Ameet B. Naik, founder and managing partner of Naik Naik & Company, is widely regarded as one of India's foremost entertainment attorneys. Ameet established Naik Naik & Company in 2004 when he observed a dearth of industry-focused lawyers in the then-emerging entertainment sector in India. In a short span of time he led the firm to be ranked as a leading law firm in media and telecommunications (TMT) by Chambers Legal Diary 2007.
Ameet is renowned for his significant contribution to the evolution of Indian media laws, particularly copyright, and has litigated path-breaking and landmark cases raising issues of freedom of speech, freedom expression, censorship, infringement of copyright and certification before the higher judiciary and tribunals across the country, including the Supreme Court of India. Lauded as an authority on the subject. He has been actively involved in media law reform and development and was invited by the Indian Government as an expert on copyright to make a representation before the Select Committee of Parliament prior to passage of the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2012.
Having focused on the entertainment space for over two decades, Ameet represents major media organizations, top-tier talent, and acts as production counsel for several studios, documentaries, original productions for online/digital media, television series and specials. He is credited for conceiving and templatizing documents which have come to be used industry-wide as precedents, and which were largely instrumental in streamlining the Indian media and entertainment industry at a time when the sector was entirely disorganized. His innovative deal-making has continually challenged and altered common assumptions about distribution deals, talent deals, cross-platform deals, emerging digital media contracts, celebrity/product endorsements, and more.
Ameet is consistently ranked as a top lawyer by his clients and peers in prestigious national and international directories such as Chambers and Partners Asia-Pacific, Legal 500. Chambers and Partners Asia-Pacific has especially noted Ameet for his expertise in "advising on contentious and transactional matters concerned with defamation, film financing and intellectual property rights" and has described him as a "market-leading media and entertainment practitioner with remarkable experience of both inbound and outbound transactions in the sector". He received a Young Professional Award, 2018 from the Economic Times in recognition of his leadership and expertise and was also named "Lawyer of The Year for Outstanding Achievement" by Legal Era Awards, 2016 - 2017.
Heavily involved in the legal community as a teacher and mentor, Ameet is a member of the visiting faculty at the nation's premier law school, the National Law School of India University, Bangalore as well as his alma mater, ILS Law College, Pune. In addition, he is a frequent lecturer at the National Film Development Corporation of India's annual Film Bazaar, the International Bar Association (IBA), the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) and the Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) amongst other prominent industry events. His interest legal education and firm commitment to knowledge sharing has led him to author three books i.e. (1) The Role and Rule of Law: A legal handbook on the Indian Media & Entertainment Industry' and its subsequent editions; (2) '3600
of Law on Cinematograph Works; and (3) Behind the Scenes - Film and Television Trade Associations in India.
Although renowned primarily for his unparalleled experience in entertainment laws, Ameet's skillset expands far beyond the TMT space, and he is also noted as a leading professional in corporate transaction support and dispute resolution, servicing clients in diverse sectors such as real estate, retail, oil and gas, hospitality and e-commerce.Representative Experience:
- Notable Litigations:
- Successfully represented Viacom18 before the Supreme Court of India in a petition filed against the decision of the Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh state governments to ban release of the film Padmaavat after widespread protests and violent threats from the fringe group, Karni Sena. In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court upheld the sanctity and inviolability of the right to freedom of speech and expression and cleared the release of the film while ordering.
- Successfully represented Phantom Films in an appeal filed before the Bombay High Court challenging a decision by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to ban the release of the film Udta Punjab. The Bombay High Court upheld the right to freedom of speech and expression and allowed Udta Punjab to be released theatrically with only a single cut, as compared to the 89 cuts which were initially suggested by the CBFC.
- Representing Phantom Films in an ongoing public interest litigation claiming that certain scenes and the subtitling in the Netflix series Sacred Games are derogatory to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and should be removed.
- Represented Phantom Films Pvt. Ltd in its production services agreement with Netflix Studios, LLC for the acclaimed web-series Sacred Games.
- End-to-end legal support to Amazon Studios LLC and Amazon Seller Services Pvt. Ltd in relation to several projects for Amazon Original content on Amazon Prime Video.
- Advising the BBC on various aspects of Indian law and compliance issues for content of the following shows: Top Gear India Special, Baby Borrowers, The Week the Women Went.
- Provided end-to-end transactional and advisory support to Endemol Shine India in relation to the acquisition of format rights of the international series: Who Wants to be a Millionaire: Kaun Banega Crorepati; Big Brother: Big Boss; Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi; Dancing with the Stars: Jhalak Dhikhla Jaa.
- Represented Anil Kapoor Film Company Pvt. Ltd., in relation to its acquisition of format rights of the international series "24" from Twentieth Century Fox and, in granting broadcasting rights of the local programme to Viacom 18 Media Pvt. Ltd.
- Represented Rohit Shetty Picturez LLP in its acquisition of adaptation rights of the popular Golmaal film franchise i.e. Golmaal: Fun Unlimited (2006), Golmaal Returns (2008) and Golmaal 3 (2010) from Ritz Enterprises.
- End-to-end advisory, documentation and transactional support to Saavn LLC in relation to their music streaming and distribution service, and drafted and negotiated varied agreements for Artist Originals, bundling agreements with telecom operators in India, content license and acquisition deals, etc. Additionally advised Saavn on legal compliance and due diligence measures to be adopted by Saavn as an intermediary under the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
- Represented Kwan Entertainment & Marketing Solutions, India in their 50:50 joint venture with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a leading American entertainment and sports firm.
- Advised Prime Focus in its acquisition of Frantic Films, a company engaged in the CFX/SFX (technology sector) business in Canada and Post Logic Studious located in Los Angeles. The total acquisition cost of Frantic Films including the subsidiaries all over the globe and Post Logic Studious was in excess of USD 40 million. Additionally, assisted Prime Focus in relation to private equity investment from AID Partners Capital Limited;
- Assisted Transgaming Inc, a Canada based company in settling their long standing dispute with Indiagames Limited (a Disney enterprise) and negotiated the settlement agreement for Transgaming Inc.