Who we are

In 2015, two of South Africa’s senior law firms merged to form Fairbridges Wertheim Becker. Fairbridges, established in Cape Town in 1812, and Wertheim Becker, founded in Johannesburg in 1904, brought together their matching values and vision to forge a strategic consolidation of their significant resources, expertise and experience.

Fairbridges Wertheim Becker is the oldest law firm in Africa and in the Southern Hemisphere. With offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, the firm is ideally positioned to provide effective, professional legal services to both domestic and international clients.

With a reputation built on the ability to provide economic, practical, innovative and constructive legal support that is both principled and pragmatic, we are committed to maintaining the highest standards of professional representation. Our emphasis is on partnering with clients to fulfil their legal needs timeously and strategically.

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News

The company behind the AshleyMadison.com website – and latest victim of an online hack – faces a $760 million (approximately R10.640bil) class action brought by users of the website ‘outed’ in the hack.

AshleyMadison.com essentially facilitates extra marital connections between users. As a result of the hack 37 million users have had their personal data, including names and email addresses, made available online.

See the full article here.

While the mechanisms for class action lawsuits do exist in South African law, they are by no means as frequent as in the US, where they have become somewhat common place with specialist ‘class action’ firms that fund the litigation, often with lucrative contingency fee agreements well in place.

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Entertainment Law

Fairbridges Wertheim Becker’s Entertainment Law Department offers advice on all legal aspects affecting the film, television and music industries.

Representing a broad spectrum of clients from film and television producers to writers, artists, directors, studios, representative bodies, musicians, publishers and suppliers, we can assist with all entertainment related legal needs.

Fairbridges Wertheim Becker’s Entertainment Law Department offers advice on all legal aspects affecting the film, television and music industries.

Representing a broad spectrum of clients from film and television producers to writers, artists, directors, studios, representative bodies, musicians, publishers and suppliers, we can assist with all entertainment related legal needs. Our clients include some of the top film and television producers and artists in the country, as well as aspirant film makers and business start-ups.

Our quality assurance processes have resulted in the Entertainment Law Department receiving various awards, including:
• 2013 winner of the Client Choice: Entertainment Law Firm of the Year in South Africa Award, from Global Law Experts.
• Entertainment Attorneys, Andrew Hewitt, has been selected by Who’s Who Legal for inclusion in The International Who’s Who of Sport &
Entertainment Lawyers 2013 as a leading expert in Entertainment Law.
• Client Choice winner of the 2014 Corporate International Magazine Global Award: Entertainment Law Firm of the Year in South Africa.

Film and Television
We are steadily growing our reputation as a preferred advisor for foreign film and television producers who wish to do business in South Africa. With a favourable currency exchange rate, stunning locations, state-of-the-art studios, experienced crew and reliable government incentives, South Africa provides an attractive service and co-production environment.

We have been instructed on large budget, international projects including engagements as Legal Counsel to US television series producers, foreign corporate banking institutions, private financiers and treaty co-producers. Our advice has ranged from business set-up and production in South Africa to servicing and facilitation agreements, co-production agreements, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) incentives and the financing and securitisation of international film and television projects.

Music
Our music practice continues to grow with the department currently representing a number of successful artists and music producers in the industry. We have assisted with the negotiation of recording, publishing and management deals and in royalty, ancillary income and 360 deal rights disputes and calculations.

Project Development – Film and Television
The distance between an idea and its realisation is often a lengthy process and we know this to be particularly true of film and television projects.

We therefore offer a fixed fee retainer package to filmmakers to facilitate access to professional legal advice from development through to distribution. Our retainers are structured around the unique complexities of each project and take into account cash flow requirements, financing and project stages.
Aside from an initial deposit (usually around 15% of our overall fee) our fee is fixed, locked to budget and payable at certain key milestones, subject to financing and project completion. This provides the market with access to professional legal services and representation with limited fee exposure should the project not proceed. In most instances, our fees qualify as QSAPE for purposes of the DTI Rebate, which makes this option particularly attractive.

Under this arrangement we assist with overall deal structuring, planning, the development of budgets and creative decisions around cast, script and director. We represent our clients at domestic and foreign film markets and are able to leverage our connections in the industry when required.

Contact
Andrew Hewitt was admitted as an attorney in 1999 and is dual qualified as a Solicitor in England and Wales (2004) and as an Attorney
with the Cape Law Society in South Africa. He heads up the Entertainment Department and advises on both entertainment law and
employment law. Clients who are considering embarking on an entertainment project are welcome to contact Andrew to discuss how we can assist you.

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