr. Ellenberg began his career in 2008 as the Business & Legal Affairs Manager within the listed Edel AG Group.
Dr. Ellenberg represents national and international clients in copyright-, trademark- and personality rights-related affairs both in and out of court.
Dr. Ellenberg primarily advises his clients in connection with the protection and commercial exploitation of creative content and trademarks. This could involve the drafting/examining of a copyright assignment contract, author’s agreement or production services agreements or, equally, overall legal support in trademark and license theme development, including rights acquisition and subsequent utilization domestically and internationally. Thanks to his profound industry knowledge in the fields of music (labels), books, film and merchandising licenses, Dr. Ellenberg has become an expert at finding legally-sound and financially-optimized solutions for his clients.
In 2012 Dr. Ellenberg received his doctorate in law (Dr. jur.) from the University of Hamburg. He is a member of the German Association for Industrial Property and Copyright and the Hamburg Copyright and Media Lawyers’ Working Group.
December 2019: certified specialist lawyer for intellectual property rigths (Fachanwalt für gewerblichen Rechtsschutz)
Dr. Hans Martin Gutsch
His core focus is on providing clients from all sectors of the creative and entertainment industry with comprehensive consultation and guidance. He specializes in copyright, publishing and license law and represents a diverse range of individuals and companies active in this field, as well as parties from outwith the sector that want to acquire and use rights
He also has at his disposal long-standing experience in corporate law and assists his clients in all affairs related to this area of law, from setting up a company right through to its liquidation. His skills are especially sought after in corporate transactions where rights constitute a substantial proportion of the assets of the company to be sold.
His clients include numerous artists such as Saxon, Claptone, Revolverheld, Stanfour, Itchy and Julia Engelmann, authors like Markus Heitz, listed media companies like Edel AG (music, book) und die Splendid Medien AG (movies), as well as its subsidiaries, both national and international music labels like lay It Again Samoder Starwatch Entertainment and start-ups such as Foodboom.
1983-1989: studied law at the University of Göttingen and the University of North Carolina
1993: doctorate in law (Dr. jur.) at the University of Passau
1995: second state legal examination
From 1995: Head of the Legal Department of records GmbH
From 1998: Member of the board of Edel AG
“Die Rechtsstellung der Postbank im nationalen und internationalen Bankenwettbewerb” (“The legal status of the postal bank service in national and international banking competition”), Studien zum Bank- und Börsenrecht, Nomos Verlag Baden-Baden 1993
“Tonpiraten, kopieren von Musik und Urheberrecht” (“Sound pirating, copying music and copyright”), in: Musik und Unterricht 68 (2002), S. 11 ff.
“Musik im Film” (“Music in Film”), in: Haupt, Stefan (Hrsg.), Urheberrecht für Filmschaffende. München 2008
“Multiple Rights Deals in Germany”, (gemeinsam mit Andreas Lichtenhahn) in: Bentley, Julian (Hrsg.), Multiple Rights Deals in the Music Industry, London 2009
“Lösung gesucht! – Zur gegenwärtigen Debatte um Antworten auf die urheberrechtlichen Herausforderungen durch das Internet” (“Solution required! – For the present debate around responses to copyright-related challenges online”), in: EWerK e.V. (Hrsg.), Festgabe für Hans-Peter Schwintowski, Baden-Baden, 2012, S. 75 ff
Hamburger Abendblatt 20./21. June 2015 download: “Liebling der Kreativen”
Kristina Massel has worked as an attorney at the legal practice Gutsch & Schlegel since 2012.
Her specialist field is copyright law. Her legal work primarily involves the comprehensive out-of-court and in-court representation of our national and international client base from the music and media industry in the event of infringements of their rights.
From 2000: studied law at the University of Rostock. Major: legal advice – attorney legal training
From 2009: traineeship at the Higher Regional Court (OLG) of Rostock
2011: second state legal examination
Thomas Schlegel is a partner at the legal practice Gutsch & Schlegel, whose Hamburg office he has headed together with Dr. Hans-Martin Gutsch since 2003.
He represents artists and artist groups both internationally and nationally. His clients include music giants of every genre, including Pink Floyd and David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, Genesis and Phil Collins, Iron Maiden, Matthias Reim, Mötley Crüe, In Flames, Albert Hammond, as well as the jazz-guitarist Al Di Meola and the soprano Olga Peretyatko.
Thomas Schlegel also assumes an advisory role for companies active nationally and internationally in the entertainment industry. These range, for instance, from the Hamburg label “ferryhouse” belonging to the portfolio of the media entrepreneur Frank Otto, the label “Starwatch” of ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, the „Süddeutsche Zeitung“, right through to globally active merchandising companies like Global Merchandising Services Ltd. (Motörhead, Iron Maiden) oder Bravado („Rolling Stones“, „Guns’n’Roses, „Ramones“).
Thomas Schlegel has advised artists participating in several series of casting shows “Das Supertalent” and “X-Faktor” and negotiated their contracts with the production firms and record companies involved.
From 1988: studied law at the University of Hamburg
From 1994: traineeship at the Higher Regional Court (OLG) of Hamburg
From 1997: In-house Lawyer / Head of the Legal Department of edel records GmbH and Executive Board Member
Christoph Schütz has been an executive attorney within the legal firm Gutsch & Schlegel since April 2008.
His work is primarily focused in the area of national litigation in copyright and trademark law. Here he regularly represents the interests of both national and international artists, merchandisers, record companies, music publishers and other clients from the creative industries.
He has contributed significantly in particular to the current case-law of the “big five” in the field of copyright law (i.e the regional courts of Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt and Munich) through the judicial proceedings led by him, both in the field of rights violations in decentralized networks (P2P filesharing) as well as non-licensed audio and audiovisual carriers (bootlegs). Special mention should also be made to the litigations he has led on behalf of various clients before the Regional Court Hamburg and the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg against filehosting company ‘Rapidshare’. Also of considerable importance in practical terms is the „Al Di Meola“ lawsuit led by him in courts of the first and second instances and in the course of an appeal in front of the Supreme Federal Court (BGH), whereby the Supreme Federal Court strengthened the rights of artists against media distributors considerably.
1989-1995: studied law at the University of Hamburg
1997: second state legal examination, admitted to the German bar
1997-2001: Attorney at Barklage Brickwedde Dahlmeier Roter
2002-2008: Attorney at Roggelin Witt Wülfing Dieckert
German, English, French
Gutsch & Schlegel have successfully stopped the illegal use of a music title by the AfD local politician Yvonne Venticinque-Effenberger of the AfD District Association Waldeck-Frankenberg. The direct candidate of the District Association had posted a promotional video on her Facebook page as part of her election campaign for the right-wing extremist AfD for the Hessian state elections 2023 with the title “Für die Liebe (Akustic Version)” by the singer-songwriter duo “Berge“. However, this was done without obtaining the necessary consent from the exclusive rights holder, our client FerryHouse. In doing so, she not only violated Facebook’s “Music Guidelines”, but also the copyright law. The opponent has signed a cease-and-desist declaration and paid the legal costs.
The law firm Gutsch & Schlegel will donate the RVG fee paid by Ms Venticinque-Effenberger to „CORRECTIV – Recherchen für die Gesellschaft“.
Swedenpower in Hamburg – the In Flames were in town. They thrilled their fans – and their longtime lawyer Thomas Schlegel.
Our client George Dubose, famous photographer and great guy, is going to do a signing and photo exhibit with the author, Ben Merlis, who wrote “Goin’ Off – The Story of the Juice Crew and Cold Chillin’ Records”. If you want a signed copy of Ben’s book and George’s great “The Big Book of Hip-Hop Photography” go to Underpressure (Hamburg) on 15 December 2022. Buyers of either book could take an A2 photoprint of one of the Cold Chillin’ artists who appeared in Ben’s book for free.
Pink Floyd are releasing a new single in support of the people of Ukraine today. “Hey Hey Rise Up“ is the first new original music that our cliens have recorded together as a band since 1994’s “The Division Bell“. All proceeds will go towards Ukrainian humanitarian relief. Great stuff !
Another big success for us against Meta/Facebook in the matter of unofficial Facebook profiles. Due to the very clear indications during the hearing of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court, Meta/Facebook has withdrawn its appeal against the judgement of the Hamburg Regional Court.
We therefore do not have to tolerate the Gutsch & Schlegel profile pages that Facebook had created without our consent and are entitled to the injunction. It is interesting to note that even the term “unofficial” is probably not sufficient to exclude misleading information about the creator of the profile pages.
For background information, see the 18/02/2020 news.
Thanks to Dr. Stefan Ellenberg and Christoph Schütz for their great work.
Our Ukraine Charity Project together with the artist Uta Peters, “Art for Peace”, is finished. We would like to thank Prof. Dr. Volker Limmroth from Cologne for the highest bid of EUR 1.250,-. We will increase the donation amount by the same sum.
The artist Uta Peters has created a work on the Ukraine war that expresses the horror and its madness. We would like to auction the painting (“Light and Shadow” 2022, 70 x 50 cm, acrylic on canvas) together with her and donate the entire proceeds to Aktion Deutschland Hilft. Interested parties can email their bids in Euros to firstname.lastname@example.org. All bids received by 11 March 2022 (12pm) will be considered. The starting bid is EUR 750,-.
The purchaser will be named after receipt of payment. Gutsch & Schlegel guarantees that 100 % of the amount received will go to the donation organisation. We hope for lively participation.
Uta Peters: “On the right hand side of the work the Ukraine is shown as an independent, democratic, flourishing country with traditions and folklore. On the left, however, we see nothing but fear, death, blood, mourning and destruction. Stop Putin, stop the war! Peace for Ukraine, peace for the world!”
Final and highest bid: EUR 1.250,- by Prof. Dr. Volker Limmroth, Cologne. Many thanks !
For its client Yoko Ono Lennon, widow of John Lennon, the law firm Gutsch & Schlegel has put an end to the illegal use of one of the most famous pictures of John Lennon by the “author” and YouTube activist Heiko Schrang. The latter had used the photo in dozens of YouTube videos etc. and in this context spread his abstruse conspiracy theories, but in particular also pursued his own economic interests by offering his shirts, caps and books. Schrang has now signed a cease-and-desist declaration subject to a contractual penalty and has to bear the costs. The law firm Gutsch & Schlegel will donate the RVG fee paid by Schrang to „CORRECTIV – Recherchen für die Gesellschaft“.
After quite long time of Corona related silence finally some news: our client Silent Beat Records today releases “Blue Poles (Number 11)“, the first single from Robert Eksons upcoming debut EP „Little Vanities & Great Masterpieces“.
In its ruling of 13 February 2020, case no. 312 O 372/18, the Regional Court of Hamburg decided that our unofficial Facebook law firm profile and the unofficial Facebook page of Thomas Schlegel must be deleted. According to Facebook, unofficial profiles/pages are profiles/pages that Facebook generates automatically if there are no official profiles/pages but Facebook recognizes corresponding user interest in them based on search queries. After we had unsuccessfully requested Facebook to delete the profiles/pages several times out of court, the Regional Court of Hamburg initially issued a corresponding temporary injunction at our request. The Regional Court of Hamburg has now confirmed this order in the main proceedings. The court found that the partnership’s right to carry on the business which it established (company and property rights) was infringed as well as an encroachment on the general right of personality of Thomas Schlegel. The Regional Court of Hamburg also stated
“Since Facebook is not a search service or a business directory, but primarily a social network which is controversial in the public, among other things because of the handling of user data, a law firm, for whose activities confidentiality, seriousness and protection of client data are essential, has a considerable interest in not being associated with such a network against it’s will by existing or potential clients.”
Discussed the round of golf on Sunday. Alice Cooper and Thomas Schlegel in Hamburg, Barclay Card Arena.
Silver Lining Music signs British heavy metal legend Diamond Head. Celebrating are (from left to right): Rasmus Andersen, Brian Tatler (both Diamond Head), Adam Parsons (manager Diamond Head), Rod Kukla (Silver Lining Music), Karl Wilcox, Andrew “Abbz” Abberley, Dean Ashton (both Diamon Head), Dr. Hans-Martin Gutsch (Gutsch & Schlegel, lawyer Silver Lining Music), Serena Furlan (Silver Lining Music)
Out now: the first bottle of beat dealer beer, the result of a cooperation of our client Beat Dealer Records with Hamburg Landgang brewery.
(picture: Robert Ekson)
Christmas party Gutsch & Schlegel at Schwarzlichtviertel, Hamburg. Merry Christmas and a successful and peaceful 2019 !
We met the first time in 2005, discussed their first contract offer and how to make it as a band in the music business. Now, after 13 singles, four studio albums (all top ten, by the way), one MTV Unplugged, innumerable concerts and a club tour, that was sold out in 30 (!) minutes Revolverheld release their fifth studio album „Zimmer mit Blick“ (Room With A View). What can we say…? Just keep it up!
(Photo: Benedikt Schnermann)
Once a year the Wacken Foundation holds its annual meeting to review the past year. The Wacken Foundation is a non-profit foundation dedicated to the support of hard rock and Heavy Metal music. Together with Thorsten Brötzmann, Doro, Enno Heymann und Jörg Düsedau Hans Martin Gutsch (3rd from left) is one of the trustees of the foundation.
(photo: Maren Maxeiner)
Yesterday Michael Schulte competed in the national German final of the Eurovision Song Contest with his song “You Let Me Walk Alone” and won the competition. Congratulations to him and his label VERY US. And good luck for Lisbon!
Christmas party Gutsch & Schlegel at Grill-Kontor Hamburg. Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Thomas Schlegel with Andreas Kiel (Kiel Publishing) at the reception of the IMUC (Interessenverband Musikmanager & Consultants) during the Reeperbahn Festival on 20 September 2017.
(Foto: Jörg Böhm)
Thomas Schlegel with Albert Hammond after his show at the Laeiszhalle, Hamburg on 02/09/2017.
Foodboom Advisory Board Meeting 20/06/2017, v.l.n.r.: Prof. Holger Jung (JungvMatt), Sebastian Heinz (Foodboom), Rolf Coppenrath (Coppenrath Invest), Dr. Hans-Martin Gutsch, Hannes Arendholz (Foodboom), Dr. Peter Dill (Deutsche See), Anne Coppenrath (Life! Verlag)
Thomas Schlegel with Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) at the pre-opening of „The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains“ at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
11/05/2017 (Foto: Privat)
Gutsch & Schlegel Rechtsanwälte in Partnerschaft
Telephone: +49 (0) 40 – 82 22 69 9 0
Fax: +49 (0) 40 – 82 22 69 9 11